Tips for working from home

Working remotely was already becoming increasingly common when the coronavirus arrived in the US. Now, in an effort to reduce the transmission of this highly contagious virus, many companies have introduced additional work from home flexibility or even required employees to stay away from the workplace.

Here are some tips to make working from home as successful as possible.

  1. Check your technology – Working remotely requires the right technology to keep you connected and productive. Ensure you have sufficient internet speed — you can test it using a free site like speedtest.net. If it’s not as fast as you’d like, try to reduce the demand on your connection by limiting internet use to business purposes only. If you’re able to connect using a wired internet connection, that will be faster than Wi-Fi. If necessary, minimize the use of video during conference calls, since it uses more network bandwidth than audio-only. Consider connecting a larger monitor to your laptop, if needed for your job.
  2. Create an appropriate work space – It may be tempting to get comfortable on the couch and work from your lap, but you should set up a work space that will keep your body supported. Find a desk or table in a part of your home that has the fewest distractions. Select a chair that supports your back and allows you to sit with feet flat on the floor, knees and elbows bent at about 90 degrees. Position your computer screen so you can view it with your head in a neutral position, not tilted up or down.
  3. Set a routine – While working from home gives you more flexibility to juggle household and occupational responsibilities throughout the day, try to follow your normal work routine. Start your work day at your usual time, take a lunch break when you normally would, try to fit in an afternoon walk or some other form of physical activity, and stop working when you would typically leave the office. When working from home, it can be harder to set clear work-life boundaries, so it’s important to keep a balance to manage your stress and protect your well-being.
  4. Keep in touch – The key to working from home successfully is to over-communicate. Without visual contact on a daily basis, it’s important to let your manager and your coworkers know what you’re doing. Even if you usually communicate by email, pick up the phone and call your colleagues for a more personal chat from time to time. Don’t let yourself become isolated, since that can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and fatigue. And be sure your colleagues have a way of getting in touch with you. Update your home and/or mobile phone numbers in the company’s HR system and include your preferred phone number in your email signature to make it easy for people to reach you.

Sources: “Tips for working from home during the coronavirus pandemic,” www.cbsnews.com, March 16, 2020; “How to Work Remotely, and Successfully,” www.theladders.com, September 14, 2016; “Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics,” www.spine-health.com, December 4, 2013; “Working remotely: what you need to know,” March & McLennan Companies Global Technology Infrastructure, March 16, 2020.