As a virtual assistant, I do a lot of working from home as well as having an office. It’s handy, I have a dedicated space, no commute. But I have to say when I first faced working from home all week, it was daunting.
Because of the outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus) a lot of people will be being asked to work from home for the first time, which can be daunting.
So here’s my top tips for home working:
- Make sure IT have set you up – You may need external passwords, or security settings to access files or email from an outside network.
- Put the radio on – Talk radio is good, this is your new office banter. (The good news: as the sole occupant of your office, you choose the station!).
- Set up a Skype Chat or Slack message board – To keep in contact with colleagues and quickly check stuff.
- Get outside – Seems counterproductive, but being stuck indoors all day will drive you crazy. Plus staying healthy involves some exercise and fresh air, which you don’t naturally do if you are working from home, so put it in your schedule!
- Proper chair – Sofa slumping may seem decadent… It won’t after a whole day. Set up a proper office chair and table, making sure your seat height and monitor height is properly adjusted. Your back will thank me!
- Don’t cancel meetings – Have them on Zoom / Skype or simply do a phone meeting using conference call dial-ins.
- The house will be messier – It’s getting more use. Try and limit discarded coffee cups and make a habit of doing a quick tidy up @ 5pm.
- Working elsewhere – If you are working from coffee shops or near family/friends, make sure your security is still good. Don’t have confidential phonecalls in public. Ensure you have a VPN on any devices accessing external connections. Be aware of who can see your screen. Consider locking your laptop away when not in use (or at least moving it out of the way of likely spills!).
- Resist the temptation to “talk at” other humans – Guilty as charged! You may well pounce on other family members who have been out at work all day to get your fix of social interaction – try and resist this (well, at least until they’ve sat down!).
- New rule: Working 9-5 – If other members of your household are also working from home, have a rule not to interrupt each other.