Following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy’s wide path of destruction, many people had no choice but to work virtually … provided, of course, that their homes and/or neighborhoods had power and an internet connection.
According to an article published in Quartz on Monday, large banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are instructing their employees to continue to work from home until they can safely return to their offices (many offices are located in Zone A and bore the brunt of the floods). Friends and colleagues have texted me or posted on Facebook and LinkedIn that they, too, have been told to work virtually. One friend wrote this morning, Still no power in lower Manhattan, working from home, I’m wearing a robe for the “office”. I’m sure she is not alone!
So for those of you who are reading this in the comfort of your own home, here are 10 tips for a successful home-work experience:
Top 10 keys to working effectively at home:
- Start your day on the right foot. That means – eat breakfast, change from pajamas to comfortable work clothes and get rid of potential distractions.
- Establish a routine with regular hours, including time out for lunch and a break, if you need it.
- Set aside a dedicated work space with all the equipment you need to get work done. A computer, phone, printer and fax are a given. BUT, you will also need paper, ink cartridges (you’ll be surprised how quickly these need to be replaced, even in a “paperless” environment), and a pen.
- Create boundaries and close the door. Keep distractions to a minimum. Make sure to let others know that you are working. Your space should be relatively free from distractions such as family, pets, home telephone, TV, even an attractive view if you are new to telecommuting.
- Stay organized and keep your work area clean.
- Many home workers spend too much time staring at their computer screen, which can decrease overall productivity. Take breaks throughout the day, including a regular lunch (at any time you want – no one is watching!). Stand up and walk around periodically.
- Have a reliable phone system and conferencing tools. Phone conversations, conference calls, and voice mails are three critical tools in your ‘work from home’ toolbox. These tools allow you to inject tone into your communications, something that email and Instant Messaging (IM) lack.
- Develop strong work relationships with team members to help overcome the lack of face-to-face communication which offers a greater context for understanding.
- Track your work progress.
- Ask for help or input if you sense you are going off-track.
Knowing that many readers are interested in further resources, I am enclosing additional sources for you. Hope they help make your virtual workdays productive and pleasant.
Additional Resources & References
- A Wall Street Guide to Working From Home During Hurricane Sandy, Kevin Roose, NY Magazine
- The Work at Home Woman, Holly Reisem Hanna
- Home Office Expert, Lisa Kanarek
- Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, Lynn Taylor
- How To Succeed At Working From Home, Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes
- Work from Home Successfully, Regis Hadiaris, Working Smarter
- Top 30 Tips for Staying Productive and Sane While Working From Home, Tip Sheet: How To Successfully Work From Home (Infographic), Zenhabits
- 14 Tips for Working from Home, Mary Sherwood Sevinsky, Careerealism