Like so many other companies across the country, AIFP has adopted a new remote work policy in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. If you’re new to working remotely, you’ll want to check out these working from home tips for success so that you can be as productive as possible while you’re away from the office.
One of the biggest differences between working from home vs. working in an office is the actual workspace. You might not realize it, but your brain can be easily trained to act a certain way when you’re in a certain environment. So, if you’re trying to do work in the spot on the couch where you usually binge your favorite Netflix show, you may find yourself having problems focusing.
That’s why if you want to know to how to be productive working from home, you have to start by setting up a home office for remote work. While you don’t need to recreate every aspect of your workspace in the office, creating a designated workspace in a comfortable, quiet room can make all the difference in productivity. Whether it’s a card table in the corner of the basement or a complete home office set-up, make sure you have a specific place to spend your workday.
Since you’re completely without your regular office routine when working remotely, organization is absolutely key to being productive while working from home. Start with the low-tech. Make sure your workspace has file boxes or folders to organize loose papers, a pen and paper to jot down any notes, a place to set a cup of coffee and a water bottle, and easy access to any other items you’ll need throughout the day.
As far as technology goes, make sure your computer desktop is clear, your calendar is updated, and you’ve acquired any task manager software you might need to keep tasks organized. If you really want to take it to the next level, try blocking out times on your calendar when you’ll complete certain tasks. This will keep you accountable and prevent people from claiming time you already have planned for something else.
It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but if you want to learn how to be productive working from home, you’ll likely need to incorporate regular breaks into your routine. Without the temptation of having lunch with a co-worker or getting caught up in a conversation in the kitchen, it can be easy to skip that time in order to hunker down at your computer, which isn’t always good for productivity.
Instead, try to take breaks to go for a bike ride, walk the dog, bake cupcakes, enjoy lunch with your family, or have a virtual coffee date or happy hour with colleagues. While it can be hard during the pandemic, if you can safely leave your home and go outside for some of these activities, doing so can make these breaks even more powerful. Regardless, you’ll be surprised how refreshing these breaks can be—and how productive you’ll be afterward.
Especially when working remotely, communication is key—not just with your colleagues but with your family as well. Clear and compassionate communication is one of our most helpful tips for working from home. If a colleague keeps scheduling meetings during the time when you usually deal with e-mails, for example, try blocking out that time on your calendar so you won’t be disturbed. If your spouse’s questions about dinner keep interrupting your workflow, schedule a specific time to check-in during the day to discuss dinner plans and other domestic duties.
Remember, you may need to schedule more “check-ins” while working from home, as you won’t be able to casually discuss updates in the office. While these can be done by e-mail or slack message, it’s important to still schedule some face-time with the people you work with regularly.
At AIFP, company culture is important to us, and we want to do everything we can to keep our team healthy, productive, and happy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Looking for a lumber trading career at one of the best places to work in Portland, Oregon? Send us your resume today! In the meantime, check out our blog, where we cover everything from what we’re looking for in job candidates to the top three perks of commission-only jobs.
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