As the coronavirus continues its rampage across the world many employees are abiding by the CDC’s guidelines to maintain social distancing. This means that many companies deemed non-essential have sent their employees home to work remotely. Transitioning from an in-office environment to working from home is a difficult process and Covid-19 has made home officing even more challenging with school closures and the ongoing consequences of a national health crisis. Some employees are coping with the stress of the virus and its affects on loved ones all while trying to manage work projects and deadlines. A smooth transition to a work from home environment can help ease many frustrations. Here are a few tips for working at home that can help.
- Setup your workspace
- If you don’t already have a designated home office create a space that you go to daily for work. This can be a small desk in a private area of the house, a card table in the bedroom, or even the kitchen table. Make sure your space is remote enough that you can avoid interruptions during virtual meetings. Or if that isn’t possible, set up a secondary workspace for work calls and meetings.
- Bring in the technology! Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to do the routine tasks of your job. This may include a secondary monitor, remote keyboard and mouse for your laptop, and headphones for online calls and meetings. You will also have to familiarize yourself with new technology for connecting with your staff remotely. Create shared calendars with your team to manage time and know when team members are available or not. Many employers have sought out Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc. to create the virtual conference room.
- Set your schedule
- Several of MicroAccounting’s employees work from home daily. They’ve said the best thing you can do to improve your motivation while at home is to stick to a normal routine as if you were commuting into the office. Get up at a set time every day, spend the morning as you normally would with family, having breakfast, and preparing for the day ahead. Get dressed for the office, many of our team members said getting dressed and ready for work helped them to mentally separate home life from work life. “Leave” for work at the same time as you normally do, create a distinction between family/home time and work time.
- Once you are at the desk for your workday don’t get sucked in! It is easy to sit at the desk and stay there from 7am to 7pm without a break when working from home. In the physical office there are routine interruptions, conversations with coworkers, and your scheduled lunch breaks to break up the day. While you can’t be in the physical office schedule time to take breaks from work. Take time to check in on coworkers for that office chat. Get up and go outside a few times a day, take a nice walk around the neighborhood. It is important to give yourself a physical and mental break when working from home. And when lunch time rolls around, log off and step away from the desk to recharge and enjoy a meal without focusing on emails, projects, and prepping for the next call or meeting.
- Be flexible
- The above recommendations for creating a routine only apply to those who can step into a home office space for the entirety of their workday without interruptions. However, Covid-19 has added an extra trial for employees who work from home. If you have children home due to closed schools, or are sharing a workspace with a spouse, or are working around coworker’s availability to meet virtually it is okay to loosen up your expectations of the normal 9-5 workday. Several of our team members at MicroAccounting are scheduling their calls and meetings during the normal workday hours but catching up on projects and tasks in the evenings and on the weekends when necessary. If you have communicated your needs with your team and your employer, it is reasonable to stretch your workday to accommodate your home life during this unique time.
- Keep the lines of communication open
- As mentioned above it is critical to be open with your needs and expectations when working remotely. Be sure to check in with your supervisors weekly, if not more often, to maintain accountability on current projects and goals, scheduling conflicts, and struggles as you transition to the work from home environment. Virtual meetings will also serve as a crucial time to have face time with your team. Working from home can be lonely, schedule one on one time to connect for work but also for needed social time, think of it as gathering around the virtual water cooler.
- Take a deep breath
- This is a whole new world for everyone right now. We are all trying to navigate this uncertain time and we’re all learning together. Take a deep breath and try not to get frustrated with the change. Remember, this is isn’t permanent and soon we’ll all be able to gather around the water cooler again!
Working remotely from the home office is an adjustment for everyone. Our team at MicroAccounting has been fortunate to operate with a team spread out over several states telecommuting daily for many years now. We have experience with this digital transition and the solutions to help your team succeed remotely. If you have questions about setting your team up with the necessary technology for their home office give us a call at 855.876.3773 we will do our best to help you keep your business and team running smoothly.