The first thing we must consider is why have you been sent home. If you are sick and you are using your sick days and you really are sick then rest and get better. The Two Bloke’s Talking Tech podcast is a great listen if you are after some mild entertainment and every so often they mention some great Netflix recommendations etc.
Ok for the rest of you this is not a free holiday. Understand this – If the economy slows down we will go into recession. If this happens lots of businesses go bust and lots of organisations reduce staff which means you may be out of a job. Think of the coffee shop who doesn’t get your business today because you are working from home.
So the number one thing you do when working from home is work hard and do what you can to help your organisation continue to be successful. Number 2 is keep spending money. If you are earning it keep spending it as this is what makes the economy keep turning. This crisis will end and your efforts now will put everyone in a better position latter on.
The LifeStyler worked from home for about 8 years so he has had a bit of experience doing it. He worked for large multinationals and to be honest was much more efficient than having to drive to the office every day. So some tips on how to do it:
- Set clear guidelines of when you will work and when you will have breaks. If you work 9 to 5 then work 9 to 5. If you normally take a 1 hour lunch break then during this 1 hour you have to opportunity to do other stuff like household chores. (Not any different from going shopping in your lunch hour)
- Hardware you need will include a computer and possibly a phone line. I say might need a phone line because you will probably use voice over the internet vs a phone line but if your connection speed is slow you may be best using a mobile or fixed line phone. If you are doing lots of phone calls a headset is useful with a use connection into your computer. Worst case scenario just use the speaker and microphone built into your laptop.
- Security. Working from home means you are no longer protected by a fancy firewall within your normal place of business. The simplest solution here is to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. Put simply this is a way for your PC at home to securely connect to your office environment and act as if you were sitting in your office. You should talk to your IT department if you need to know more. If you don’t have this then just be extra careful with what data you send and receive and how you do it. I big tip is don’t send customer data by unsecured email.
- Collaboration. There is lots of software packages available to do this and hopefully your organisation already has this in place. At its simplest you need skype. Ultimately if you can conference call, share documents and view presentations together you are good. Live messaging is also good as it helps you understand if someone is available to chat or to at least send a quick text message to. Also now is not the time to be protective of availability in your diary rather make sure your colleagues can see when you are available to meet!
- Communication. There are many water cooler conversations that are no longer going to occur so you need to replace this with many fixed teleconferences (appointments in your diary) or just chats over the phone. Having those virtual chats seems strange at first but quickly evolve into the norm.
- Exercise. You will find you don’t move around a lot so ensure you do still stay healthy. As between having a well-stocked fridge and no longer walking as much you will soon ad a few pounds. Go for a 20 min walk before after work or maybe at lunch time.
- Attitude. Be positive, work hard and look for ways to make the whole experience work the best possible way for everyone. Who knows if we all prove working from home works we might get more flexibility in the future.
Keep healthy, wash your hands and keep spending – Cheers!