As a writer in the technology sector, I’m very accustomed to the advantages and convenience of working at home (a.k.a., WAH). In fact, for the last several years my schedule has been to work at home in the morning, taking calls and meetings with colleagues located all over the world, and then to commute to the office for the afternoon. It’s been a wonderful and flexible schedule.
Sheltering in place and COVID-19 has changed everything. For the past 2 1/2 months I have been working at home exclusively, along with everyone else. My employer has let us know that most of us will probably continue to work at home through the end of the year, with offices opening at reduced capacity for essential business or productivity reasons only. This is out of an abundance of caution for employee health and safety (and because it seems to be working).
Some best practices for working at home:
- Home Office Dedicate a room or corner of a room to be your office. When you’re in this space, you’re working. Keep it generally clean and uncluttered except for objects that inspire.
- Tool Up Make sure you have the equipment and internet connection you need. Your company may be able to help. Know who to contact for IT help.
- Dress for Success Take care of yourself, dress for work, comb your hair, wear makeup. Even if nobody sees you, it inspires confidence and competence within yourself, and conveys professionalism when you interact online.
- Take Breaks Get up and move around during the work day, and take a lunch break. Do something different. Get some exercise and fresh air. Just because you can work straight through for 12 hours, doesn’t mean you should.
- Stay Social Take regular social breaks – you’re wired for people. Send a text, pick up the phone, or schedule a social call via Zoom, Skype, or Teams. Stay connected to your friends and family, as well as your professional network.
Now that I know the situation is semi-permanent, I plan to make the most of the experience. It’s easy to end up working long hours (a couple extra hours are freed up from commuting and long lunches), but maybe it is better to devote that extra time to learning, dreaming, and creating instead.