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This week will see the most extensive global influx ever of new people starting to work from home. This transition happens without plans, often without a dedicated home office, and for some doubling as a teacher. These six routines can minimize the productivity loss you and your company will see as you move into this new reality.
Find out where to work
Supporting work from home was an easy employer decision for the staff able to be productive with a laptop and a smartphone. But your home might be less prepared when it comes to having a functional home office.
Find the best table and chair combination that gives you the best working position. Plan to set-up and tear down your work environment daily. You need a suitable location to go to, without making your family go crazy with permanent offices in multiple locations across your home.
Planning your day differently
Our workdays in the office vary with your profession. For all of us, the most significant change is the temporary elimination of face-to-face meetings. Managers with agendas filled with back-to-back meetings every day. Individual contributors were collaborating with peers and attending information briefings. Sales professionals with schedules shaped by customer meetings and interactions.
Spend some time to define what is critical and possible to do in this new situation. Meetings that remain vital will be virtual, as the only remaining way to collaborate. Expect to have more time for task-oriented work that you lead and define on your own. A pleasant surprise is a time added to your schedule from daily commutes.
Three critical aspects of supporting your planning are
- A firm starting point, with good prework routines every day
- A well-defined length on the blocks you schedule for task-oriented work, that suit your personality
- The type of breaks that suits you best in a home environment.
Secure access to broadband and tools
The real value of double displays, an extra mouse, and robust internet access might not be evident at work, but that you will soon find out. Your home working foundation will be your smartphone and laptop, complemented with good fixed and mobile broadband connections. Broadband connections are stress-tested. Multiple home workers and education/gaming for your children at the same time.
If you are relying on audio-only for your daily conference calls, consider embracing video options. Video conferencing will bring back a bit of the lost personal interactions from face-to-face meetings.
Digital collaboration tools are the second large area to secure your days run smoothly. Cloud-based tools put through the test of sharing and cocreations when whiteboards are gone.
Self-sufficient on nutrition and inspiration
The lunch break, with someone cooking for you, is often a vital mid-day break.
Plan a lunch menu for the week. Cooking from scratch at lunch every day is time-consuming. Home delivery from local restaurants can still be an option to contribute to local business life.
Combine eight hours a day at your temporary office with inspiration breaks. A read in an exciting business book or a walk around the block can be that energizer you need.
Stay focused, with a family around you.
You might not be home alone. Two adults working from home is a new scenario in most families and homeschooling your children add to the complexity. A big challenge we all face is how to stay focused in this new environment.
Aspire to find focus by taking shifts for homeschooling tasks. Support each other to manage simultaneous virtual meetings. The key to your productivity is to get uninterrupted time for your task-driven work. If you can achieve it now, it will be a critical asset for your productivity in the future.
Experiment and develop your digital skills
The next weeks will expose your shortcomings when it comes to digital skills. With an excellent opportunity to turn gaps into future advantages.
Take the opportunity to experiment with new digital tools and skills. Create short videos or podcasts for your customers. Now is an excellent opportunity to push for progress before perfection in new areas.
Questions to ask yourself and your team
- Do I have the right tools in place for home working – focus on the essentials for communication, collaboration, and task-driven productivity.
- Which distractions will you face at home – from home workers, pets, and as a teacher for your children?
- What is your optimal block for task-oriented work – the blocks you will build your daily calendar around?
- Which digital experiments should we pull off – when the digital needs are clear and imminent, and your audience appreciating anything you can do to make their day different.
Additional reading suggestions
- How to work from home: 20 tips from people who do it successfully [BLOGPOST] – by Erik Devaney
- Structure your work from home days with these routines [BLOGPOST] – by Beth Skwarecki
- How to structure your day when you work from home [BLOGPOST] – by Chiara Mazzucco at Bold Self
- 5 marketing gigs you can do from home [BLOGPOST] – by Christina Jones
- During a pandemic, Isaac Newton had to work from home, too. He used the time wisely [BLOGPOST] – by Gillian Brockell at Washington Post
- 9 tips to be productive when working at home during COVID-19 [ARTICLE] – by Bryan Robinson at Forbes