Tips and tricks for working from home during COVID-19 pandemicIvy Gutierrez
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has drastically raised the number of people that work from home. Understandably, tech companies are at the front of the change. Google’s parent company Alphabet recommended that all of its employees in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East work from home until April 10.
Amazon has told all employees globally who are able to work from home to do so until the end of March. Other tech companies, including Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple, have asked employees to work from home, as have dozens of other small companies.
In the current situation, it is pointless to debate the benefits or downsides of working from home. For now, it is a necessary step in our global attempt to #FlattenTheCurve. Let’s look at some tips and tricks on how you can make working from home more successful, especially if you have personally never done it before.
Designate a work space.
While it may be tempting to just take your laptop wherever you feel comfortable, it is probably a better idea to designate a work space. If you have a spare bedroom or an actual office, perfect! You are in luck. If, like me, you do not have that chance, try to find a corner somewhere that will – essentially – become your office.
Keep your corner clean and professional. Clutter can negatively affect your brain, so try to treat your desk or corner similarly how you would treat your office space. You may have paperwork around, but don’t dump clean laundry on the desk.
Stick to a schedule.
You probably have a set schedule already, in that case, try to keep the same schedule. If you need to make adjustments, perhaps because children are at home with you because schools are closed, alternate your schedule to work during nap time or later at night. Emails can be written and scheduled to be sent later from Gmail, so make use of that function. 🙂
If you need to track your hours, install an application that will do so for you. I personally use Toggl, but there are many options out there. RescueTime is built to help you stay on track and is a good option to explore, too.
Ask for help setting up.
Do not hesitate to ask what you need. If you need office equipment, ask if you are allowed to borrow it and take it home for the time being. While you may have your personal laptop, your workflow may need to screens and multiple documents open – just ask for them. Keep it reasonable, though. Bringing your office chair home for a month is one thing, buying new furniture to equip a home office is pushing it too far.
Stay in touch.
Use chats, video and audio communication software. You need to stay in touch with your team, so make sure to do it, even when all of you are scattered around. We like to use Slack to chat in the office already, if you need to share your screen, Skype and Zoom have an option for that. Ask your boss which communication clients you should install asap.
Did you finish a project? Say so. Working on a new idea? Tell someone. A lot of trust goes into work from home and it is easy to lose touch with one another. Keep your teammates or supervisors in the loop, ask for tasks, inform them of your progress.
Have a backup plan.
What are you going to do if you suddenly use electricity or your internet dies? Make a plan for such situations. See where the closest public library is. I have worked from my car on multiple occasions, and I love to park in front of Starbucks. They have free and fast internet, and I can stay away from the people by using the laptop in my car.