Working from Home Tips

Charles Beck 03/16/2020
Many companies have been requesting that their employees work from home, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Twitter has even made it obligatory to work from home.

Because of Covid-19, it is likely that many companies will follow their footsteps. To help you adapt we’ve collected some tips from the Tredent team. We have a few tips and tricks to make it work well, and some things to avoid…

Separate home and work as much as possible

Workstation

A crucial tip to working from home is to separate the two settings as much as you can. If you have a spare room, creating a home office would be perfect, but there's things you can do even if you don't have a spare room.

Having a work station, even if it’s just a small desk, tends to be better than say maybe your kitchen or dining room table. This helps you to be in a work-free headspace when you sit down to eat at the end of the day. Similarly, working in your bedroom is hardly a good idea because a room meant for rest and relaxation becomes associated with work.

One idea is a screen room divider. That way when you complete your work day you can pull the screen room divider across so that your workspace is out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind.

Separate socially as well as physically

Desk with family

It can be tempting for your family to ask you questions, see if you’re available to chat, or even ask you to help out with some chores if you do not create clear cut boundaries like asking them to imagine you are not home during your working hours.

Some things such as grabbing a quick snack or cup of coffee are not a problem, but make sure you do not treat your work time as a weekend and take out time to do home-related things.

Vice versa, make sure your work time doesn't tiptoe it’s way into your personal time. Try to stick to business hours.

Minimize clutter

Cluttered Desk

This can be a double edged sword. You don’t want to be distracted by domestic clutter while you’re working, or by work-related stuff when you’re relaxing in the evening.

We advocate you keep your work area neat and specifically putting away your work related items at the end of the day. Having a stack of paperwork and a laptop can make it hard to forget about work and relax.

Dress to suit your own needs

You are what you wear

Some people who work from home will recommend wearing comfortable clothing and will say it’s the best part of working from home. Yet others find dressing more professionally helps put themselves into work mode. Personally I switch back and forth between the two, but I recommend that you find what suits you best.

Put some thought into furniture

Furniture

 

If you’re most likely going to be working from home for an extended period of time you may want to consider asking your work to pay for applicable furniture. When you’re working from home you want to make sure you are comfortable.

One option is a sit-stand desk to keep you on your feet and blood flowing through your body.

My biggest mistake was using a dining room chair as my office chair. The dining chair is meant for sitting for the duration of a meal, not an entire workday. Personally I ended up purchasing an aeron chair. They are a costly option but I find it keeps me cool and comfortable when working long hours. If your company is requesting you to work from home, they still has the same duty of care toward you as it does in the office, and the same health and ergonomic requirements apply.

Don’t spend all day at your desk

Frustrated working all day!

A downside of working from home is that you don’t get the same exercise and natural breaks that you get from working in the office. There’s no meetings, stairs to climb, or commute.

Make sure to be moving during the day. Personally, I grab snacks or drinks from the kitchen on a regular basis.Take your lunch break away from your work area. I know it may be tempting but try not to bring your laptop with you on your lunch break as it will make it more difficult to not allow work to slip into your lunch time.

Another idea is to exercise before work possibly in the time you would use to commute beforehand. Make sure to take stretching breaks throughout the day, an Apple watch can be helpful for this.

Keep in touch with colleagues

Stay in touch

Make sure to use tools such as Slack, Zoom, Facetime, or RingCentral to keep in touch with your colleagues during the day so as to not feel isolated.

A chatroom is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your team, you can keep in on another monitor or open the tab in between tasks throughout the course of the day.

 

Finally, noise-canceling headphones can be GOLD !

Noise canceling

If there are noisy distractions at your home during the day such as family, neighbors with a leafblower, or other noisy distractions noise-canceling headphones are worth their weight in gold. I find over the ear headphones are more comfortable to wear throughout the workday.