Working From Home: A Self-Isolation Survival Guide

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Working From Home: A Self-Isolation Survival Guide

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more and more employees are finding themselves working from home. Homeworking was already a growing trend before the outbreak of coronavirus, however, it is now the defacto norm.

working from home teleconference

This transition from office working to home office working takes some time to get used to. For some it what they’ve always dreamed of whilst for others it’s a little awkward to get everything in place.

To help you adjust to these sweeping changes in the time of self-isolation, we’ve had a look at some of the ways you can comfortably settle into working from home. Find out:

  • What you need to set up your home office
  • How to keep yourself on a workable schedule
  • How to interact effectively with your colleagues remotely
  • What to do to keep your motivation and productivity up

Home Working Essentials

Before you can get started with your self-isolation workspace you’re going to need to get a few items together. These will help you work effectively and comfortably without ever having to set foot in an office.

The most important items you’ll need to work from home include:

  • A functional computer or laptop (with microphone and webcam)
  • Working Wi-Fi or a cable internet connection
  • Headphones
  • A decent quality screen
  • A comfortable office chair

Set Out Your “Office Area”

One of the first things you should set out when you start working from home is a dedicated workspace. This can firstly make a big difference in keeping your mind in “work-mode” and will secondly help you respect the space of other people living in your home.

Your home office can either be a separate room in the house or apartment. Alternatively, it can be a dedicated corner in a kitchen or living room. Whichever option you choose, it should be a space somewhere that you can comfortably and quietly get on with your work.

When planning this, remember to ensure you have easy access to:

  • Natural light
  • Wi-FI signal
  • Power outlets
  • A desk or table area

In the event you are living with multiple roommates or family members, make sure that your activities don’t disrupt their personal space. Additionally, keep your space tidy and don’t sprawl your papers and equipment over a wider area. In confined situations, like the one we’re living through, a little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

Follow a Rough Daily Schedule

Working from home is often tricky for people to get used to as they find it difficult to separate “office-mode” from “home-mode”. Work and rest can seem to blur into one.

To prevent the overlap between your professional and personal life try to work to a set schedule every day and make sure to follow it rigidly. You should have a clear time when you clock in and an equally determined time that you log off.

Also, resist the temptation to answer emails out of hours. You above all else should set boundaries and expectations as to when you’ll be available to respond professionally.

Get Prepped for Video Conferences

Video conferences are now one of the only ways to have meetings with your colleagues and managers at present. As a result, everyone is getting a crash course in how to interact properly on a webcam chat.

When video conferencing, remember to follow these etiquette tips:

  • Be on time
  • Wear headphones (to prevent sound feedback)
  • Mute your microphone when you aren’t talking
  • Try where possible not to talk over people
  • Signal your intention to say something before starting
  • Run as few internet draining programs as possible to maintain good connection quality

Communicate With Colleagues Often

One of the most awkward things to get used to when working from home is maintaining normal communication with members of your team and other people in your company.

Naturally, the prevalence today of webcam technology and video tools like Skype, Zoom, and Facetime alleviate some of this pain. However, now more than ever it’s important to keep easily in touch with others you work with. That means checking your emails regularly and being on time for meetings.

In the current situation, it’s better to overcommunicate than to under-communicate. Reach out for clarity if you’re unsure of any tasks and be sure to touch base regularly with team members so everyone knows what’s going on in your department and further afield.

Keep Positive and Take Breaks Frequently

These are difficult times for everyone and the many changes happening can add extra stress to your workload. It’s therefore especially important to make sure that you take regular breaks.

These can be little and often to ensure that you don’t start to burn out or just to give yourself a pause for breath every now and again. A little relaxation can go a long way.

Working from home can often make workers feel like they need to be even more attentive to their job. However, too much effort on top of everything else detrimental to your health and ability to perform properly.

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