It’s safe to say we’re living in weird times, shrouded in uncertainty. As many of us prepare for the new reality of working from home (WFH) for an indefinite period, these nine tips can help provide a sense of normalcy and create the foundation for a successful WFH experience.
1. Maintain Regular Hours
Set a schedule and create guidelines around when to work and when to call it a day. This will help you maintain your work-life balance while also clearly communicating your schedule and availability to colleagues.
Update your company messenger status when you’re away at lunch
Checking in with your manager or leadership if you’ll be working different hours or have adjusted availability that day—for example, if you start working earlier than normal because you have a midday appointment and will be away for an extended period
Making sure your calendar is up to date and includes any blocks of time you won’t be available
2. Create a Morning Routine
It’s normal to struggle with creating a morning routine when you’re working from home. Much like you’d set a routine if you were heading into the office, it’s equally important to create a morning routine when you work from home. Set your alarm and allow yourself time to wake up, shower, eat breakfast, and ease into the start of your workday.
3. Set Ground Rules with People in Your Space
Establish a clear set of ground rules for what should and shouldn’t happen in your shared space while working from home. This could include the following:
Putting up a sign when you’re on conference calls
Letting people know you won’t be able to answer the door for packages (if someone else is home they can know this ahead of time and be the one to do it
Establishing your overall preference for personal interactions during the day so it reduces the amount of disruptions and lessened productivity
4. Schedule Breaks—Go Outside!
During a normal workday, you probably walk around the office or go outside several times. It’s easy to short-change yourself on this type of activity when you’re working from home, so make sure you set clear times for breaks. Even a 15-minute walk outside your house to get fresh air can help break up the workday and make you feel good.
5. Socialize with Colleagues
It’s easy to feel lonely and disconnected when you’re working for home, especially for extroverted employees. One way to feel less alone is to participate in company chat channels where employees talk about shared interests and other interesting topics. Do some research to see if your company has any fun employee channels that can be used—or create your own!
6. Participate in Meetings
When you’re on a conference call, it’s a good idea to turn on your webcam, if possible, and show your face in the meeting. If you’re not able to share your camera, it’s a good idea to at least say hello and goodbye to everyone so they can hear your voice. This also means you’re interacting with everyone, even if it’s at a small level. Also, let’s not forget the most important part of conference call etiquette: make sure you mute your phone unless you’re speaking.
There’s no way around it—working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Make sure you’re communicating directly with anyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability throughout the day, as often as possible.
It’s not enough to decline a meeting or update your slack status—make sure you’re sending an email or personal Slack message to the individuals who need to know. If you finish working on something, make sure that’s communicated to everyone. Check in regarding the status on outstanding items you may need from someone.
8. Be Positive & Assume Positive Intent
Tone is an easy thing to misread, and an increase in colleagues working remotely increases the chances tone will be misinterpreted. Remember to be positive and assume positive intent in the messages you’re reading. Take a few minutes to re-read an email or message before you send it. Don’t be scared to add an emoji or exclamation point. It will go a long way to help.
9. End Your Day with a Routine
When you’re not shutting down your computer and physically leaving your office to mark the end of your workday, it can be difficult to clearly signal you’re done working. By creating a routine to end your day, you can better create work-life balance, start unwinding from work, and set clear expectations around your availability to colleagues.
This routine can include the following actions:
Shutting down your work computer
turning off Slack or email alerts on your phone
Physically removing yourself from your work area
If you don’t have a full workstation setup, this might be as simple as closing your work laptop and moving it out of the way for the evening.
As things continue to change on what can feel like a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis – one thing that remains true is that we’re all in this together. While the occasional WFH day used to feel like a treat, the unknown realities of transitioning into long-term, extended periods of WFH can feel overwhelming, chaotic, and confusing. Times may be weird, but helping your employees stay engaged is still possible.
Share these tips to set them up for a successful WFH experience, and click here to learn how Tango Card can help you keep employees engaged with e-gift cards.