This year has seen unprecedented changes in the workplace. Countless numbers of people have been fortunate enough to be able to work from home instead of a dreaded layoff. I’ve heard that for several of my friends, the work from home model is going to become permanent. Working from home seems like working on easy street doesn’t it? That’s not necessarily so. An entirely new discipline needs to be adopted to work from home efficiently.
If you company is looking to adopt the work from home model, here are some tips for making the transition as seamless as possible.
Every business has to concern themselves with the safety of their employees and equipment. You may need to tighten up security measures at your home if it has now become your office as well. If you have office equipment that belongs to your company now occupying your home, you may need to add some kind of home security. Be sure any sensitive customer or client information stays secure and locked away. Since you will ultimately be responsible for the integrity of account information, it’s vital that you keep things tight.
Having smoke detectors or fire suppression equipment is always a must, home office or not. But if taking over an unused part of your home for your office, you’ll need to be sure you have the proper equipment installed there to warn of fires. A smoke alarm that has a carbon dioxide detector is also a great idea. Safety should always come first.
Great Speed and Connectivity
The communication between you and your company will be electronic and so needs to be as state of the art as possible. I live in the tiniest of towns and my husband always joke that our Internet service is powered by a hamster running on a wheel. It seems like sometimes he flies off that wheel and our Internet slows to nothing. You cannot afford to have shaky connections.
Be sure you’re on the fastest Internet that can be provided for your address. Direct connect to the router with an Ethernet cord if possible. Wireless is convenient but the signal is never as strong as when directly connected. If a direct connection is not possible, you’ll need to invest in some kind of wifi booster. As always, read reviews before you buy a booster for your home. Some perform better than others and you need to know which is best.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
It’s important to have a separate space dedicated to work. Think of all of the files you have on the desk in your usual office space. Those are all going to migrate to your home now. You need the appropriate furniture and storage to accommodate all of those items. You really can’t stick a filing cabinet next to your bed; or at least you don’t want to.
You need to have a separate space because you don’t want to blur the lines between work and home. A desk in your dining room will only make you think of work when you should be using that time as time for your family around the dining table. Having to clean files and computer monitors off the table every time you want to share a family meal will get old really fast. Even work equipment in the living room will make it hard for you to relax when the work day is done. Having that monitor stare at you while you’re trying to watch a Hallmark movie will be distracting. Which lead me to my next suggestion.
Set Actual Work Hours
Believe it or not, working from home can mean working more hours than is healthy. You think working from home will be a breeze because you can step away and relax as often as you want. But if you don’t set regular working hours, you may find yourself continuing to work well past normal quitting time. Keep hours close to the normal hours you kept when you commuted. You’ll likely be able to get more done in that time because the lack of other employees will keep interruptions low. Be sure your spouse, partner, or kids understand that you are “at work” and they need to keep interruptions to a minimum. This will definitely help keep your productivity level high.
Take normal breaks. Stop for lunch. And when it’s quitting time, quit working! You still need to have work/life balance when working from home. You’ll fall into a normal routine before you know it and will likely really enjoy the experience.