4 tips for working from home
Practical ways to do it well
We’ve been working from home, or working remotely, for a few years now. Are you moving into a work from home phase? Here are some things we’ve learnt.
We’ve had wins and losses as our people have worked away from our Abletech headquarters. Here are our top tips. (Scroll down to read more from our very remote workers.)
These changes, methods and ideas can improve the experience for you, your employer and your colleagues.
Work / Life Separation
It’s crucial to maintain a separation between work and life when you’re not going in to the office for a long period. Use these guidelines to get you on track to a healthy balance.
Working from home Karori style and Vancouver style
1. Harness your habits
We all have habits. Be aware of yours and take control. This is your chance to decide what your rhythm will be. Make your habits great.
Set work hours and break hours, and try to stick to them
If possible, assign one work space in your house, ideally one room — don’t make this your bedroom
Work at a desk or table — working on your bed is not a sustainable position physically or mentally
Maintain your daily routine; shower, dress, make-up — anything you would normally do on an office day, continue. This will help you feel like you’re still ‘going to work’, and coming home
Take breaks. You might find it easier to get into the flow while working from home, and you may neglect normal needs. Regularly get up, walk around, drink water, etc
Go for a walk outside at lunch
Don’t do chores and other normal home activities during work hours, or break hours. This is important for keeping a separation between work time and relax time. This will both impact your productivity and long term sustainability
Try new things. While habits are important, variety is too
2. Communicate well and often
Don’t hesitate to send people messages. People can respond in their own time: You’re not interrupting them
Conversely, don’t feel the need to respond immediately if you’re in the flow. It’s easy to be distracted by messages: balance your own work and replying to others
Post in a ‘Watercooler’ instant messaging channel everyday! The best way to avoid feeling isolated in comparison to being in the office is to continue the daily small talks. It might be weird and awkward to start with; battle on — it’ll be easier if everyone is doing it
Audio/Video calls are a great way to collaborate. Some people may want to be involved in these a majority of their day, and some may not. Individuals will be productive in different ways
Respect that everyone will be productive with varying levels of communication. Let others know if you are struggling with the level of communication
3. Equipment matters
Speakers + Microphone is the least ideal setup for voice chats. Audio feedback is the bane of remote collaborative work — try get hold of some headphones, airpods, anything where the audio and microphone are isolated
Try to emulate your office setup — it’ll be familiar, and you’ll be coming back to it at some point
4. Deal with issues
Issues will crop up and they’re better tackled sooner rather than later. Communication is key. Talk to your employers, colleagues, friends. Seek out advice from people with experience: it’s unlikely you’re the first person to experience any problem, and it’s unlikely you’ll be the first to solve it! The more we share, the better experience we’ll all have.
Those are our four top tips to get you humming. It’s taken us years to refine those! They work. May you enjoy your new location and the advantages that working from home will offer you.
Working from home looks different for each of us