Working from home presents a range of challenges, from dealing with interruptions, juggling multiple home and family obligations, to missing a sense of community and belonging.
Here are some key ways you can make working from home more productive:
Re-prioritize & reschedule your work: The most important first tip is to be realistic and acknowledge that you are unlikely to be able to achieve the same deliverables or go about your work in the same way as normal. Resetting the expectations you place on yourself can remove a significant amount of stress. Review your new reality and ask yourself what you think is realistic. How many clear working hours will you be able to do and when will you be able to do these? Based on this, prioritize the work you need to do, what is essential and must be done now – and what could wait until a later date.
Discuss and agree with your manager: It’s essential to communicate clearly with your manager, in order to manage their expectations. Discuss together and set clear, reasonable expectations around deliverables based on your prioritization. If you need greater flexibility, also discuss the number and timings of your working hours. However, do anticipate that your manager will also have expectations, especially around common team working hours and essential meetings attendance. Agree black-out times for sending and receiving emails from you (e.g. 7pm to 7am), so you have permission to switch off. Once you’ve agreed your working schedule, make this visible in your shared calendars so others know which hours you will be available.
Make technology your friend: You will need access to technology, beyond just email, to support remote working and you will need to know how to use it. Discuss with your manager what communication technology they would prefer to use, such as video conferencing and/or collaboration tools. If you are not familiar or comfortable with these, then let your manager know straight away and request additional support or training (even if it’s a technology that your organization has been using for a while). Attending meetings and collaborating remotely requires new etiquette, so you may experience a bumpy period as everyone gets comfortable with this new way of working together.