March 27, 2020

5 Tips and Tricks for Working from Home

Recent events have made working from home a reality for a lot of people around the world. This is also the situation that our team here at OPG now finds itself in. While the thought of working from home is hardly new, the recent coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more remote employees for companies that may not traditionally employ it. 

There are many misconceptions regarding WFH culture so we wanted to take a few minutes to take a look at those and see if we could offer some advice based on our team’s own experiences.

Laptop and notbook on top of a wooden table outside on a sunny day.

Creating a Routine for Yourself

The first major difference new remote workers tend to notice is the additional time added to their day. Without your normal commute, it can be easy to fall into the trap of sleeping until the last minute. Immediately rolling out of bed and logging on to work, however, may not be the most productive means of approaching your new situation. 

While sleeping in a little later than normal is fine, it’s best to try and set aside some time to properly “wake up.” Have some breakfast, go for a quick jog, and maybe even take a shower to help you get into a working mindset.

Communication 

Aside from your commute, the biggest adjustment regarding working from home will likely be the isolation you experience from the rest of the members on your team. You’ll be lacking the option of simply walking over to your co-worker’s desk to talk about projects so you’ll need to do what you can to provide as much relevant information as possible in your chats. Whether you’re working on Discord, Slack, or any other messaging platform, don’t be afraid to check in and possibly even over-communicate with your co-workers.

For our team here at OPG, collaboration remains a key factor in everything we do. Something we found helpful was that doing simple things like communicating your priorities for the day or informing people of when you’re leaving and returning to your desk can help your team understand what you’re accomplishing and what your goals are.

Separating Work from Play

One of the easiest traps to fall into when it comes to working from home is being too flexible with your flex-time. While some may anticipate that working from home could lead to a sharp decrease in productivity due to the distractions of home, a lot of the time, employees experience the exact opposite. 

In a lot of instances, telecommuting for work results in employees working all the time instead of not enough. Telecommuting while also being stuck inside all day can blur the lines between time working and time off. Something you can do to help make things clearer for yourself is to set up a separate place for you to conduct your work. Furthermore, scheduling out clear working hours for yourself goes a long way in ensuring you find time for yourself in your day.

Working From Home Tools & Tech

Working from home means that the tools and technology you use take on a whole new level of importance. Be it finding ways to keep connected with your team or just a few things to help you to better concentrate on your tasks, a few simple items can truly go a long way.

Being physically separated from your co-workers means that simple tools like a microphone and webcam play critical roles in staying connected to your team. Holding regular meetings with your peers can help to keep feelings of isolation down and team morale up. 

Aside from the obvious tools you’ll need to communicate with your team, something as simple as a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or an electric kettle can help to keep you zoned in on work when you need to get the job done.

Taking Breaks

Just as it’s important during your regular in-office shifts, setting aside dedicated breaks while at home remains crucial. Regular breaks have proven to be critical to your mental well-being and productivity. One of the best means of doing this is to try and stick to a regular break schedule. Keeping a similar break schedule to the one you would have in the office can keep your mind focused and in a “work mode.”

Most importantly, while it can be tempting to simply open a new tab and browse through your favorite streams, making the effort to physically step away from your workstation does a lot. Get up and stretch your legs. Consider taking a (socially distant) walk outside or maybe even have a quick yoga session in your living room. Whatever you do, make sure to take a full hiatus from your work before diving back into things. 

The Perks of Working From Home

The current pandemic has everyone scrambling to get what they need to effectively work from home. While the adjustment to working from home can be difficult, especially in as sudden a manner as it happened here, there are plenty of reasons to embrace it. Hopefully, these tips and tricks help make your WFH experience as smooth a transition as it could possibly be.