15 Working From Home Tips From our Experts
This week we told our entire workforce, of over 800 people, to transition to a full work-from-home mode. With many businesses following suit amid an abundance of precaution around COVID-19, millions of people around the globe can expect to have their daily routines and work styles impacted.
We’re fortunate at Traction on Demand to have an army of remote workers, affectionately known as “Everywheres”, who have rallied behind us regular-office-folk to share their top tips for staying focused, productive and happy in a work-from-home environment.
Here’s our top 15 Working From Home Tips From our Everywheres and in-office Tractionites:
Clare Addison, Project Manager – Everywhere
Daily family stand-up
“My husband and I have both been working at home together for a long time and it’s definitely got pros and cons.
“I think the biggest thing for us is our ‘daily stand-up’ over morning coffee. We spend five minutes, compare calendars for critical ‘leave me alone’ times/meetings; decide who is making lunch, who’s picking up the kids etc.
“It also helps us transition into our workdays. At the end of the day, we are also extremely intentional about shutting down and plugging into family time.”
Jennifer Thompson, Business Solutions Consultant – Everywhere
Don’t tell the world you work from home
“Be selective on who you tell that you’re working from home, or how you say it. I’ve been working from home for many years and have had well-meaning guests drop-in, or drop off their kids, packages delivered, requests to volunteer with no notice, etc.”
Make ‘work time’ public knowledge
“Also, have an On The Air sign. Saves a lot of grief with family members thinking you’re available when you’re not! Be realistic about what you can do when you are also working. Some things are convenient – like throwing in a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Home renos, not so much!”
Greg Owen (Eddie), Principal Strategist – Everywhere
Engage, then over engage
“Use Slack and video calls to have frequent check-ins with your team. Don’t be afraid to over engage”.
Learn what increases your productivity
“I like to make a simple list and cross things off when complete. I also use music to get me in the zone. Make sure you adjust your day based on at home distractions – work later/earlier depending on what works best for you”.
Kiwi Gisi, Program Architect – Everywhere
No eating at your desk
“One thing I definitely struggle with but think is incredibly valuable as an Everywhere is making time to get away from the workspace. I often have a hard time disconnecting from work and rarely take breaks. Having some sort of rule like ‘no eating at my desk’ really helps me with this.“
Connect with people during everyday tasks
“I also schedule chats with people to catch up, do squats (or burpees), have coffee, etc. I don’t always have a ton of time, but it helps me stay connected to my Traction family.”
Justin Mitchell, Cloud Technologist – Everywhere
Leave the house, even if you don’t want to
“Be intentional about getting out of the house (recreationally). Especially important for introverts like me who are really comfortable being alone for long periods of time. The issues that come from being isolated too long (such as depression, anti-social behaviour and irritability) tend to be gradual and will sneak up on you. So make it a point to be around other people regularly, and in different environments too.”
Gerald Demers, Business Solutions Consultant – Everywhere
“Always be intentional about ergonomics at home or in the office.”
Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep key objects close to your body to minimize reaching. Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.
“Also, FYI, really old people who grew up going ‘to work’ have no concept of you ‘working’ from home, even if you tell them ‘I’m working’. My 93-year-old aunt will come into my office five minutes after our conversation (and in the middle of a video meeting) and ask me if I need a sandwich. Bless her!”
Jennifer Walker, Principal Strategist – Everywhere
“I operate best in a dedicated workspace. When I sit down at my desk I’m in work mode. It creates a nice mental distinction between work and person life. Also, I make it a point to get ready like I was leaving the house. Hair, real clothes (sorry pyjamas), make up, whatever.”
Try meal prepping
“I meal prep on the weekends which allows me to quickly pull together healthful meals at home without spending too much time in the middle of the workday.”
Trevor Rotzien, Program Manager – Burnaby
Make the most of your ‘bonus time’
“When working from home, I like to replace my former commute time with the equivalent exercise. Often when I work from home, I get heads-down in a task, and I can easily forget to move all day”.
Madi Wood, Business Development Manager – Burnaby
“The people I work with are what I love most about Traction on Demand and they are what I will miss most as I work from my cozy, albeit lonely, one-bedroom apartment.”
“So to my fellow social butterflies and to those who love the social aspects of an office environment: I challenge you to reach out to someone in your LinkedIn network – who you may not have connected with in a while – to spark a conversation. Set up 15 or 30 minutes to chat, reconnect, find mutual interests, understand what they’re working on, what their challenges may be, what inspires them.”
Read Madi’s full blog about transitioning to a work-from-home schedule here.
Wilson Lee, Program Manager – Everywhere
Show up to work like you would in an office
“Be intentional about work vs. personal. I personally still ‘dress up’ for work, even though I don’t go into an office. I find that simple act puts me in the right frame of mind to focus and have a separation from home life distractions”.
There have never been as many remote workers in the world as there is today, and that number will only continue to climb in the coming months. Adjusting to a new work environment is never easy, one of our top working from home tips is to figure out what works best for you.
Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from others who are in the same boat. Make sure you take time to connect with the wonderful community of remote workers, whether that’s through Slack (like our Everywheres) or online through social media, forums or blogs.