5 Tips to Ease the Transition to Working from Home

Covid-19 has dramatically altered the way most Americans work seemingly overnight.  Here at AHA! Business Consulting we are already a remote team spanning different time zones. But we understand that during this stressful time, many were not given the choice or the time to properly transition to working from home. 

Whether you are under a direct order to shelter in place or practicing social distancing, these five tips will help bring a little bit of order to the chaos.

  • Create a Dedicated Work Space

Not everyone has the luxury of having an entire room set aside for a home office. This is especially true right now when you may find yourself trying to work around your significant other, children, or pets. However, it is vitally important that you set up a dedicated work area. 

According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work, the number one issue remote workers face is unplugging after work. Working from home can blur the lines between being home and being at the office. It’s tempting to set up camp on the couch with your laptop and Netflix. However, if you utilize a dedicated work area, you can leave work behind when you’re finished for the day. 

  • Create a Dedicated Collaboration Space

One of the reasons given for avoiding remote teams is the fear that it will be difficult to keep everyone on the same page as far as projects, policies, and delegation. We use and recommend Trello as a way to manage all of your projects and important information. 

Using Trello, or a project management tool of your choice, will allow you to assign tasks and due dates to team members. These programs typically integrate with Google Drive and Dropbox so you can easily share and attach files. Most project management tools also typically update in real-time so all team members can easily see updates and comments. This information is not buried in a folder in someone’s inbox.

  • Set up Video Conferencing

Chances are you’ve probably heard the word “zoom” recently more than you ever have before in your life. Zoom is an easy to use video conferencing platform. You can also use other platforms like Skype, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, or GoToMeeting.

The benefits of video conferencing are two-fold. First, it provides some much-needed interaction in the days of social distancing. Secondly, you can schedule meetings to check-in on projects or utilize screen-sharing to show a colleague how to accomplish a task or to share a Powerpoint Presentation. Another great way to leverage the power of video conferencing is to set up coworking times so you can get work done separately while still being able to get live feedback and have some accountability.

We have a weekly video conference but your business may need a daily or even a twice a day video conference.

Just like with an in-person meeting, video conferencing has its own etiquette. This list from Forbes gives four great tips on making the most of your video conferencing. Our two favorites are that you have an agenda and everyone uses video. 

  • Create a Schedule

Depending on your situation, you may be able to set your own hours or your employer may require you to be available and working regular business hours. Regardless of who sets the schedule, you’re going to need one if you want to have any hope of being consistently productive.

As important as it is to establish when it is you do work, it is just as important to establish when it is you don’t work. Don’t think you don’t deserve a break just because you’re comfortably working at home. Giving your brain a rest is vital to increased productivity and creativity. A New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break elaborates on this at greater length but skipping your lunch break isn’t doing anyone any favors.

If you’re not sure how to manage your time, check out our previous blog on time management. Familiarize yourself with the Pomodoro method or time blocking and find a system that works for you. 

  • Be Flexible

Figuring out your workspace, all the tech, and your schedule may make the transition to working from home seem overwhelming. It’s important to evaluate what is working and what is not and be willing to implement changes quickly.

It’s also important to be patient with yourself and with employees. These are uncertain times. Cali Williams Yost, founder of the Flex Strategy Group which provides consulting on flexible workplaces, in an interview with SHRM reminds us that, “It’s not realistic to think we can maintain pre-Coronavirus levels of productivity right now. Instead, focus on keeping everyone safe and healthy while maintaining as much productivity as possible.”

We couldn’t agree more! We hope that you, your employees, and coworkers are staying safe, sane, and healthy during this unprecedented time.