Establish a routine. Stay connected. Buy good coffee.
Presently, Baker Associates, like many around the world, has transitioned to work from home (WFH) as we all help #StopTheSpread during COVID-19. We’re sharing the tips given to us by a WFH pro – explained in a personable, no-nonsense manner with a benefit-led sense of humor.
At any rate, are we wearing sweatpants while writing this? Only our pets and families know…
Tips for work from home:
1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself on video for calls.
I know it feels awkward at first. Do it anyway. It will force you to “get ready” for work which is an integral part of mentally transitioning from home to work time. Also, eye contact is essential. Let your colleagues see you. They need it. Set an example. I know this one feels weird. Do it anyway.
2. Make a dedicated space away from the bustle of the house that is your workspace.
In order to be productive, you’ll need a space that is your work spot to signal your brain that you’re not at home. And, as a bonus, you’re back at home when you leave that space. You don’t want to feel like you’re always at work. Having a workspace helps you manage that feeling. Don’t relax in your workspace. You don’t watch a movie after work in the office. Please don’t do it in your workspace, either. Keep the walls between work and home solid. Your brain will thank you.
3. Get a good Bluetooth headphones and a video camera other than your integrated laptop camera.
Forget the wired headphones. You want to move, and you’re going to be on those things all day. Also, get a good camera that makes you look much better than your cheap laptop. If you’re going to be on video, don’t let your equipment make you look worse than you already do.
4. Open your curtains or blinds.
Remember, you will be outside less than you’re used to, and natural light matters to your health. Get some. It also helps you feel less cooped up.
5. Don’t worry if your dog barks or your kids make a noise now and again.
We’re all in that boat now. There is no taboo about being at home and being a slacker for work. You don’t need to hide your world. Introduce people to your dog, and let them join meetings. Pet your dog.
6. Get a legitimate office chair if you can.
Additionally, sitting at the kitchen table in that chair wouldn’t be acceptable to you at work, and it shouldn’t be good to you at home if you can help.
7. Don’t feel like now that you’re not in the office, you have to schedule a meeting for every conversation.
Nothing will kill your products faster. Use IM, and pick up the phone. Just do it. Organic office conversation matters. Try your best not to lose it.
8. It’s easy to gain weight if you’re not moving around as much.
So, bust out that old Fitbit you never wear anymore and track your steps. It will be eye-opening. Don’t put snacks in your office because the kitchen is closed, and your co-workers won’t take them. Don’t eat all day. Take a lunch hour for fitness and sanity reasons. Use your grill for lunch. It is glorious to get outside for a bit, and the food is way better than a sandwich or leftovers.
9. Use a real keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
Surprisingly, typing on a laptop sucks, and so does using a trackpad. Get a real keyboard and mouse. Plug in a monitor or two if you can as well. Productivity studies are clear on the value of screen real estate.
10. It’s OK to start or end a meeting with a bit of personal conversation.
It’s essential to maintain human connections. You would have had the “how was your weekend” conversation or told the story of the dumb thing your spouse did by the coffee pot or waiting on a meeting to start anyway. Human beings need that type of interaction. Make it a point to give it to yourself and to give it to your co-workers. It makes a difference to your sanity if you talk to people like people and not just about work.
1. Nobody can tell if you’re wearing sweatpants or if you put on an adult shirt.
Sweatpants are the best thing ever.
2. Make delicious coffee.
You don’t have to share with the office now. This is a great time to get yourself an Aeropress.