As the #covid19 crisis takes more control of our lives, I am hearing about more and more friends and colleagues that have been told to work from home. Not everyone has followed that work style for sustained periods of time so I thought that I would give my top tips for making the most of it. I have worked remotely for about half of my career so far, including 14 years of living in the French Alps while working for US-based technology companies.
Here is some of what I have learned:
1. Set up and keep to some sort of routine so that you know when you're working and when you're not and so do those around you. I recommend getting up and ready to go at the same time each morning as if you were going to the office so that you can..
2. Use the time regained from your commute to meditate, plan, write, read, talk, learn, chat, exercise, stretch.
3. Conference calls tend to be focused and the normal, in-person, social interactions disappear so make sure to keep up social interaction, albeit digitally, so that you minimise the impact of fewer real-time and face-to-face interactions over the course of the day.
4. Make sure to get out during the day; walk the dog, go for a coffee, take a bike ride. It's easy to spend 10 hours at your desk and not move enough.
5. Plan your work and work your plan. It's even more important when working from home because the distractions can creep up on you; you start to hang that picture in the hall and that turns into a tidy-up project. 90 minutes goes by before you realise that you have the next call starting in 5.
Working from home can be very rewarding and productive but it does require an adjustment in your approach to how you work and especially in how you interact with your professional world.