How To Excel While Working From Home

Woman working from home in front of laptop

Are you working from home? Sure, the commute is great, but will you still be able to prove yourself when you don’t have to show up in person? Of course you can! We have the tricks on how you prove yourself to be someone who gets things done, even though you’re not physically in the office.

Keep Regular Hours

“Working from home” can still strike fear in the heart of some managers. The old-school way of thinking was that if you weren’t seen at your desk and in the office, that you can’t possibly be working. For some people, the concept of real work requires being somewhere in person. While we will ignore the obvious fact that “being at work” and actually getting work done can be two very different concepts, the point is that you need to be accessible. Keeping regular hours will make it easier for others at your work to know when they can or can’t expect a response from you, and when a phone call or email can be returned.

Not only is keeping regular hours good for your coworkers and boss, but they’re also good for you to keep a strong work-life balance. If it requires setting an alarm for when you need to start wrapping it up for the day, so be it! Whether you’re using the Podemero system or something else, make sure you stop working.  You wouldn’t live in an office, so don’t let the office take over.

 

Working From Home Requires More Attention

Working from home implies that any number of other things could have your interest and the person droning on about the PowerPoint presentation or describing the next project is aware of this. It’s important to pay attention and take notes so that you can refer to those points later on. While a coworker might be pointedly ignoring the conversation and have their side muted,  you’re going to be ready with pointed, accurate, and directly on-target follow up questions and suggestions. Do you know who remembers which remote employee was paying attention in these meetings? The person who answered your question.  Make your time count and pay attention!

 

Schedule Breaks

Unlike most workplaces, working from home can not only take over all your time but also wear you out faster. It’s essential for your own well-being to take breaks and without a coworker to remind you, scheduling them is usually necessary. Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself working far too much in the beginning, but do take it to heart. You’re just trying to work from home, not trying to burn yourself out. It’s up to you to decide if you need to schedule them or if your household requires certain times for you to take a break. A household with small children will have different needs than one with older children or no children at all. Consider yours and see what adjustments you might need to make so that you take enough breaks.

 

Set The Guidelines With The Rest of Your Household

No matter who else is in your household, they probably need some guidelines of what is okay and what isn’t while you’re working. Whether it’s children coming home from school or a roommate with a different work schedule, you will need to let them know what you need from them. Working from home comes with its own conflicts and we’re all learning together how to make it work. If you’re joining a video chat and your coworkers might hear other people, just let them know ahead of time. We’re all adjusting together and it makes you more relatable as a whole.

 

Be Assertive

Can’t see the slideshow because of technical difficulties? Speak up. Can’t hear what your coworker is saying because they’re too far from the speakerphone? Speak up. Can’t communicate because all of the electricity went down? Okay, that’s a stretch, but you get the point. You have to take the initiative because you’re the one who will miss out on key points and end up confused when everyone continues on without you. Also, don’t hesitate to contribute to the conversation! Make sure everyone hears you, it furthers the conversation, and that it’s not something that has already been covered. Saying something useful and different will make a strong impact long after the meeting is over.

 

Working From Home Requires Solid Tech Tools

It doesn’t matter how much you pay attention or how assertive you are if your tools don’t work. Before logging into a conference call or video chat, make sure that everything is hooked up the way it’s supposed to be, that you have the correct program installed, and the necessary information to connect in time. Make sure you are confident in how you will log on and connect with everyone else before it’s time to do so. Everyone finds it jarring when someone enters a meeting half-way through, either in-person on online.  You wouldn’t consider it professional to miss a meeting in-person, so make sure you have the technical skills to avoid giving that impression online.

 

Keep a Separate Workplace

Working from home blurs the traditional lines between work and home. One of the easiest ways to keep your work-life balance (and thus prevent burning out) is to keep your work in a separate area. If you’re lucky enough to have enough space for an office then take it over by all means.

If you’re one of the many who does not, we recommend setting up even a small corner of a room where only work happens. Ideally, everyone would have two computers with one being personal and a second one belonging directly to your workplace. This isn’t always possible and you may find yourself frustrated with having to use one for both.

If keeping two machines isn’t part of your situation then dedicate a small corner or desk just for work. When you sit there with your laptop, you’re at work. When it’s on your lap while you watch TV, it’s your personal time.

 

Be Mindful

Take care not to show the accidental rudeness that can come with a video chat or conference call, such as loud background noise, a distracting or messy background, or having the camera looking straight up your nose. Be sure not to get too chatty about off-topic conversations. People who are new to working from home may feel socially isolated, now that there isn’t anyone stopping by their desks to chat and no one asking to have lunch. This still doesn’t excuse taking up twenty minutes to catch up with everyone about their weekend plans at the beginning of your video chat. Do catch up with them, but just do it when it’s not on company time and not in the meeting.

Consider Getting a Separate Phone Number or a Phone App

Making professional phone calls from your personal phone number makes your personal life vulnerable. Keep your private life separate from your professional life, whether it’s with a company phone or with a phone app. Not every company is able to give out a company phone, so what is an employee to do? Download a phone app, of course! Whether it’s using Google Voice from a google account or downloading something specifically for your Android or iPhone phone, there’s no need to use your personal phone number for work purposes.

 

Socialize With Your Coworkers

Working from home can easily lead to feeling isolated and extreme loneliness, which can damage your mental health. Companies that have a remote work culture usually can offer a way to socialize with coworkers. Whether it’s a chat channel, a meet-up for people in the same region, or business messaging apps like Slack, it’s important that you find a way to connect with your coworkers. It’s not only important for your mental health but also to build networking ties for any help you (or they) may require in the future.

 

Overcommunicate

One of the key issues with working from home can be boiled down to communication. Working in person comes not only with words, but also body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Emails can fall flat and feel impersonal. As a result, you may need to mention when you’re free, what you need, and when you’re going to be on vacation multiple times. You might need to mention it in a phone conference meeting and in an email, just in case not everyone gets to all their emails or makes it to the conference call. On the upside: you can make the same lame joke about your work ending or going on vacation more than once.

 

Working from home comes with its own set of challenges, but with these recommendations, you will be successful in no time!

 

If you liked this article, check out our others here:

Top 5 Ways to be More Productive Today

17 Productivity Hacks To Work From Home

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