The Ultimate Guide to Working From Home
Even before the global pandemic made working from home temporarily routine for millions, increasing numbers of people had been saying goodbye to their onerous commute to work. Thanks to ever-evolving technologies like Skype, Facetime, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, authenticator apps, and cloud computing
—not to mention texting and email—it’s no longer necessary to be in an office full-time to be a productive member of the team. In fact, many kinds of work can be done just as effectively, if not more so, from a home office.
As appealing as remote work is to employees, it wouldn’t be such a strong trend if employers didn’t also recognize benefits from their side of the desk. Companies with work-from-anywhere policies can boost employee productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, according to recent research at Harvard Business School.1
2 Telecommuting workers with very complex jobs who don’t require a lot of collaboration or social support can perform better than their office-based counterparts, according to another study.3 Also, in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, a distributed workforce is in a better position to keep operations running, even if some of the group goes offline.
- For employers working from home can boosts productivity, reduce turnover, and reduce organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and the lack of commute.
- To work effectively from home you need to make sure you have the technology you require, a separate workspace. Internet service that meets your need. A workable schedule you can stick to, and ways to connect to others.
- Top fields for remote work include computers and IT, education and training, and healthcare; positions include customer service reps, virtual assistants, data entry and transcription, teachers, and more.
- A variety of top firms, including Amazon, Dell, Humana, Kaplan, and Salesforce, offer remote work opportunities, but it’s also important to be aware of scams.
How to Work Effectively From Home
Whether you’re working remotely one day per week (or more) or full-time—by choice or because of a health situation or weather event—it’s important to ensure that you are set up to be productive. This includes having a designated workspace with the right technology; ways of dealing with kids, pets, and other potential disruptions; and a schedule that allows for the social contact and stimulation that ordinarily comes from being in a workplace with others. Here are strategies and tips to be successful as a remote worker.
Know the ground rules
Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats, or Trello for project management? If you work for someone else, it’s important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication. Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede your work. If you wor for your self, you may need many of the same tools
Set up a functional workspace
Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.
Get the internet bandwidth you need
If you have kids, their Factiming and Xbox habits may slow down your connection bandwidth consequently reduce your download speeds. Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help (devices that are distant tend to draw on bandwidth), or you can consider switching to an Ethernet cable connected directly to your router. You’ll likely need a USB dongle since some laptops don’t have Ethernet ports these days, plus an Ethernet patch cord to get connected to your router. Wondering if your most-used website is down? Check isitdownrightnow.com
, which monitors key websites and services to see if they are working.
Use phone apps
If your job involves making long-distance and/or international calls, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype all let you call over the internet across the globe on the cheap. And if you and the person you’re calling are on the same service, the call will be free.
If you have a barking dog or a jack-hammering worker outside your windows, consider investing in noise-canceling headphones, such as Apple’s AirPod Pros. And if the kids are home and you’re without childcare (say during the summer or natural emergency), see if you and your spouse (or a neighbor in a similar situation) can take turns with care-which may mean you have to talk to your manager about working evening hours.
Plan extra social interactions.
Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours. It can get lonely. Be ready for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch date (even if you take it at 3 PM), a video chat with a friend, or an exercise class.