If you’re one of the many Americans practicing social distancing right now, you might have been given the liberty by your employer to work remotely from home. As amazing as teleworking can be, it definitely takes discipline to resist the urge to sleep (or drink) all day or even do a Netflix binge.
If this is your first time teleworking, just remember that you might like it more than you think, so now is your chance to show your employer that you can be trusted with this great privilege. Here are 5 tips to get you going in creating a productive workspace right in the comforts of your own home.
Pick a Smart Workplace
One of the first things to consider when you are setting up a remote workspace in your home is the location of your new “office”. If you already have a dedicated office in your home, hallelujah, and skip to our next tip.
If you don’t, your only options may be your kitchen table, family room sofa, or a bedroom. Choose the one with the least distractions and preferably one that has a door you can close in case you need total concentration or you need to make frequent calls.
If you don’t have a desk, a card table with a comfortable chair will do the trick. It’s probably not a good idea to setup near a television either. Not only might it give you anxiety watching all of the Coronavirus coverage, but the Price is Right is mighty tempting during the day. Save the TV time for the end of the work day.
Spruce Up Your Internet
There’s nothing worse than a shoddy Internet connection. If you notice your home WiFi is already struggling to keep up with the sudden increase of use, check with your Internet provider that your router is up to date.
If it’s not, upgrade it. You’re probably paying for it anyway, so start with the free option of refreshing your equipment. Many providers have offices that allow same day equipment swapping if you are willing to take a drive.
If your signal is still weak, consider investing in a WiFi extender or powerline adapter. (Note: your Internet provider may even give you one for free if you ask.) WiFi extenders and powerline adapters send data signals over your home’s existing electrical wiring for consistent Internet connectivity from secondary locations.
Use Your Resources Wisely
If your company allows you to telework, you’re probably using a laptop. While laptops are great for their portability, their screen size leaves something to be desired. If you have an old computer monitor laying around, hook up a second monitor.
Most monitors can easily be connected to your laptop with a USB, HDMI, or VGA cable. Once connected, you can take advantage of all of the screen real estate and use both screens for workspace, or simply move your laptop screen view to the larger monitor.
Here’s how you can setup multiple monitors on both Mac and PC workstations:
Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
If teleworking is new to you, you (or your boss) might be worried about just how productive you are going to be in your new mobile workspace. Whether working from home, or working in an office, both work areas come with their own set of distractions.
At the office, you are surrounded by your coworkers, and the inevitable water cooler smalltalk. At home, you may be surrounded by your family, and their expectations of you in your home environment could bring on some guilt.
...But Be Disciplined
Working from home is all about discipline, so create an at-home working schedule and stick to it. Each morning, set goals you need to accomplish and build in time throughout your day for breaks. At home, breaks should consist of little rewards that you might not otherwise have at the office to keep you motivated. Short walks, exercise, even a quick power nap, are all possible now that you are working from home. If you find yourself losing focus in your breaks, use timers and alerts to manage your time.
While you might like going the office everyday, teleworking can be a good thing. In fact, according to FlexJobs, 77% of people surveyed believe that teleworking greatly reduces stress and improves overall health because it allows for a better diet, more exercise, and a generally healthier lifestyle. Stick with these tips and you (and your boss) just might like all that you can accomplish from home with this new normal.