As COVID-19 continues to impact the way we live and work around the world, large portions of the globe are now working and learning from home. As you have likely discovered by now, working remotely can have its own unique benefits and challenges. From cutting down the risk of sharing germs with strangers, to shortening your morning commute (like the short walk from your closet to whatever area serves as your office), and dealing with the effects of less contact with other people OR a lot more time with your families and roommates than you ever planned to spend.
If you’ve never worked from home or are experiencing some of the challenges that come with remote working, we’ve got good news! There are plenty of tools available to help (which we’ll cover a little more in a bit) and plenty of tips from people, like some of our team at interviewstream, who have been working remotely for a few years now (including me). Here are some tips our team has picked up along the way:
Many of the tips we’ll share in this post have to do with getting into a good, “working” headspace. The first (and arguably, the most crucial) step in successfully working from home is to create a consistent working environment.
Start by setting up a dedicated workspace. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to set up a home office, but having a consistent schedule of knowing when and where you work will help you get into a “working” mentality.
Secondly, treat working from home as if you were going to go into an office. Keep your morning routine as similar as possible, if you normally start your day with coffee and breakfast, do the same. One of the best things you can do is to put on normal clothes. You don’t have to go “full three-piece suit”, but sitting in your pajamas all day normally keeps you in sleep mode.
Your environment has a huge impact on your productivity. However, unlike an office space, when working remotely this impact is completely unique to your personality. Taking the time to plan out a good environment will help you stay positive and focused throughout your day.
If possible, start off every day by looking at a list of what was unfinished from the previous day along with any new tasks that have come in. Then put together a prioritized list of what you need to get done in the day.
This is helpful not only because you’re forced to figure out what is most important on your list of to-do’s, but having goals adds structure to your day. It’s also helpful because at home you may face unique distractions that you would not face during a day in an office. Having this momentum throughout the day will take your productivity to the next level.
Isolation can be an issue when working from home, and it can be easy to mismanage your tasks. Keeping in contact with others, especially a manager and/or coworkers can keep you from feeling isolated while working and can keep you accountable and focused on the correct tasks.
One of the best ways to keep in contact with others and make yourself more productive is to take advantage of technology. Messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams make it easy to keep in contact with other people on your team while making organization easier across your whole company.
Task management systems also come in handy when setting goals and staying on task. Tools like Asana, Trello, and Notion all have free options to get you started.
Finally, video conferencing tools can be very helpful in communicating with your coworkers by allowing you to speak in-person with other remote workers. Services like Zoom offer free accounts to hold video conferences, and interviewstream is currently offering free access to our interview on demand and connect tools until April 30th to assist with remote hiring.
Finally, the lines between work and personal life can blend when you’re working remotely. Unless you have a deadline to meet, set up a normal working schedule as you would when working from an office.
This is another area where having a dedicated workspace can help. Having a workspace gives you the structure to “go to work” and “leave work”, allowing you to keep a healthy work-life balance.
To sum things up, we know this can be a challenging and isolating experience, don’t forget to connect with friends and family (over video), and take the time to set yourself up for success.
Treat working from home as you would when working from an office, keep your routine in place to the best of your ability, and take advantage of the resources available to you while dealing with the challenges of social distancing.
Drew Whitehurst is the Content & Implementation Specialist at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.