By Tom Wozniak, Head of Marketing – published on Business2Community on 3/20/20.
The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt throughout the U.S. right now and one of those is the fact that many people who previously commuted to an office are at least temporarily working from home, some for the first time. While this surge in work from home employees may only last for a relatively short time, I also wouldn’t be surprised if many new companies embrace the policy going forward. As someone who has worked from home exclusively for the last few years, I thought I would provide a few useful tips for people who are entering this new territory in their workplace culture and environment.
First off, let me say that I love working from home. It suits my work style, personality, and role with my company. It may be that your situation is very different in any of those areas or others. However, I think these strategies should be beneficial for just about anyone adapting to a remote work environment.
You Must Be Disciplined
This is the single most important part of being both happy and successful in a work from home situation. For many managers and companies, a hesitation they may have had around letting their team members work from home is the idea that they won’t actually work as much as at the office. This is certainly a fair point. Working from home naturally introduces a whole host of new distractions and situations that may pull employees away from their jobs.
One big key for new home-based workers is the ability to shift from home to work mode, while not actually leaving the house. The daily commute and office setting help people make this transition. But, if you work from home, your commute may simply involve getting out of bed and walking to your home office or kitchen table. The fact that you’re working in a place where you previously were able to decompress and get into personal mode may feel a bit strange initially. This is where discipline first comes in. You have to make the switch regardless and be able to stay focused during the day, when distractions like your TV, dog, kids, significant other, etc. are right there. This takes discipline and focus.
But, the flip side of this is that people who work from home can also fall into a situation where they are now at the ‘office’ all the time. It may suddenly become easier to work earlier and later every day. Your evening family time might now be pushed aside in order to finish up a project, answer emails, or otherwise stay caught up with work. You also may find that without the distraction of interacting with other team members or needing to leave the ‘office’ to get lunch, you spend much more time in front of your computer.
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