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Work From Home Expert Tips: 23 Tips for Remote Work

By Jessica Wishart

    Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 02:55 PM Accountable Leaders & Teams

    As the COVID-19 news unfolds and more people are staying in (check out www.cdc.gov/covid-19 for work from home tipsthe latest accurate information), some of us could be spending more time at home than we had planned this spring. While I am lucky enough to have the kind of job that I can do from home, I’ve never figured out how to do it well. On the odd snow day or sick day that I’ve attempted over the years, I’ve always felt that working from home is far less productive and more tiring than being in the office where it’s easier to focus.

    In the spirit of being prepared, I thought I’d better get some expert advice on the subject in case I find myself working from home for an extended amount of time. Here at Rhythm Systems, about half of our company regularly works remotely, and (not to brag) we have some real superstars. These team members have been managing to work from home with excellent results for the past several years (some over a decade), so I thought they’d have some solid tips to share.

    I asked the following Rhythm Systems team members for their best working from home advice:

    • Chris Cosper, Head of Consulting
    • Ryan Walcott, Head of Product
    • Tiffany Chepul, Rhythm Software Program Leader
    • Cathy McCullough, Rhythm Consultant
    • Alan Gehringer, Rhythm Consultant

    Their advice had some common themes:

    work from home tips

    1. Plan Your Space:

    • Set up dedicated office space if possible. - Alan
    • Separate "work" from "home." Have a dedicated work space away from all the main highways & by-ways within your home. - Cathy
    • Make sure you have a comfortable and inspiring workspace. Invest in a proper desk, good lighting, a comfy chair, and the right equipment. It also doesn't hurt to decorate your space in a style that you'll enjoy every day. - Chris
    • Have a designated office space with a door you can close. Avoid using your kitchen or dining room table. - Ryan

    working from home tips

    2. Maximize Productivity:

    • Since you're not locked into shared office hours, you can work during the times you know you're the most focused and productive. For me, that's early in the morning. Some days I can get more done between 6:00 am - 9:00 am than I do the entire rest of the day. For others, it may be late at night. Just make sure you set boundaries so you're not working all the time. - Chris
    • Schedule collaborative work during times you know you may need more energy. I enjoy scheduling afternoon virtual calls with teammates because it keeps me focused and productive during my afternoon lull. - Chris
    • Set your Weekly Priorities. Prioritize at the beginning of each week: Your priority list will, of course, need to flex a bit as you get into the week, but at the beginning of each week, figure out what your Top 2-3 "To Do's" are for the week, and plot them out on your calendar throughout the week. Next: Stretch your thinking a bit by identifying 2-3 other "To Do's" that you'd like to get done, if time allows. - Cathy
    • Be active vs. sedentary. Just as in any office environment, don't put yourself on a desert island just because you're working from home. Mimic what you would do in any office environment, such as: (1) Take breaks to stretch your legs and walk around, (2) allow yourself time for lunch, etc. (3) Connect with your peers on a regular basis via weekly meetings using Zoom, etc - Cathy
    • Take breaks and move around to keep your blood flowing and energy level up. - Alan
    • As an employer, avoid micromanaging. Don't over-regulate or micro-manage your people just because they're suddenly "working from home." If you've hired the right people, they'll get the work done. If you want to create a policy, this is a good read for creating a 'work from home' policy in just seven words. - Cathy
    • Listening to music while you are working can keep you company and be motivating. - Alan

    working from home tips

    3. Set Boundaries, and Avoid Distractions:

    • Frame your Day. Define your work day, such as defining when it begins and when it ends. - Cathy
    • Keep a work schedule. Avoid checking work email outside of your designated working times in order to honor your family's time with you. - Ryan
    • Honor your time. When you have a heavy work schedule, then honor your time—i.e., focus on work vs. working while also doing a load of laundry, etc. - Cathy
    • To remain sane, cancel the noise! Use a sound-cancelling headset or headphones for calls; blocks out background noise, etc. This will save your sanity as well as the sanity of the person/people you're talking with. - Cathy
    • Invest in a good noise cancelling headset for all the video calls you will be doing and to keep you focused when the kids or pets get rowdy. 🙂 - Ryan
    • Set boundaries with your family. If you are in your office, it's as if you are away working. - Tiffany
    • Share your work calendar and family calendar on a platform that everyone in your house can see. We use Google Calendar with all of our calendars—work and home—for visibility. My kids know when I'm on calls or at meetings. - Tiffany
    • If you and your spouse are both working at home, split up your duties around the house, with kids, etc. Everyone needs to share the load of carpool, dishes, laundry, etc. If you don't have a conversation about who does what, you won't be able to focus on work when you need to work. You'll be worrying about the load in the dryer getting wrinkled. - Tiffany
    • Don't get too attached to the refrigerator. 🙂 - Alan

    working from home tips

    4. Stay Connected

    • Use video every chance you get. This one took me a while to warm up to but it really does make a difference in connecting and communicating with others. - Chris
    • Catch up with friends or colleagues outside of work, even if it's virtual, for now. It's important to prioritize your relationships to maintain balance. - Chris
    • Invest in good internet and wi-fi for your home. Bad connections are frustrating for everyone. - Ryan

    Hopefully these expert tips from highly effective and experienced remote workers will be helpful.

    Have any remote working tips of your own to share? We’d love to read them in the comments!

     

    Download How to Engage Work from Home Team Members

    Want more tips to help with remote work? Check out these additional blogs:

    Engaging Remote Employees through Culture

    How to Engage Remote Employees that Work from Home

    5 Steps to Having a Productive Virtual Monthly Meeting

    7 Tips for a Great Virtual Quarterly Planning Session

    Crisis Communication with the 5Cs
    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images  

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