Six essential tips for working from home during the pandemic

The Drum 30 Mar 2020 01:56
What are the secrets of successful homeworking?

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way many of us live and work. Making the transition to working from home comes with its share of challenges, so I’ve asked some of the veteran remote employees at my company, Canto, to share their best tips for making remote work productive and rewarding.

Communicate and set boundaries at home

If you share a home – and now a workspace – with family, partners, children or roommates who must also stay home from school and work, it’s important to communicate when you have meetings or need quiet time. This helps you focus during work hours and avoid potential distractions.

“Tell the people you live with when you have meetings or are not available, so they know they need to be a little quieter,” says Alain Defrasne, our manager of product support based in Marseille, France.

“The most important thing is to communicate with those living with you. Clarifying each others’ expectations, setting boundaries and being patient will go a long way for keeping stress levels low and mutual understanding high, which in turn allows you to focus and work better in your home environment,” says Leslie Weller, our director of product marketing based in San Diego, CA.

It’s tempting to work from your bed or couch but having a space that cues you to get into ‘the zone’ can help you be more productive and help establish boundaries between life and work.

“If possible, find a location to work where you can close the door. It can help you concentrate or have quiet time to focus when needed,” says Alain.

Our colleagues play a big part in our job satisfaction and a healthy work environment. Now that we can’t go on coffee runs or grab lunch together, it’s important to find new ways to connect with our teammates.

Communication is paramount now – make sure your colleagues know your availability and how to get in touch with you. It’s also critical for teams to talk about how their projects affect each other to help collaboration go more smoothly.

The company and individual teams are still having meetings and even happy hours over video conferencing to keep that sense of camaraderie alive. We even celebrated a birthday over Zoom!

It can be more difficult to stay focused when working from home, so setting priorities or goals for each day can help you stay on track and motivated throughout the day.

Have a consistent routine

“Brush your teeth, do your morning routine, and get dressed,” says Jonathan Laylo, one of our sales development representatives based in Seattle.

Studies have shown that employees who work remotely often end up working longer hours. Now that many countries are encouraging or mandating people to stay in their homes, it’s likely that we will find ourselves dedicating more time to our work.

“Remember to take regular breaks. To be honest, I tell myself this every day and it comes back to me after I've programmed six or seven hours in a row. There are useful apps that pop up on the screen after certain times and remind you to take a break. Ten minutes off-screen can often help and exercise is also good in between – just take out the bins or unload the dishwasher. If you take a longer break, change your status so that your team knows that you are not available now,” says Peg.

On behalf of the Canto team, we wish you the best of luck in adjusting to remote work, and hope you and your loved ones keep safe.

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Alain DefrasneLeslie WellerCantoLeslieAlain
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