I’m an old hand at working from home since I’ve been “remotely located” since 1999. Let me give you some tips on the subject. Here are my Top 10 Tips for Working from Home:
1. Keep Office and Home Separate
If you are just now experiencing the joys of working from home, you may not have a good workspace. My advice: make one. If you have a separate room available, claim it as your office and set up a desk, an office chair, and WiFi. The kitchen table may serve for a couple of hours but cannot work for all-day/everyday use. A separate room will help immensely with some of the other tips on this list as well.
2. Keep Your Routine
It’s very tempting to jump straight out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and turn on the computer. My advice: don’t. Use the same routine that you use when you go to the office. Plan your day, talk with your family, make coffee, take a shower, get dressed, whatever else you do before you normally leave home. When you get to the home office, try to maintain the same hours that you do when going to the office.
3. Be Flexible
Over the years, I’ve got a lot of grief from my office-bound colleagues. “Shirking from home eh? (wink, nod)” “Wish I had a ‘job’ like yours.”
There’s often a sentiment that working from home means not working. In truth, just the opposite is true. This study indicates that home workers are more productive than office-bound workers. Why? In my experience, there are far fewer distractions. But in the current situation, even many of us seasoned remote workers have “extra coworkers” who are unexpectedly at home and need to be attended to. So figure out a schedule that works for you, where you are responsive, consistent, and transparent. If you are trying to balance childcare and conference calls, for example, schedule a routine block of time for the kids to do online learning courses and try to cluster meetings during that block. If you need to save independent project work for the evenings after the kids are in bed, schedule it in – leave the “office” at a consistent time and log back in at a consistent time to wrap up. Of course, clear any schedule changes with your boss (and communicate them to your teams and household members as well).
4. Take Breaks
This one is extremely important, and I must remind myself of this on a constant basis. Schedule time on your calendar to get up, stretch, leave the office area. Don’t eat your lunch in front of your screen. Get some fresh air. Take advantage of online exercise options. Your mind (and body) will thank you.
5. Consult with Others
It can seem very lonely when you work from home. I tend to forget that I’m not the only one responsible for getting things done. I sometimes try to tackle team projects by myself, or make decisions alone that are best done with teamwork. It’s better to develop a draft, then meet with appropriate team members to discuss better solutions.
6. Toot Your Horn
Let others know what you’re doing, and not just at evaluation time. By keeping a regular conversation going with your supervisor and team, you are getting “mindshare” and won’t be forgotten. If you manage others, try to build in opportunities to share what they’re working on outside of immediate stakeholders.
7. Invest in Quality Home Office Equipment
Whether it’s a stand-up desk, or swivel chair with arms, make sure you can work comfortably. Nothing saps concentration like a kink in your neck because of poor posture from sitting in lopsided chair.
8. Maintain Social Links
Working from home can be lonely, as you miss the daily water cooler chats. Set reminders to have regular chats with coworkers but DO NOT DISCUSS BUSINESS during these informal chats. Build in time for team socialization at the beginning or end of meetings, and schedule voice calls in additional to emails. If you have a webcam and your corporate bandwidth supports it, use it for meetings whenever possible.
9. Shut Down at the End of the Day
When you leave the office, leave the office. Keep work time as work time and off time as off time. While this is easier said than done, having “disconnected” times of family bonding will help you ease stress and maintain necessary boundaries.
10. Laugh a Little
In these times, it’s inevitable that meetings will be interrupted by small voices, pets, and other unexpected intrusions. Be understanding, compassionate, and above all, try to laugh a little as we all try to get stuff done during uncertain times. If you need a smile, check out this collection of pets who are suddenly dealing with their owners working from home.
If you need help accessing Solid Edge or require additional support for remote work, please refer to the resources in this recent blog post or contact your support partner.