by Michael Williams
Before I opened the Kalamazoo office, I worked from home for more than a year. Lots of people are now learning what it’s like to do that. Here are some tips from my time “teleworking” before it was cool or mandated by law.
1. Dress for success. The best work isn’t done in jammies. Even if you’re not going to wear a suit just to sit in your home office, you’ll at least want to dress semi-professionally to get your mind in the right place.
2. Find your space. If at all possible, create a dedicated work space that can be shut off from the rest of the house. This one is especially important if you’ve got kids at home and you’re not the primary caregiver. A comfortable chair and an actual desk–in an office with a door that closed–changed everything for me. Although the guy in the picture above looks happy, I’ll bet you that he’s not very productive.
3. Take a break. If possible, get out of the house for just a little while during the day. It’s not possible to go much of anywhere during the self-quarantine that many are undergoing, but a walk around the block (while staying 6 feet away from people) will be a lifesaver.
4. Get yourself a good webcam. I hated video conferencing until I worked from home. It was a great way to connect (once you get past the initial 10 minutes of “Is this thing on?” from your less tech savvy colleagues). While you’re at it, try to “hard connect” yourself to your internet connection–rather than relying on wireless–so that the webcam and other tools, like remote connect, will work better.
5. Find helpful tools. If you don’t have a scanner at home, Adobe Scan will turn your phone into one. If you don’t have a fax machine, tools like RingCentral have built in fax functions. Instant messaging tools can simulate office chatter–if you want it. Make use of them.
6. Keep it separate. You probably know that you need to stay away from the TV and try not to do chores during the day. The work day is for work. But I was surprised to find that it was sometimes hard to walk away from work at the end of the day when I was working and living in the same place. Call an end to the work day. Spend time with your family. Take advantage of all that time that you’re saving on your commute.
It takes a little patience to get used to working from home. But it’s doable! Good luck, and I’ll see you back the office.