17 Apr Work From Home Best Practices
Many people love working from home. One survey of 2,500 work-from-homers found that 95% of them would recommend it to others. It offers a flexible schedule, the ability to work anywhere and more time to spend with your family. However, it isn’t without its quirks and challenges.
Working from home requires you to adopt a certain level of discipline and new habits to be successful. Whether you’ll be operating remotely for an extended period of time or temporarily, appropriately adjusting to working from home can have powerful impacts on your job. Following work-from-home best practices can help you succeed.
Tips for Working From Home
To get the most out of your time working from home, there are a few key habits that can make a big difference. Here are our tips for working remotely:
1. Keep Regular Hours
If your company allows you to, it may be tempting to just work whenever you feel like it, but sticking to normal hours can help you in several ways, such as:
- It helps you overlap with coworkers: If you all work around the same time every day, you can more easily reach your colleagues and improve collaboration and communication.
- It improves your mental health: Routines are excellent for mental health and can offer improvements for stress levels, sleep, eating habits and productivity.
- It maintains your work-life balance: When you can’t physically leave a building, you may need to get creative to switch your brain from “work” mode. Regular hours can help, along with getting ready in the mornings.
2. Make a Morning Routine
Rolling out of bed and heading to your laptop in your PJs may be comfortable, but it can make you less productive and negatively impact your work in the long run. Getting dressed, making breakfast and sipping on a coffee can go a long way toward waking you up and getting you ready for the day.
3. Consider Your Video Conference Etiquette
Don’t be that person who stands up and shows their underwear to the whole team. Dressing well is just one element of making a video conference go smoothly. To give the best impression on video calls:
- Set yourself up with a tidy, professional background.
- Don’t try to multitask.
- Mute yourself when not speaking.
- Place your camera at a good angle, in front of and facing slightly downward at you.
- Speak up and participate.
4. Set Ground Rules and Boundaries
Family members can quickly become distracting in a work-from-home environment. Make sure they know the rules and understand not to interrupt you. Staying focused is key to maintaining your productivity.
While you have to set boundaries with your family members, you’ll also have to set boundaries with yourself. Creating a work-life balance becomes more difficult from home, so make sure you can separate the two. Having a separate office space is an excellent way to do this if you have access to one. Even a dedicated desk can help. Using different personal and work devices and not working after-hours can also help you keep things straight and enjoy your personal time.
5. Schedule Breaks
In a similar vein, breaks are important to productivity. In the office, these occasions feel natural. Heading to the break room for a snack, asking for clarification from a coworker or stopping for a chat in the hallway are common, everyday activities. However, when you work at home, it’s easy to find yourself at your desk for hours on end. Make sure you take scheduled, purposeful breaks, so you have something to look forward to and a refresher to get you ready to work.
Breaks offer a wide variety of benefits — they can improve your physical health, eliminate decision fatigue and boost motivation, productivity and creativity.
6. Adjust to Online Communications
Text conversations can be quite different from face-to-face ones. As you adjust to typing more of your messages, be conscious of your tone. You may need to be overly positive, to avoid coming off as rude or uninterested. Emojis, where appropriate, can help. You’ll also want to over-communicate since it’s easy to miss messages and forget things without the frequency of in-person conversations. It helps to confirm information, too.
7. Leave the House
During your breaks, a change of scenery can be invigorating. Go for a walk, sit out on the porch for a few minutes or go grab the mail. Get some sun and fresh air. Alternatively, consider spending some time working at alternative locations. If possible, consider going to a coffee shop or library and get some work done there. The change of pace can be excellent for some people.
8. Ask for Resources You Need
Don’t be shy about asking your company for assistance. If you need certain resources to get your job done, many businesses can help. If your company supports working from home, they likely have a budget for these kinds of things. Monitors, headsets, laptops, keyboards and more can help you significantly.
9. Experiment With Productivity
Everyone has their own process, and sometimes you’ll need to experiment to find out yours. As you adjust to working from home, play with different aspects of your workday, like:
- Where you’re working
- What times you work
- When you do different types of work
- What you wear
- What you eat
You may find combinations and choices that help you immensely.
How to Securely Work From Home
One of the risks associated with working from home is the possibility that sensitive corporate data becomes more vulnerable. Depending on the industry you work in, security risks can be incredibly concerning. While your IT department should have guidelines for you to follow, here are some general security tips for working from home that can keep your information and your company’s data safer:
1. Keep Your Device Protected
Physically, keep your work in a private space. If you’re working on something sensitive, don’t take it to a coffee shop or take a call in public.
As for your device, there are a few steps you can take to improve security, like:
- Don’t let family members use it: You could compromise their data and that of your company’s if they download susceptible software or if your computer becomes a hacking target.
- Check your password practices: Keep a robust password on the device and set it up to require it every time you step away.
- Update your devices and software: Many updates include significant security improvements that could be otherwise exploited.
2. Use Encrypted WiFi
A wifi network with WPA-2 encryption is going to offer much more protection than one without it. Most home routers have this capability.
3. Use a VPN or Remote Access
If you need to access work servers, a virtual private network (VPN) provides encrypted communication that prevents others from intercepting your data. It is a secure way to access the information you use regularly at the office.
Another way to access data normally kept at the office is to use a virtual desktop infrastructure. This solution offers access to a Windows desktop from any device. You can get to your data from home or any other location.
4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Where possible, access your accounts with multi-factor authentication, which ensures a two-step process to verify your identity. It may send a PIN to you via text message or a confirmation email. Usually, you’ll only need to do this the first time you access a program.
5. Use Business-Specific Online Tools
One of our specialties here at Netrepid is developing business solutions with online collaboration tools. These programs can help you connect with teams from across locations and access shared information with safe, encrypted data. If you work for a company that has these tools, use them to their fullest extent. Check with your IT department to see what resources may be available to you.
Boost Your Productivity Working From Home
Whatever circumstances led to you working from home, don’t let them ruin your productivity. You can still be a model employee with the right practices and habits, but you can also enjoy the little things. Take advantage of this flexible period and relish in the nonexistent commute and freedom to wear fuzzy slippers all day without sacrificing your success.
At Netrepid, we offer a variety of online-based solutions to improve productivity, collaboration and security. With so many people making the move to working from home, incorporating these tools can vastly improve the experience across the board. Contact us to see how we can help.