7 Tips to Make Working From Home More Effective!
July 18, 2014 | POSTED BY Jodie Paradis
Working From Home: Time-saver (and Potentially Even Life-saver!)
Authored by Henry Cheang
As technology and society evolves, so too do our notions regarding the workplace. This is true for most jobs, but it’s especially true for white-collar work. A case in point is Bombardier’s recent decision to cut costs related to business travel by replacing it with videoconferencing whenever feasible. However, technological enhancements/adaptations of the workplace isn’t always about immediately-tangible impact on the bottom line. It can often be about improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and morale of employees – even as you reduce commuting times and improving the company’s carbon footprints.
Conference call – work from home
This is one of the key lines of thinking underlying working from home. Living in Montreal – a phenomenally-wonderful city that’s also infamous for its abrupt shifts in weather AND terrible driving conditions – working from home has been a serious time-saver (and potential life-saver) many a time already. From a personal standpoint, the most dangerous part of getting to work has been the commute (seriously, the number of road incidents that I’ve witnessed or to which I’ve actually fallen victim is pretty bad…).
Now, I don’t frequently work from home, but it happens often enough. When it does, it’s quite productive! That said, working from home has its own drawbacks, especially if you don’t do it regularly. Here are suggestions for getting around some of the more major downsides that face folks who only work at home now and again. Basically, this is how I make working from home more effective. Enjoy!
Workarounds for Pitfalls
1) Have your home set up for telework.
- I know that this seems obvious, but I’ve known enough people who have managed to wreck their work-at-home sessions by not having properly planned ahead. Often, it’s due to them forgetting important documents, but even more frequently, it’s because they somehow managed to not configure their home workstations. Do yourselves a favour: If you know that you need to do remote collaboration or videoconferencing, take the time out to set it up in advance!
2) Have a structured plan and schedule, and stick to it!
- I get it: It’s hard to have the regimented and familiar work structure at home. After all, your boss isn’t physically there to check on you periodically (well, at least I hope that s/he’s not there looking over your shoulder!). And home is supposed to be where you relax – the fridge and television are probably calling out to you every second. The thing is, you can overcome that if you have enough discipline to set serious, structured goals for the day right at the outset. Set those in stone, and you should be able to avoid the reduced productivity that comes from having to ward off too many distractions.
3) Start early.
- My best thinking and work come right after I’ve gotten up and eaten breakfast. It’s pretty intuitive, really – you just had the longest span of (hopefully) refreshing sleep in your daily cycle, and you just refilled your proverbial gas tank. Why wouldn’t you be at your best at this point? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ll be able to make up for a morning spent relaxing by working harder in the afternoon and evening – under that arrangement, you’ve just spent your best hours on play.
4) Don’t work where you sleep.
- This has more to do with what happens after you finish work. A lot of people end up having problems sleeping after working in bed for sustained periods. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but I believe it stems from context-dependent memory – you’ve come to associate bed with work and not with rest.
5) Take breaks.
- Take advantage of the fact that you’re actually working where all your “toys” are. You don’t want to abuse them, obviously, but allowing yourself the luxury of enjoying your fun, shiny gizmos can go a long way toward making your work more efficiently. I mean, wouldn’t you work faster if you knew a bigger reward was forthcoming? That said…
6) Shut out and off distractions.
- Do be disciplined. When you are working, turn off everything that’s not necessary to your work. For most of us, we don’t need to keep Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. on in the background while we work.
7) Don’t forget to check in with coworkers (and/or your boss)!
- You have your individually-assigned tasks. But you’re not an island. Do make sure that you touch base when you’ve reached certain project goalposts. Verify that you’re on course. You don’t want to waste the day’s work on something that you weren’t supposed to do! Videoconferencing and collaboration makes it quick and easy for your coworkers to not just look over your work, but to annotate and modify as needed.
These were all situations that I’ve run up against over the years, and those were my solutions that worked best for me. I hope it was helpful!
In the meantime, if you need help in configuring remote workstations and collaboration for your employees, contact us at CBCI Telecom! We are the premier experts in videoconferencing and telework in Canada, and we’d be delighted in helping your staff be the most productive work-at-home employees possible!