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Work from home: do’s and don’ts of telecommuting

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The transference of business methods in a physical setting into the digital space created a profitable (and unprofitable) trend across several industries. Labor forces shifted to a home-based environment, even though they have very little time to prepare of the ongoing pandemic around the world.

The situation change has lead 4.7 million people to increase productivity, engagement, and safety. A  study published by the University of Cardiff proved that employees tend to do involuntary work during rest days or even forced to work for longer hours but with lesser levels of productivity. Furthermore, the study has affirmed that companies with employees working remotely have a higher percentage of retention among executives. 

Work from home do’s 

If you are considering to shift your employment into working at the comfort of your home desk, here are some of the best practices you can do. 

Start early and develop a routine before & after your shift 

A laser-focused mindset should be on top even though you are working remotely without the presence of a terror boss and chattering workmates. Eating a good breakfast with a hot coffee, wearing a set of comfortable clothes, and taking your morning exercise are some of the best ways to start your day. This morning routine will improve your mood and help you prepare for a long day of work. 

Working productively from home challenges your brain for a better workday. A project started in the morning before 9AM is the key to make gradual progress during the day. Otherwise, you will just prolong your bed sluggishness and take away your motivation. Turn on the your favorite playlists and tracks based on your mood to match your work energy. 

Fill out your notepad or sticky note with your things to do as soon as you wake up. There are also free project management tools that you may suggest your company to use such as Asana and Trello. Using these tools have proven to keep every member of a team or a specific department aligned to a daily, weekly, or monthly goal. 

Keep a dedicated space for your work device and tools 

Establishing a boundary on a tangible area to separate your ‘home space’ and ‘workspace’ brings that best work vibe & energy. The physical set up of your laptop, PC, desk, chair, and other vital tools for your project associates your mental state similar to an office. This same sense of urgency will make it easier when you transition into telecommuting. 

You may invite positive energy by placing a clock near your desk or on your wall just above on your remote work set up, displaying inspirational materials like a family portrait, and planting small plants. On the tech side, using Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are the most recommended internet browser for any home-based employee as you can utilize multiple accounts. There are also designated toolbars necessary for your projects. 

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Learn how to set security measures for your work machine 

Like any personal device, setting up an antivirus in your home computer is a necessary to protect your privacy. Look for the best-reviewed software in the app store and have it installed properly. Various employers require the use of VPN to keep your company data secured especially for those who are working in the field of real estate, finance, and health. 

It is also advised to create another user on your device dedicated for your remote-based work to in order to maintain your focus on the project and keep your documents secured. This will also lessen the chances of you playing installed games, using social media platforms, and even doodling on your drawing pads. Accordingly, some employers require the use of time-tracking tools like Time Proof, Time Doctor, and Upwork which can capture system activity during work shifts. 

Learn a specific etiquette for your communication channels 

Teleconferencing is used when presenting a marketing plan, reporting your day or week to date accomplishments, or simply communicating with your colleagues. Zoom, Skype, Slack, and Microsoft Teams remain the most used apps for messaging, audio calls, and video chats. Most of these do not cost any extra fee but affordable add-ons can be purchased for company-wide virtual conferences like webinars which involve many attendees. 

Utilizing available communication channels for inter-company interaction demands etiquette to keep employee morale and mutual respect. The mute option is everyone’s best friend to bury unnecessary noise from kids, vehicles, and household or backyard animals. Fear of the camera has no place in telecommuting as it signifies professionalism and formality especially during interviews and one-on-one discussions. 

Opening the lights above or near you displays your face clearly as it offers essential visual clues necessary for the business outputs. You just have to make sure to keep a cozy background to maintain competence. Zoom and other video conferencing tools allow users to modify the backgrounds easily if you cannot do anything with an undesirable view at your back. 

Devise your schedule, take enough breaks, and set personal time during your shift 

Setting up a timer or time tracker tools required by your work should be done promptly. Your eyes, ears, fingers, and brain needs at least five minutes of break. In-between breaks should be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes while the lunch period should be a maximum of one hour with ample time for a nap. 

Save a harder level of tasks at the start of the day and do the easy ones during the afternoon to capitalize on your momentum of productivity. Turning email notifications during your shift should be made to keep yourself updated. On the other hand, turning it off is just fine outside your shift if your company permits so. 

Sustain relationships and cope with expectations  

Staying in touch is part of a satisfactory relationship with your coworkers. Keeping an open line with every member of the company from the management level to the members is similar to having an open-door policy in an office. This is essential for brainstorming, content drafting process, and tool maintenance.

Short periods of social media use during your break can still be healthy but make sure to turn off mobile phones while you work. Save those meetings, phone calls, and collaborations during the afternoon for you not to struggle or rush. 

The learning curve with the new processes, tools, and virtual conferences for remote work can be slow at first. Accept the fact that levels of difficulty for each person varies. 

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Work from home don’ts   

These are some of the don’ts in working from home to achieve your project goals, allow you to stay connected with your employers and colleagues, and help you earn what you deserve.  

Not understanding your work responsibilities 

Even when you are employed on a home-based setup, a contract by word or by the paper is still necessary. As your employer or your recruiter lays out the details of your employment such as your pay rate, benefits, work responsibilities, schedule, and company regulations, you should note it personally or get a furnished copy. Ask questions during the onboarding or before you sign the contract, to make sure that you understand your rights and obligations. 

Heeding to the distractions 

Working at home without any designated area compromises your productivity. Accomplishing assignments on your bed can make you just as sleepy as putting too much food near you will make you eat nonstop instead of working.

Turning on the television or watching series while you work loses your focus and makes you skip important details about your project that can affect its success. Household chores and leisure activities should be made on a separate time. 

Disregarding your physical and mental health  

Relaxing at home while you earn those digits has some perks as well. However, not taking the right diet and vitamins and not having enough exercise and fresh air can deteriorate your physical health. Keep a watch on your calorie intake as sitting all day during work with unhealthy snacks adds carbs and may lead to heart attack & diabetes. 

Your mental health is also at stake if you keep on being isolated and distant from your family members, friends, and neighbors. Maintaining a healthy mind keeps your focus. Box the peer and supervisor’s pressure and be calm to avoid conflict. Consult a medical professional who can help you keep a healthy lifestyle while you work at home. 

Don’t forget to ask for feedbacks and your time track 

Effective communication with your direct supervisor can lessen the chances of repetitive tasks and mistakes. Feedbacks can improve your project management skills and increase your competence. Having an open-minded attitude keeps learning dynamic and produces amazing outputs. 

Working at the comfort of your home is a perfect bonus for anyone who wants to maintain a work and life balance. Slipping away from things to do and daily tasks reduces your productivity and affects the company goals at large. You can stay updated by using Google Calendars or digital planners as any work requires self-control for efficiency.   

Disorganized desktop and outdated tools 

Organizing your files in a specific folder according to urgency or category on your desktop or in your Google Drive keeps continuity and systemizes your tasks. Google Docs and Cozi are some of the great apps to keep everything easily accessible. Make sure to update your drivers, operating system, MS Office Apps, browsers, and security software regularly as it prevents security issues on your device. 

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