Working from home – what you need to know

If you’re working remotely, then you’ll understand just how important it is to have the right set up for when you’re working from home/a remote location. By having an appropriate set up you’re removing possible barriers to working effectively from home. There’s a presumption that if you’re working from home that you may be ‘slacking off’ and I do not agree with that statement as I think it tars many hard working people with a ‘lazy’ brush.

What does a good set up look like?

  • Headset / comfortable headset with a microphone
    • Make sure that you try on a few different ones as they can fit differently and one might be more comfortable around your ears. I’d also recommend making sure that the connection will work with your laptop
  • Desk (either standing or at the right height for you)
    • I’d strongly recommend a desk where you can adjust the height to allow yourself some versatility during your work day
  • A comfortable chair
    • If you’re working from home, you need to be comfortable and to make sure that your back is supported. This is one thing to not scrimp on
  • Quiet location
    • This is critical. It doesn’t matter if you can work in noise, the people that you’re talking to during calls will not be able to hear you and the background noise
  • Stable, fast internet
    • This is another critical thing to have when you’re working remotely. This is not just needed for calls but for working in documents online and using the same tools ‘live’
  • Water
    • The benefits of being well hydrated are well known and numerous. It’s important to not forget to keep drinking water (and not just coffee/tea/coke)
  • Technology
    • Make sure that you have enough/big enough monitors, docking station, keyboard etc.

IMG_2046An example of a good work from home set up.

What else is good to have?

  • Timezone converter:
    • If you’re working with teams in other time zones; having a timezone converter or clocks available so you can see the time in the respective time zone.
  • Adequate lighting
    • If you’re staring at a screen for hours at a time, you need to make sure that you’ve got suitable lighting so you’re not straining your eyes
  • Additional Screens
    • Most of us use laptops in our daily job and it can be useful to have additional screens to be able to work more efficiently and work in various programs at the same time

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What does remote working entail?

Working remotely can be very lonely if you’re doing it for long periods of time. There are differences between working for one day a week at home and working permanently but there are few rules regardless:

  • Discipline
    • You need to be disciplined and not use the excuse to sit and watch TV, do housework or other errands. If you’re working, then you’re working.
    • This also applies in the other direction. Working from home also means that you need to remember to take breaks and not just work solidly through the day
  • Loneliness
    • It can be very isolating and lonely working from home so if you find that you’re getting lonely, then I’d suggest you look at making some ‘office’ time or plan some time to get out of the house during your breaks to connect with people
  • Frustration
    • When you’re in another location to your team and things are becoming stressful it can be very easy to get frustrated with your team or alternatively with the lack of communication
  • Communication
    • Working remotely means that you need to make an anxious effort to ensure that the communication lines between you and your team remain open and you attempt to communicate more rather than less

Tips for working remotely:

There are a few ‘rules’ that I have for working from home and it’s helped me become more efficient and use my time the best.

  • Have your working space in a quiet location
  • Make sure that anyone around you (family members etc) understand that you’re working and that you should not be disturbed. Working in a different room with a door can help with this
  • Just like at work, set yourself time limits for activities and stick to it
  • Use your instant messenger and make sure that your status is always accurate
  • Make sure that you make an effort for the time onsite with your team and ensure that you’re onsite on a regular basis

Working from home can provide a lot of benefits to your project. From giving you a dedicated ‘quiet’ zone to focus on a topic or alternatively work through confidential meetings knowing that you cannot be overheard.

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