How to embrace working from home

The self-isolation impact of coronavirus means that many of us are currently working (and studying) from home. While it’s business as usual for a long-term stay-at-homer like me, for others this has no doubt thrown up some unexpected challenges. While I agree it’s not always easy to stay disciplined and motivated when working within the confines of your family home, there are also many benefits if you can ‘master’ it.

“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents.” (Michael Dell, Dell)

Potential benefits of working from home

– Less commuting time means more hours in the day to complete your plans/tasks

– Better balance of work and family time (e.g. attending your child’s school events)

– Less financial overheads, such as transport, child care as well as lunch expenses

– No disruptions from colleagues or the boss – just need to limit checking of emails

– Opportunities to diversify your ‘work scenery’ (e.g. a local café or a nearby park)

– Flexibility in the exercise routine, which could include a walk to clear your thoughts

– A personalised environment – classical music is often part of my morning routine

“Remote work is the future of work.” (Alexis Ohanian, Reddit)

A recent US study found that employees that work remotely at least once per month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their jobs than their desk-bound colleagues. To help you embrace the benefits of working from home, it’s important to establish spaces and routines that are conducive to the stay-at-home scenario.

Tips for effectively working from home

– Designate regular office hours – consider what time of day you’re most productive

– Establish an office space (and maybe dress appropriately), to really ‘feel the part’

– Make it clear to both family and friends that working from home means just that

– Build online or virtual business communities that you can frequently engage with

– Use schedules and other tools to effectively plan out your day, week and beyond

– Develop a local support network, such as an IT specialist and/or an office cleaner

Obviously not all of us are equipped to work from home – some of us need regular workplace interaction to keep us stimulated. But if you like the idea of continuing as a full- or part-time remote employee when things return to normal (i.e. coronavirus has diminished), consider whether you have the following internal strengths and capabilities – recognised as necessary to be a proficient stay-at-home worker.

Core skills and abilities to work from home

– Critical thinking, such as development of plans/responses when things go wrong

– Highly organised, to effectively plan/monitor your workload (incl. communications)

– Self-discipline, particularly establishment of boundaries to ensure you stay focused

– Effective communications, to help minimise time spent on email and other channels

– Professional prioritisation – it’s generally best to keep your personal life ‘personal’

Jeanette Walton received a Writing Expertise Acknowledgement via resumé work published in 7th edition of Resumes for Dummies

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