Best Practices for Working from Home

New to remote work? You might feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. How do you stay connected with your colleagues? How do you access your data? What do you do if your internet connection isn’t exactly robust? And of course, how do you stay focused with all the distractions: kids, roommates, partners, pandemic anxiety?

The Content Panda team has been working remotely for more than a decade. While working from home right now is very different than it was just a few months ago, our goals remain the same – stay productive and stay balanced. Here is our advice to help you transition.

Find a Place to Work

It might be appealing to park yourself on the couch with your laptop (or maybe you aren’t even getting out of bed). This is fine for a day or so, but for a longer WFH situation we suggest finding a place to call your “office.” It doesn’t have to be a dedicated room, although if you can take over a separate room from 9-5 that would be ideal. The important thing is to have a place that is just for work, and when it’s work time, that’s your space.

Get Dressed

Rolling out of bed and jumping right on the computer is easy, but does it put you in the right mindset? Try to keep your normal morning routine – get dressed, meditate, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, exercise – everything you would normally do before heading out the door for the office. Taking time to prepare for the day physically also prepares you mentally. This is also a great time to add meditation or exercise since you no longer have a commute.

Control the Distractions (at least the ones you can control)

We aren’t exactly living in normal times, but try your best to outsmart the distractions. Establish work hours, during which time you keep the TV off and limit your social media time to pre-lockdown levels. Be firm with the people who share your home that when you are in your “office” you are at work and need to be left alone. Of course, this may not be feasible with kids out of school and daycares closed – handle what you need to handle and communicate your situation to your co-workers and employer. We’re all dealing with this now, so everyone should be understanding.

Set Your Schedule

You will, most likely, end up working through lunches, taking meetings after hours, finding yourself checking email after midnight – don’t let that become the norm. Set your availability in your calendar and share it with your team. Leave your home office at the end of the day, just like you would if you were still commuting. When you leave, be done with work. You might feel like putting in an extra hour after dinner or on a weekend. If you wouldn’t have worked that hour in the office, don’t do it now. Trust us, it is a slippery slope that can quickly lead to burnout.

Ask for What You Need

In uncertain times, communication is vital to keep burnout at bay. Need a one-on-one with your boss or team? Ask for it, or even set up recurring meetings to keep the information flowing. Need home office equipment? Ask if your company has funding for this (or if you can borrow what you need from the office). Need help using new software or hardware? Ask for training resources or funding for training programs.

Utilize Technology

Everyone is adjusting rapidly as “business as usual” becomes a thing of the past. Collaborating and connecting virtually has never been easier, and many companies are making their software available for free or at a reduced cost to help get us working again. We use Microsoft Teams as our communication and collaboration hub.

Microsoft has made a freemium version of Teams available for everyone, and many companies already using Office 365 are rolling it out rapidly to keep people connected.

We want to do our part, sharing what we’ve learned in these unprecedented times. If you or your organization are leveraging Microsoft Teams or OneDrive to enable working from home, we are offering our Quick Start for Microsoft Teams and OneDrive for FREE until August 1, 2020.

The Quick Start is a browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Installation takes less than two minutes and does not require an admin.

Once installed, any time you are working in the web versions of Microsoft Teams or Microsoft OneDrive for Business, Content Panda will be there to offer you:

  • Working from Home Guidance
  • Curated Best Practices for Microsoft Teams and OneDrive
  • In-Context Tooltips and Tours

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