5 tips for working from home (WFH) during COVID-19

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// Has your company just mandated a WFH policy? Here’s some advice for startups…

Are you worried about all the food in your fridge disappearing by mid-morning? You’re not alone!

Working from home, or as it has been known in the startup industry—working remotely—has evolved in public sentiment in recent years. From a relatively obscure term designated for multi-level-marketing experts, the recent health crisis we face has resulted in WFH becoming the norm.

There are some disadvantages to working from your bedroom desk, living room table or kitchen bench, but with those are a slew of advantages, which we’ll dive into in a moment.

It can take an adjustment, and if you’re in a share-house, a new office culture to contend with, but you can do it!

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Five things to consider during a WFH period:

1. Keep to your regular office working schedule as closely as possible.

Yes it is tempting to roll out of bed into a video conference meeting with pillow lines on your face…but that isn’t conducive to putting your best foot forward in the company.

Get up, and start your day as normal.

The bonus here is you’ll be able to allocate ‘commute time’ to sit and read that book you’ve had on your bedside table for months and/or grab a proper breakfast that’ll have you up and firing.

2. Minimise possible distractions from your temporary work space

This is crucial for productivity.

As all seasoned remote workers understand, it is easy to get distracted when you’re at home, but mastering this will see your productivity soar. In fact, as noted by HBR late last year, productivity of remote workers can increase from 4.4% all the way up to 13%!

This can be explained by the reduced break time and sick days, plus a more comfortable working environment. This could be your chance to shine in your company.

3. Separate work space from personal space

It can be hard living and working in the same space, but make it easier for yourself to relax when appropriate, and switch on when necessary.

By drawing a dividing line between the space in which you plan to work, and the rest of the doldrum you’re inhabiting out of work hours, you’ll be less tempted to ‘just reply to one more email’ or conversely, avoid ‘just one more episode of Brooklyn 99’.

Pack up or leave the work space when you clock off, and don’t sit back down until you’re ready to get in the zone.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

4. Communicate with your team

Set lines of communication and appropriate channels for information as a team. To be fair, this should probably already be done (thank you HR), but if not, a WFH period without this will unravel a project quicker than a virus unravels our fragile existence…

It’s likely that you’ll be using some new tools for online collaboration, yes they can be confusing, but that’ll take a hard 3 minutes to figure out and you’ll be feeling like a tech guru in no time.

Video-conferencing tools are critical when working from home. Be a champion of the idea that your usual Friday drinks don’t have to fall by the wayside, grab a drink and join your team on a video call to debrief and relax.

5. Get out of the house!

We’re lucky here in the West that our weather is mild year round. It’s easy to forget about the outside world if you’re stuck in the house day-in day-out during a WFH period.

Now, we’re certainly not telling you to traipse around Perth spreading germs if you’re meant to be in self-isolation, but to feel the wind on your face and sun on your skin will brighten anyone’s day. Just do it in an appropriate manner for your personal circumstance.

Tips loaded, coffee cup filled, it’s time to start your first Zoom meeting. Good luck during this time of turmoil!

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