How to Work From Home – Six tips for remote working

Katie Te Nahu Owen By Katie Te Nahu Owen

Sort out the basics


LAPTOPS
If your workplace doesn’t have laptops for everyone in your team, yet you don’t need to be tied to a desktop computer, they need to buy laptops now.

PHONES
Whether it’s 100% used for work calls or not, a mobile phone will make communication smoother.

INTERNET CONNECTION
From video-based meetings to accessing internal systems, a reliable (and preferably speedy) internet connection is key.

Set up a work area at home

A home office (which could quite simply be a well-lit area with a desk, chair and laptop) will help you maintain a work/life balance as when you’re at your work area, you’re “at work”. Having an official work space will help you avoid quickly becoming uncomfortable working from the dining table, or annoyed from having to constantly move your work related stuff around. It will also be useful to let others in your house know if you don’t want to be interrupted while you’re at your work area, but be patient with them if they forget. I don’t like being interrupted while I’m working, so my wife must be incredibly sick of hearing me say “I’m at work!” when asking me a question or to help with something.

Be prepared for video calls

If you have headphones, keep them at your work area so you don’t annoy everyone else in your house when you’re on video calls. If you haven’t used them on video calls before, it’s a good idea to do a practice call with a team mate before your first proper call so you can get used to the video call app you’re using as well as ensuring that all of your equipment is working. This way you’ll avoid five minutes of “can you hear me” on the first call.

Set up a work routine

As tempting as it might be to work from your couch while wearing pyjamas, it’s important to set a routine. Have a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, perhaps go for a walk around the block before starting work (I have to admit I’ve never done that last one - having a one minute commute to your work area is pretty great).

It’s also important to set boundaries as it’s a lot easier to start working earlier or keep working later when you’re working from home. Try to stick to something that resembles your usual working hours.

Avoid distractions

Distractions are everywhere, so know that you’ll most likely be easily distracted at first. Personally, I shut my cat out when he becomes too annoying and over the years I’ve become incredibly good at ignoring that pile of dishes and other chores until after work. Be aware that everyone has different circumstances at home - some people may live on their own and have zero distractions which lead to them becoming a lot more productive without the day to day office interactions, while others will have kids, pets and others also working from home. On the plus side, this is a great opportunity to “meet” everyone’s cute kids and pets.

Stay connected

It’s important to stay as social and communicative as possible, both for your mental health and productivity. It’s better to over communicate than lock yourself away without anyone to talk to. Find ways to ensure that the day to day conversations that usually happen at work can still take place - this might be via email, text, phone, apps, or video calls. I recommend setting up channels for non work related discussions, we have areas for talking about books, movies, music, fitness, etc.

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