Z. Top Five Tips for Working from Home
You can either be a chink in the chain or strengthen the link. We're all connected on this chain for the economy and with a pandemic virus now in effect most companies are going to remote working. I'm afraid this is going to be a time where decisions aren't going to be made and people/business won't be productive.
Is working from home effective? What can you do so that in 6, 12 or 18 months we mitigate the effect on the economy? I worked from home successfully for many years, built companies, negotiated and closed large deals but I took specific measures to ensure I was successful while working from home. Most of these tips take discipline and well, I've written about discipline in the past so you just have to have it or get it.
Here are my tips to see success when working from home:
1. Just getting it out there that if you can have a separate office in a room not used for anything else it helps very much. Not everyone has this I understand but I was fortunate that I had a separate room as an office and I always closed the door. Yes, I know that not everyone can do this but if you can it helps immensely. I always kept the area I worked in tidy since having a cluttered work area may affect your performance.
2. I always wore at least jeans and a collared shirt when working from home. Many studies have been done in seeing how an individual dresses affects their performance in the office and in negotiations. One good one here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dress-for-success-how-clothes-influence-our-performance/
I didn't always wear a button down but I didn't allow myself to wear t-shirts and shorts. It took discipline but after a few days it became habit and I truly believe this was a reason I saw success.
3. On schedule- Create a schedule to follow for each day and have it out in front of you. If you take time to write down your schedule you'll be more likely to follow it. The bigger picture here is to try to take as many of your normal office routines into your whole office life.
4. One of my former bosses gave me the nickname, Comms. He was after all an Army helicopter pilot so many people got nicknames. See, I was working from home and the main office was in another state. I didn't have a land line at the house so all calls were from my mobile phone. At the time I had chosen Sprint as my wireless carrier and they were awful!!!! Almost every call dropped and when you're working on six and seven figure sponsorship deals that can be, well, ummm, slightly frustrating. Needless to say after many mildly verbal assaults (being sarcastic here, I yelled my head off) to Sprint I dumped them for another carrier. Ensure you have consistent, reliable, high quality communications, internet and phone service. You might have to spend a little more to speed up your internet depending on how much traffic you deal with but it's worth it.
5. Take quality breaks- Schedule in your breaks and take a walk around the block or get some eye relief by sitting outside. What about a mid day jog? 20 minutes would work. I firmly believe many of the best ideas for work will come during exercise or showering. As a matter of fact, almost every one of the writings on this site has an idea that came to me while running.
Working from home is different and while I have both worked in an office for many years and from home I do believe people are more productive in an office. But, for now this is where we are and more importantly I hope you are safe, healthy and productive. Don't be a chink in the chain. Get to work, get results.