Here’s how to make working from home, work! 

In an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, more and more employers are closing their offices and asking their employees to work from home. In times like these, social distancing is crucial to containing contagious infections like Covid-19, and in the last few weeks remote working has become the new normal. However, although working from home seems like the dream way to get work done, it does present challenges you may not have previously considered.  

This week, DefinedCrowd temporarily closed its offices and requested that all employees work from home. We are now a fully remote organization and we see each other only via Microsoft Teams. And although we generally embrace a flexible work culture and remote working, it is unusual for us to be 100% remote. To help our colleagues work as effectively as possible from home, we’ve put together 8 top tips that we’d like to share with you. 

Get into a routine 

Have a shower and get dressed. Although working in your pajamas all day sounds fun, you will soon start to feel lazy and a bit too relaxed. Humans love routine and it’s important to create a schedule and stick to it, just like you would when going into the office. Creating a schedule will also help you stop working when you should. When your living room becomes your office, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working late. You shouldn’t. Stick to your working hours and do something to close off the day (try going for a walk or call a friend).

Make a dedicated work area 

Keeping your work and home life separate when you go into the office is relatively easy. However, it becomes more difficult when you’re working from your couch, which is why it’s important to create a dedicated work area for yourself. Creating such an area lets you figuratively and literally close the door on your work day when you are done.  

Replicate your office tech 

Make your workspace as comfortable as possible. If you work with two screens at the office, ask your IT department if you can take the screens home with you. To be truly productive, set yourself up so that your home environment is as close to your work environment as possible.

Over communicate 

When you’re working at the office, you are surrounded by people and have access to a lot of information. Asking someone a work-related question is as easy as turning to your colleague and opening your mouth. However, when you work from home, you have less information and can feel isolated. That’s why over-communication is so important.  

If you’re going to take a quick walk around the block, let your colleagues know. If you want to have a conversation with someone, video call them so that you can see each other’s facial expressions and body language. It’s easy to misconstrue an email or instant message, which is why face-to-face communication is so important.  

Promote a digital company culture  

There is a difference between general remote working and enforced remote working during a public health crisis. During more normal times, schools and cafes remain open, allowing remote workers to socialize and work from different locations. In a state of alert or emergency, remote working takes on a different feel: schools close, restaurants close and everyone is required to stay at home. This is when many people will experience loneliness and isolation. 

Creating a digital company culture during these times is a good way to keep these negative emotions at bay. Think of creating a digital space that works as a virtual water cooler; somewhere where colleagues can share jokes, updates, high-fives, gossip, news, or personal interests.  

Take breaks 

Breaks are incredibly important for mental and physical well-being. When you’re at the office, you’ll take walks to the kitchen to make coffee, chat to a colleague about weekend plans or pop out for lunch. Do the same while at home: take a walk around the block if you can, phone a friend, or just take a moment to relax with a cup of tea.  

Exercise 

The health benefits of exercise are well documented. Regularly increasing your heart rate with exercise will make you happier, healthier and increase your energy levels. Basically, all the things you need during this time of stress and isolation!  

Reuse your commute time 

Your daily commute can easily take up an hour of your day. Now that you don’t have to commute, think of ways to spend the time. Practice a language, learn the guitar, or take an online course. This is the perfect opportunity to do all the things you’ve never had time for before.  

Facing the challenge of forced remote working

DefinedCrowd has always placed value on creating a results-driven culture. We don’t worry about where the work is being done, or indeed where; rather we focus on giving our employees the flexibility they need to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Of course, with over 250 employees around the world, remote working has proven to be of enormous value.  

However, Covid-19 has posed some unique challenges that not many businesses have had to face in the past.  Although many high-tech companies embrace remote working, we are at a point where everyone is working remotely, while also being forced to stay at home. In situations like this, it’s important to maintain a routine, communicate with colleagues more than ever before and take steps to keep ourselves and others engaged and motivated. 

Stay healthy!