With the global health crisis of COVID-19 it's up to all of us to find ways to not only endure this chaos but to uphold our way of life and support our fellow human beings.
So, you're probably wondering, how can I support anyone, even myself, with all this social distancing? Several areas of this country are in quarantine and we possibly haven't yet seen the peak of this pandemic.
Well, with that being said, we all have talents that can help us as a community, as a nation, to work through this concerning time. Work is what gives us purpose. Purpose, right now, is what we all need. So, let's get to work! From home.
With American businesses committing to the obligation of public safety by closing their offices and storefronts, things have slowed down a bit in the working world. But there are still plenty of ways to pick the pace up by working from home. But, in order to be successful, you'll have to bet set up for it.
Are You Prepared to Work from Home?
If you haven't already, you'll most likely be taking your work home with you these days. And, for some of you out there reading this article, you might be completely lost with setting up your home office.
Don't worry! We're here to help provide you with a list of things you'll absolutely need in order to work remotely.
Here's What You'll Need
There is a lot to consider before you can begin working remotely. Every industry has it's different requirements but here are a few of the more things important things to keep in mind as you get yourself prepared.
The Right Tech
Depending on the field or remote work you'll be working out of will determine the kind of technology you'll need to get the job done right.
For example, a person working for a legal firm might need to consider how they'll go about getting signatures from clients. Well, there are programs, like Docusign, that can help relieve that stress.
A person working in sales might be concerned with receiving payments from clients and keeping that cash flow up to speed, even as everything else around us slows down. However, there are a variety of platforms that provide clients with an opportunity to pay electronically or over the phone.
Each profession requires different types of tech but here are a few things you won't be able to work from home without.
- An internet connection (preferably a strong one)
- A home computer (if one is not supplied by the company)
- A working phone line
- A working email address
- And, if you're anything like me, chocolate. Although this really isn't a requirement. Just a good suggestion. 😉
Communication is Key
One of the easiest ways to fall behind in success from the home office is a lack of or, simply put, poor communication. Thankfully, even though social distancing is in effect, connecting with people these days is easier than it has ever been.
With the internet and your mobile phone, you can communicate through platforms like email, chat, social media, and you can even use that mobile device of yours to make a call too. At least, that's what my mother likes to keep reminding me.
Anyways, you want to keep communications open but the key here is narrowing your channels. Everyone has their preferences for sending and receiving messages. The point here though is not to get lost in all of them.
Struggling with Communication?
If your company is struggling to keep everyone from the office on the same page, it's probably because you're communicating with each other over various channels. You need to pick a communication channel and stick with it.
Now, that being said, email is a great way to get information across to each other but keep in mind that most professionals spend up to 28% or their workday going through and responding to emails. So, maybe don't put all of your communication on the one freeway that's already backed up with traffic.
Instead, try another chat platform, like Skype Business or Google Hangouts. Make sure everyone on your team uses the same communication channel. Otherwise, you're more likely to get a lot of "Oh, I never saw your message" replies on another channel.
Setting a time during the day for each member of your company to get together and chat about what's going on in each other's lives is a great way to stay connected. Make the conversation about each other. Not work. Maybe someone in your office just took the 23andMe test. Or, another member of your department is celebrating their birthday this weekend, at home.
Social meetings like this will help keep bonds strong as you all stay safe and work from home. They're just like those conversations by the water cooler in the office. And, keeping this social connection among co-workers is key in times like these.
Be Prepared for Snafus
It's bound to happen when you mix work with home. You're on a phone interview with a client or a possible employer and suddenly the dog starts barking at a passing runner. Or, the kids start screaming with laughter from the other room. Or, the refrigerator repair guy just showed up because if quarantine wasn't enough for you and your family to handle right now, it's a busted fridge.
There is almost no way around a snafu or two when you're working out of your home. However, we can't let our personal lives get all mixed up in our professional ones here. So, you'll need to take a few precautions in order to reduce the number of incidents like these. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding unprofessional when on the phones with callers and clients.
Here's What You Can Do to Prevent Snafus
Create a space in your home that is all your own. Preferably one where you can shut the door. Make sure that everyone in your household understands that in this space work comes before play.
With kids out of school and their parents just in the other room, it's not unrealistic for them to call out "MOM....DAD!" to gain their attention. Most kids are used to communicating like this with parents at home. But kids have to understand their new boundaries at home. Make those rules clear to them.
Balance your personal schedule and priorities as if you were still going into the office. If you have the refrigerator repair guy coming between the hours of 8:00 am and 12:00 pm, don't schedule video chat meetings or conference calls then. You wouldn't be waiting at the office for him, would you? No, you'd be at home. So be at home and work on other household priorities like your laundry or meal prep for the week. It's okay. The work will be there when you get back. Just make sure you leave time for it.
If your home life just can't keep the volume down and your clients and callers aren't getting the best impression of your business, consider hiring an answering service, like Abby Connect. Services like this will help reduce those pesky snafus and contribute to overall better customer experience.
This almost might seem like a joke for some of you out there but working from home can be exhausting. When you don't have your work-space and personal space separate it's very easy to let one take over the other. So, slow down, step back, and take your whole day in piece by piece.
Schedule yourself to work from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and then take a break. Seriously, stop whatever it is you're working on and go have lunch or take the dog for a brisk walk. Even if "you're on a roll" with what you're working on, take a moment away from that work.
Too often, people that work from home just keep working...and, working, and working. They forget to take in personal time for themselves because well,...it's hard to see when the workday actually ends from home.
This can also be the same case for those working remotely that just can't seem to stay focused and get their work done. Take a step back, breath, and take in all of your surroundings. Make time for your personal priorities separate from your professional ones and stick to the schedule you've made for yourself.
Keep Calm and Work from Home
I know that these times may seem uncertain for a lot of you out there reading this but remember, as all things do, this too shall pass. Keep working towards your purpose.
There are several different resources out there to help guide you in your industry as you work from home. You are not alone out there. And, for those of you out there looking to expand your horizons and strengthen your confidence in your work, there are free education courses that you should absolutely be taking advantage of right now. For example, Udacity is offering everyone one free month on one of 40 premium Nanodegree programs. And, Coursera is supplying a FREE course on the Science of Well-Being beginning.
Remember, we're all in this together. Keep calm in your thoughts and stay safe by working from home.