The work from home (WFH) policy: A guide for first-timers
During this coronavirus epidemic, many companies have decided to send home most of their employees. The work from home policy aims at securing their workforce’s health. However, not all companies have incorporated the WFH (work from home) option in their everyday business routines. Therefore, this brings many professionals on the verge of an unprecedented situation that they do not have experience with. At the same time, there are small business owners that have never worked from home; instead, their office was always their cockpit. Of course, this WFH policy mostly applies to professions that do not have an immediate relation to a physical space, i.e. programmers, graphic designers, marketing positions amongst others.
So, this article focuses on offering guidelines to all employees and entrepreneurs new to the WFH world on how to work from home successfully. Our advice aims at helping them become more productive, efficient and build their confidence in working by themselves at home. We’ll be sharing productivity tips that can make you feel like you’re back in your office as well as tech tools that can streamline your workflow.
Choose your work fortress
At this moment, many companies have set in motion the work from home policy. A designated area in your house will replace your typical office. This way, you will be more concentrated to work there and hopefully won’t be disturbed. This means that even if you don’t have an office, it’s a good idea to use a specific space to practice your work rituals and follow your typical office routine as much as possible. If a door separated you from the rest of the world, it would be even more beneficial to your productivity.
Keep your workplace habits
Working from home does not mean that you should find entirely new ways to work. It’s quite the opposite. If you are used to reading the news related to your business, organize your tasks for the day and do a stand-up meeting with your team, don’t change them now. A virtual stand-up is possible by using Skype, Google hangouts to ensure that all the team members are on the same page. Retaining the same working habits will also boost the employees’ confidence and help projects continue without miscommunication.
Moreover, the continuation of more practical habits like having your noise-canceling headphones and the second screen you’re used to working with will likely improve your working conditions and keep your spirits up.
Only regular clothing, no pajamas allowed
Your pajamas can severely decrease your productivity if you’re not used to working in them. They can lead you to slack off, feel bored while working but also get sleepy much easier due to the comfort they offer. However, office apparel sounds a bit much to be worn at home. So, think about putting some clothes on but not your work attire. The most important thing is that you don’t stay in your pajamas.
Under the work from home policy, you are free online on an unrestricted network, and that can have a negative impact on your work. Surfing the internet and being occupied with irrelevant things can damage your productivity. The best way to deal with distractions is not to give in to the various social media (except if you’re working with them) and focus on opening only work-related tabs on your laptop. Try not to constantly look around the internet reading the news about the current coronavirus situation or other hot topics.
Your family and especially your children (if you have any) can ask for your attention since you are at home. In this case, you need to be clear that while working from home, you will be busy during the regular working hours, as you would be on any given day.
Take care of your health
Do you already miss your adjustable desk, your ergonomic chair, and your office comforts? We know the answer is yes. However, you should take measures to keep your back straight, your neck free of pain and your body healthy. Therefore, think about finding the “most suitable for work” chair in your house and take frequent short breaks to walk around and stretch to avoid any unwanted pains. Try following your regular eating schedule without consuming more just because you are at home.
Of course, during this period, whenever you go out, clean your hands thoroughly, don’t touch your face and generally take care of your personal hygiene to protect yourself and the people around you.
All the above personal working tips will significantly help you work more efficiently. To assist you, even more, the following tools that we suggest will enhance the way you communicate, you collaborate on projects and track your productivity and time.
The WFH toolkit for beginners
Remote Desktop: Teamviewer
Not able to move all the necessary documents you need from your office desktop? Are you currently away from your office due to the work from home policy? Teamviewer can give you access to your remote desktop and is compatible with all the known operating systems. It’s simple to set up and easy to use when you need desktop access from afar.
Team Communication: Slack
If you need an online communication application for your team, then Slack is a champion in its field. You can create as many different channels you need based on your company’s various topics, employees and departments. As expected, you can send direct messages individually; you can share documents from your Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also adjust the notifications you receive depending on the channels that interest you.
Video Conference: Google Hangouts
If you wish to see your colleagues, managers or employees, then Google Hangouts is a great choice. It offers direct messaging, video calls and conferences in high quality. Thankfully, it works with all devices and operating systems as well as integrates with other Google apps.
Project Management: Asana/ Jira
Both choices are excellent in project management. The first one is most popular in marketing or SMBs circles while the second one appeals more to tech professionals like developers and programmers.
Asana can assist you by offering various project templates and meticulous task/project management. Moreover, its calendar and much useful file storage can benefit you even more.
In reality, Jira can offer you the possibility to monitor your daily tasks, as well as greater plans and projects. It can also help you create the optimal workflow for your business needs.
Time & productivity management: Elorus
Apart from your communication and task management needs, you should not forget how precious your time is. Tracking and organizing the time you spend on different tasks and projects is essential to monitoring your productivity. Elorus, with its real-time tracking and simple timesheets, can always keep you up to date with all the things you have done and still need to do.
Final views on the WFH policy
For many professionals, remote working is a dream come true, a reality that they’ve chosen. However, employees and entrepreneurs working from their offices may find it hard to comply with the work from home policy. The WFH adjustment period will not last long if you use our tips and tech tools we’ve proposed. Give them a try, and soon you will be able to streamline your workflow, seamlessly communicate with your team and fully control your projects.