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10 Tips for Work-From-Home Employees During COVID-19

Headset for Working from Home

For those of you impacted by recent mandatory Work-From-Home (WFH) policies from your employer, here are 10 quick, helpful hints from a long-time teleworker.

1. Set Aside Specific Space Dedicated For Work

Not the couch or bed. Ergonomics is real. That space is the ‘office’, and when you are in there, you’re at work. Let others in the house know that you are ‘at the office’, and therefore interruptions should be few and far between.

2. When You’re working, You’re Working

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you should do laundry, vacuum, do the dishes, etc. when you should be working. It’s a big temptation, but just plan to work in your home office as you would have worked in your work office.

3. Dress For Work

Every day. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you should roll out of bed, not shower and wear pajamas. Your mental state should be the same as if you were going into an office. Just with a shorter commute.

4. Prepare to Go Without Water Cooler Conversations

You won’t get the ‘hallway time’ with coworkers and colleagues you are used to having. Schedule ‘hallway time’ meetings to catch up. Overcommunicate. You can’t let social bonds and serendipity atrophy.

5. Learn to Use Web-Based Programs

Set aside a day to download and configure programs like: Webex, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype. This is now your primary means of communication with the outside world, so the old excuses of ‘I don’t know how to share my document’ won’t hunt.

6. Buy a Headset

Plantronics (Poly) makes awesome ones if a bit spendy. There are a number of less expensive ones on the market. Buy one that connects to your computer via USB, not headset jack, because you’ll want controls on the headset.

6. (Continued) No, Seriously, Go Buy a Headset

It’s 2020 people, for the love of all that is holy, do not try to get away with using the microphone and speaker on your laptop. You don’t want to be the jerk that causes echo on the 20-person call.

7. Learn Where the Mute Button Is On Your New Headset

The hardware one. Learn when to use it and how to tell when it’s on. No, that button does not give you permission to go to the bathroom during a conference call, weed your garden or walk your dog.

8. Don’t Forget To Eat + Exercise

Set alarms and block calendars to make sure to eat and LEAVE WORK at realistic times. The problem with working from home is that the line blurs between being at home and the office, so you will find yourself ‘drifting’ on personal needs.

9. Enjoy Peace + Quiet

Appreciate not being interrupted every five minutes. Learn how to religiously set out of office and free/busy statuses on collaboration tools. No one can see if you’re at your desk or not when you WFH.

10. Savor Your Lack of Commutes

With no day-to-day commutes, you will contribute less emissions, save time and reduce stress.

This blog is written by a DSM-based Work-From-Home professional. Lightly edited with permission for use by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Find these tips useful? Find more business tools and information by visiting the Business Resources page.