How to actually work from home

If you have never worked from home and find yourself working from home for more than a day, you will feel out of place. I had the same problem when I started working in an office after working from home for close to four years. Here are some tips to make it easier to work from home.

Find a dedicated space 📦

It doesn’t have to be an office but if there is a door, you can set boundaries with your family. Door open, you can come in and interrupt, if the door is closed, you may interrupt.

⭐️ Use your closet for taking calls, it’s soundproof thanks to all the clothes you have purchased. There will be no echo on the other end of the call.

Wear pants/shirts 👖

If you wear your PJs all day long, your brain will be confused as to when it’s time to relax and when it’s time to be serious. When you become a pro, this is less relevant but for beginners, this is really important.

⭐️ Your body responds to how you’re dressed or if you are working on a couch. Trick it into ‘work time’ by wearing your normal work clothes.

Find an activity to signal end of work day 🦮

You are probably working more than you don't need to commute. However, if we don't setup a routine or an activity to indicate that the work day is done, the line between personal time and work time gets extremely blurry. This will lead to burnouts. If you have a dog, walking your dog is a great way to have a clear break from work to personal time. Cleaning dishes that have stacked up since breakfast is another great activity to have a clean break.

Use your headset 🎧🎤

DO NOT use the laptop speaker and microphone. Since your room is not soundproof, there will be an echo. The person on the other end can hear themselves and if they speak, they no longer can hear you since the microphone is picking on your voice through the speakers.

⭐️ Use your phone headphones, it will sound much better than the internal speaker and mic.

Use Slack/Teams 📟

Use the public channels to ask questions or give updates, it will help reduce the ad-hoc communication with the same questions. Watch this:

Phone calls are lossy and synchronous, as soon as they are done, there is no record of them. On the other hand, discussions in public channels are asynchronous and they stay around, forever. If I happen to have a need to step out for 5 min, I won’t miss the whole conversation.

⭐️ Be inclusive, share what you know, others can benefit greatly.

Use public communication Channels 📣

Extending on using Microsoft Teams, when we are in an office environment, we passively participate in conversations that we are not the target for. If your coworkers are talking close to your desk, you might overhear them and participate in the conversation. By working remotely, you are completely missing on such opportunity; However, if you use channel where there is a flow of information, you give others a chance to participate in conversations where they may be helpful or gain a piece of information that may have otherwise taken them to gather.

⭐️ Think about the stream of information vs inboxes.

What’s your status 💬

When you are in the office, you can see if someone is not at their desk, and if it’s during lunchtime, you can assume they are at lunch. They only window to our colleagues is our Status. Use Team’s status to communicate your, well, status. Besides the basics such as available, busy and do not disturb use status to communicate if you are off to eat lunch or take a 15 min break walking the dog. Be sure to use the time limit to remove the status. for example, set your status to “ (blue star) eating lunch” for 1 hour.

⭐️ Let other’s know what they can expect by setting a status

Do you have experience working from home? please share yours thoughts

Unsure how Slack or Teams can help you get more done from home?