Working from home, or telecommuting is nothing new. However, what makes matters different now is that pretty much everyone is working from home. Except for essential service providers like firefighters, most people are now working from home. Naturally, this has thrown up a fresh set of challenges, especially for those who have little or no telecommuting experience. The following are some of the fundamental matters to think about when telecommuting.
Being organized sounds simple and logical concept. But what does it mean in this day and age when so many people are doing it? What about the people who have children? Nowadays, children are staying at home, as well, and attending classes virtually. Writing down a schedule for each day has never been more relevant. Put together a to-do list reminding you of the days' goals. Don’t forget to include breaks and let others know about your schedule.
When working from home full time, your desk is no longer just a work desk; it is now your office space. Therefore, treat it accordingly. Ideally, you want the office area away from all the usual traffic and noises of the household. If you do not have the luxury of setting up a home office in a quiet place, then maybe consider areas you normally wouldn’t consider. Areas such as the garage or even a closet space can be used to work quietly. The work desk should be as clutter-free as possible. If there is anything on the desk that is not job-related, it's better to put it elsewhere. Ideally, the work desk should be work only desk, not a public library. Lastly, remove anything around the room that can be a distraction, such as a TV, that could keep you from being focused.
As you settle into your new office space at home, it will slowly become your new universe. When the workload increases, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when working from home since you do not have access to the infrastructure provided by a brick-and-mortar office. This when organizational tools, both physical and virtual, will come to the rescue. Ask yourself what type of software is needed to stay abreast of things. The “cloud” can only store digital information. What about all the material things necessary to run things smoothly? Pen and pencil holders, filing cabinets, paper shredders, printers, scanners, and copiers, are all available to make things a bit easier. If the office is too small for all the extra things you need, you may want to think about the room's walls as extra storage space.
Back when you worked in a regular office, you most likely had to wear business clothes or at least business casual clothes. Working from home does not always mean you can start working in your pajamas. When talking to fellow employees or clients virtually, you will still need to appear business-like. Therefore, before attending that video conference call, remember to comb your hair and put on something semi-formal. Also, make sure there are no unwanted books or photographs, or other objects within camera sight. These things may seem small, but it all adds up in the end and will help you look professional and focused.
Some people are morning people; others are night owls. The beauty of working from home is that you can choose your working hours to a certain extent. All humans have the time of day or night when they feel they are at their peak. Work accordingly.