Why you may need to work from home.
Many companies around the globe have rolled out mandatory working from home policies. This is due to the spread of Covid-19. As the number of cases in New Zealand is low, we wanted to get you prepared. Whether you choose to work from home for peace of mind, your self isolating or you’ve been advised to by your employer, it is important to have the right equipment to make this transition easier.
Some employees will be working from home for the first time. This means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment, may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good work space to the way you talk to your team.
Companies are certainly catching onto the trend, and most have the flexibility to work from home, if not at all the time, at least when needed. It’s changing the way we work, especially in the tech sphere. “The future of work is being able to work in your pyjamas,” HubSpot’s CTO, Dharmesh Shah, said in his 2019 INBOUND keynote. Some of the perks of working from home include getting to dictate your schedule and free time, making better food choices, not needing to commute every day, and saving more time for friends and family.
85% of people have reported increased levels of productivity as a result of remote work.
Working from Home – Where to Work
There are many spots around your home that you could transform into a working haven for a day. As long as you’ve got everything that you need around you, then distractions like coffee or snacks will be at a minimum.
Things to Consider :
Natural light can help you stay focused and centred. Positioning yourself in front of a large window or two can contribute to that.
When it comes to staying focused, everyone is different. Many people are already aware if they work better in complete silence or with some hustle and bustle in the background. Sitting near a window not only gives you some vitamin D but the cars going past can be a good background noise filler. For those who like a quiet place, try allocating a specific room away from the road. Still unsure what suits you? Try testing out both options for a week and then reflect on which location you found yourself to be more productive in.
Comfy Chair vs Desk Chair
Choosing what chair to sit in can be the deciding factor on how much work you get done. Sitting upright at a desk can help you to feel professional and like you’re in an office space, however that may defeat the object of working from home for some. Sitting on the couch could mean you end up feeling sleepy and result in an unplanned siesta. We would recommend somewhere in between like a comfy, upright chair with a coffee table in front of it. That way you can be comfy and still have everything you need.
Steer Clear Of
It is not practical to work from your bed. It may look inviting but can lead to sluggishness and neck pain or posture issues. Top Tip from our Geeks – Having your laptop on material like surfaces such as a pillow or duvet can cause the fan to be blocked and therefore overheat your hard drive. This could even cause a fire! Another place to keep away from is the kitchen, apart from your scheduled lunch break of course. The reason is that food is a big distraction and can interrupt your focus, even if it’s only for short periods it will add up.
Keeping it Separate
When working from home you may be tempted to lounge around and be very relaxed about the situation. However, we recommend that you treat it like a normal working day. Wake yourself up early with a shower and breakfast, get your set up ready for the next few hours and sit down to crack on. If you sit in your bed all day when it comes to relaxing out of work hours it can be hard to keep your work/life balance and switch off. That is why it is also vital that you create a set – up that you wouldn’t normally relax in. Having a separate room can allow you to shut the door and unplug in the evening.
Working from Home – Stay Connected
Schedule One – On – One Meetings
When remote, you can’t get to know colleagues who sit next to you like you can in an office. We would encourage setting up a one-on-one video call or a virtual lunch to get to connect with your coworkers. If you need help with setting up Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, our experts are on hand to get you up to date – Book a geek here.
Schedule Team Meetings
When participating in a team meeting remotely you may be conversating with everyone who is sitting in a room together. Asking them to let you know who is speaking or to adjust the camera can remind people that you are engaged and actively listening. If you are holding the meeting it could be a good idea to go around and ask everyone to tell you one funny thing they learned this week, this sets a more comfortable tone for the rest of the meeting. Preparation can be key for meetings, especially when working remotely. Have an idea or presentation ready to go so that you can actively contribute to the meeting. You must have a strong WiFi connection when attending an online meeting – Get a WiFi check today – click here or Call 0800 424 335
Use Company Messenger Tools
Using messenger tools like Slack can help you stay connected with your teammates. Whether it’s formal or informal, it can be such an effortless way to keep in contact. You can post updates about your work which can give people more of an insight into what you do and allow them to understand and even give them more confidence in approaching you for things. You can even post local news or jokes to boost morale and start conversations. Our marketing team recently ran an in-house photo competition which allowed all of the regions across NZ to participate. Check out the results on our social media here.
Working from Home – Stay Focused
Let’s look at the ‘Pomodoro Technique’. The methodology is simple: When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks. This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines or constantly refilling inboxes. With time, it can even help improve your attention span and concentration.
- Choose a task to be accomplished.
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
- Every 3 Pomodoros take a longer break (15-30 min)
Working for short intervals can help you stay motivated and focused. This is because you’re working towards a break that you have set for yourself. We encourage you to fill your breaks with things that help your mind slow down like yoga, physical activity or meditation. We do not recommend scrolling aimlessly on your phone as having time away from the screen is better for your eyes and your mind.
Prioritising tasks is key for this to work. You should start with the tasks that require the most concentration first. If it is a task that will take the full 90 minutes like writing a blog post, then you can split it up into 3, 25-minute sections. For example, Round 1 – write the headline, introduction, and outline, Round 2 write content and summary, Round 3 write SEO and insert pictures.
Strong WiFi Connection
Laptop or Computer
Laptop Charger / Cables / USB Port
Additional Monitor – Increase productivity and speed.
Noise Cancelling Headphones – For calls or music.
Webcam – For meetings.
Printer/Scanner – Print off motivational quotes, calendars or scan and send vital info.
Notepad + Pen
Coffee / Tea
Microsoft Office 365 – Buy here.
If you need help setting up your technology or apps then call us and we can get you optimised and ready for working from home!