As COVID-19, frequently referred to as the Coronavirus, continues to rapidly spread across the nations, more companies and countries are immediately feeling the impact. To help reduce the spread of the disease, many companies across the SA are taking action by allowing their employees to safely work from home and practice social distancing.
However, this option comes as a challenge for many organizations that have never facilitated their employees working from home before. As a digital marketing agency, we’re here to assure you that remote working can be done easily and effectively. We know that the uncertainty around this pandemic can cause increased anxiety, but working from home should help ease concerns, rather than increase them. We’re here to help put your minds at ease and offer best practices for working from home that can be shared with your coworkers.
Treat It Like a Normal Day In the Office
Many organizations may never have provided work from home flexibility until now, so this is a new experience for a lot of people. For those who are used to remote work but default to working in public spaces such as local coffee shops and cafes, it may be just as much of a transition to set up a home office as for those new to the experience altogether. It’s important to establish where you can be the most productive and to define a work schedule that you can stick to. Choose which area of your home where you can get undistracted heads-down time and treat it like a regular office day. Take all your necessary breaks and be sure to log off your computer once your workday has been completed.
Utilize Proper Tools for Working From Home
Communication is a vital part of working from home. It’s important to have access to your team members and be able to maintain regularly scheduled meetings. Messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams are easily downloadable and are helpful for staying in touch with your internal teams. Additionally, video conference tools such as Google Meet, Zoom, and GoToMeeting can be used to have face time with your team members and to connect for regularly scheduled meetings. Video conference tools are also a great way to discuss projects, ask questions plus more in real time — not to mention you can do so wearing pajamas!
Make Sure You Have the Proper Equipment and Ergonomic Setup
It’s important to make sure you have all the proper equipment needed to successfully do your job without causing physical harm. If you have small children, roommates, or other family members at home with you during the day, make sure you have a headset or a pair of earbuds available to attend conference calls with minimal background noise. Also, make sure you have access to the proper work servers and grab all chargers, notepads, laptop, vital passwords, team member’s cell numbers, etc. from the office so you are organized and prepared for future workdays. Take the extra time you need to set up a space that meets basic ergonomic requirements in order to avoid unnecessary strain to your neck, wrists, back, and more.
Plan Ahead for Possible Workday Hurdles
Many SA businesses have closed their doors, including schools and universities. We know that many parents working from home may also be juggling the schedules of small children. We recommend mirroring a consistent daycare or school schedule for children that includes breakfast time, play time, learning and activities, lunch, naptime, etc. We also understand that it may be difficult for children to remain productive during this time, so implementing a system where they can be rewarded for a job well done can also help with daily tasks. Plus, not leaving your laptop unattended could also be a big help!
As for yourself, make sure you over communicate with your supervisors if you experience any hurdles juggling your own work while also maintaining your children’s schedules. Don’t stress yourself out about screen time, don’t guilt yourself over their snack choices, don’t get overwhelmed with missed lesson plans or unmotivated little ones. Lean into whatever makes sense for your children and allows you the mental and emotional space to be okay. Remember, you’re doing great!
Relax. Don’t Resort to Panicking
This pandemic is unprecedented in our modern time and the uncertainty surrounding it can be disconcerting at best. However, we strongly recommend taking active steps to remain calm. We will get through this. Try your best to do small activities throughout the day that take your mind off the madness and make you feel good, such as meditation, yoga, home workouts, fun mobile games or even a quick walk outside.
Additionally, it’s important to remember to not overwork yourself. Working from home does mean work, but it’s not synonymous with “no breaks.” Communicate with your teams when you’ll be “away from your desk” and take the proper time you need to perform at your best. Communication is ultimately key and helps establish a line of trust between yourself, teammates, and your employer.