Even for people who love working from home, there are challenges. Effectively working from home requires self-discipline and effort to stay connected with colleagues.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Not everyone can have a home office or even a dedicated workspace, but people should try to have a place set apart to work. Requests for the employer’s equipment should be based on how prepared the employer is to make the shift. While companies with an established virtual workforce may be happy to provide office chairs and other equipment, a company that is just testing the waters might be more comfortable supplying ergonomic cushions and keyboards but not furniture.
Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule is key. This should include lunch breaks and regular breaks, and a definite beginning and end to the day. However, people should also feel free to take advantage of increased flexibility if they want to fit exercise, baking, or another activity into the day. Family members or roommates should learn not to disturb those working from home or to rely on them to take care of all domestic chores at the same time. Keeping a calendar that can be shared with family and coworkers can help make availability clear.
In addition to attending any required meetings, people should make an effort to attend some optional ones and to communicate with colleagues and supervisors, generally more than they might in a more traditional work setting. In a virtual office, this can sometimes require more time and effort.
Efficiency is important, but it needs to be balanced against the possibility that quickly written emails may come off as terse. People may need to alter their writing style to ensure their tone remains pleasant since this may be the only way they communicate with some colleagues. If the company has a messaging app or other channels for socializing, people working remotely should use it.
It can be easy to neglect other perks of office life, such as taking advantage of training opportunities or taking a sick day instead of working through illness. In all, learning to work from home effectively is a matter of finding the balance between multiple considerations. It can take some time but can be very rewarding in the long run.