While gig workers have eschewed the 9-5 job in favor of controlling their projects and clients, the pandemic has forced many regular employees into their homes.
We share a few important tips about preparing to work from home that many people may not know.
Armed with this knowledge, you can start organizing your new way of life – at least till all this is over.
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Take Up A Course
If you’re used to spending your free time with friends and family outside, this point is particularly important for you.
Most jobs don’t require prior academic knowledge or work experience these days, but it does help to have a core in your chosen field.
And this pandemic is a great opportunity to improve your skillsâ€”a number of online course makers have become free for the rest of the month as a reaction to current circumstances.
There are also courses available online and at universities which don’t cost very muchâ€”a great way to spend time indoors.
Taking up a course or two will give you an idea of what your industry is like right now, how you can navigate the field, and may even help you make some much-needed connections.
You can also take up courses that will help you brush up on skills you need every day but haven’t thought of improving, such as a business writing course.
Courses also give you more practical knowledge – such as the best websites for research, who the industry specialists are now, and the continuing trends in the field that may impact you. However, just because something is available doesn’t mean that you should take it up. Choose courses that will help your career goals and are of interest to you. Otherwise, you’ll be bored again.
Cover the Basics
When you work from home, you will find yourself spending a lot of time sitting at your desk. Make sure you have the right kind of seating, cushions, and back support.
Since you are already comfortable working from 9-5, and having the evening off, it is best to stick to that schedule.
But try and work within that set time-frame. Clock out at 5pm like you normally would, and remember to take breaks during the day for meals, or else you will burn yourself out.
Having said that, being at home with family may mean adjusting your schedule, and employers should be understanding of these circumstances.
In that case, sporadic working hours may be more convenient so you have the freedom to work around the rest of your scheduled day.
Always use your professional email address when replying to work emails. You are still an employee and representing your organization – if you don’t have remote access to your work email, speak to your IT team as soon as possible to set it up.
Working from home has more to do with managing your own time than anything else. You will likely have the same workload – organizing yourself around your day needs to be a priority.
As a remote worker, deadlines soon become your enemy – don’t let them sneak up on you or you will find yourself burning out.
You can create a calendar in Excel to keep track of your tasks and when they are due.
Alternatively, keep simple notes in the Notes app about what projects are due and by when. Sometimes all you need is a reminder to do something to kickstart the process.
If you have more complicated assignments, consider using a project management software like Monday.com or Trello to keep track of changes and deadlines, as well as contact details.
With the team spread around the city, and handling multiple responsibilities, communication can become complicated.
Use chat tools or Slack alternatives to keep in touch with each other so your work isn’t too badly impacted.
Planning in advance makes working from home smoother and more efficient – it may take time at first, but once you get in the rhythm, you will be able to be more productive.
Sharing ideas is one of the most challenging aspects of working from home – it’s hard to get your thoughts across through technological barriers.
It’s best to create a pitch template and pitch decks that you can adapt for different team members – make 2-3 templates that you can choose from to keep things interesting.
This will help you tailor your emails to your team’s specific needs and improve your long-distance communication.
Remember that a lot of human interaction is based on gestures and facial expressions – you can simulate these using emojis, GIFs, and images.
Save Your Research
Even if you are reading up for your own knowledge or pleasure, you should keep a note of what you are encountering if it is a comprehensive and relevant piece of content.
You never know when or where you will need that information you read – it could be useful for you at work, or for other projects once this pandemic is over.
However, you don’t want to spend time researching the same thing over and over – that’s time you can spend working or relax instead.
To streamline the process, consider filing all your research in one place. Create folders according to subject matter and save relevant data, statistics, and links in documents.
You can then refer to those documents whenever you need to, instead of looking afresh when the time comes to use that information.
Alongside research, keep a bank of visuals and images ready, to illustrate your presentations or campaigns – visual content marketing is still a massive part of brand building.
It all comes down to planning and organization – that is what will help you keep afloat as you work from home.
Working from home isn’t a choice for a number of employees right now – the current global environment has made it a necessity to maintain the health of people around us.
We have outlined here the best ways to prepare to work from home till this pandemic blows over.
It’s a very different lifestyle from going into your workplace, so it does take some getting used to.
But with practice and experience, you will be able to adopt the work-from-home life and make it a success until offices are once again open.
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