As we continue to monitor COVID-19, it is more important than ever for people who can work from home to do so. Thankfully, due to cloud-based software solutions, video conferencing apps, and other pieces of software and technology, more and more businesses can be just as productive from the safety of their own homes as they can at the office. For those who can work remotely, such as the Blue Link team, we’ve shared some tips on how to work productively. For those who aren’t able to work from home, there is a lot of great information available on how to stay safe and healthy while minimizing your interaction with the public. For those in the middle of the pandemic, people in the health care profession, people helping travelers get home safe and those keeping their doors open to provide necessities, we are very appreciative of your hard work and want to thank you for doing your part.
A quick refresher. Cloud-based software allows users to connect to remote servers to access data and perform tasks. Cloud-based is sometimes referred to as SaaS (software-as-a-service) or hosted and implies software that physically lives on the vendor’s hardware which users can then remotely access via the internet. For those people who are currently at home in self-isolation watching Netflix and unable to work, guess what? Netflix is a perfect example of a cloud-based solution. Users pay an on-going monthly fee to access software and data hosted on servers and computers owned and managed by Netflix. For people working from home, cloud-based software such as Google Drive, Slack, Zoom Meetings, HubSpot and Blue Link ERP all enable users to continue business as usual as long as they have an internet connection. Having access to the right systems is just one way to remain productive from the comfort of your own home. Below we’ve outlined a couple of others.
1. Get Dressed Like You’re Going into the Office
This one seems to be a recurring theme. By getting up every morning and getting dressed for the office, you’re maintaining your normal routine and getting into the work mindset. According to a study from Northwestern University, certain clothing can influence the wearer’s psychological processes. The influence of clothes will depend on wearing them and their symbolic meaning – for example, wearing business attire for important discussions.
2. Create a Comfortable Workspace
If you’re like me, you might not have an extra room for a full office in your house, especially when your actual home office space is currently being used by your partner who is also working from home. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a comfortable workspace. Make sure you invest in the proper equipment such as a good chair and headset, and enough monitors. Try to set yourself up in a room that is not associated with relaxation and has minimal distractions (such as your dining room, and not your TV room).
3. Video Conference Whenever Possible
To foster a team atmosphere even when working from home, try to video conference with your team whenever possible. Make sure to dedicate a few minutes at the beginning or end of each meeting for some cooler talk and make a point of video conferencing whenever you can – even if sending a quick email is easier. This helps keep employees engaged and involved. It’s also a good idea to check in with your team often. Consider having regular morning meetings to discuss what’s happening that day and to keep the lines of communication open.
4. Communicate Expectations with Anyone Who Will be Home with You
If you are not the only one home during this period of self-isolation, make sure you set clear expectations with other members of your household. Consider designating specific times where you can take breaks together or implement strategies for scheduled interruptions. For example, make it clear that there will be certain times during the day when you can’t be interrupted, but others when your door is open to some interaction.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Take Breaks
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to take breaks. Don’t let the guilt of trying to be as productive as possible keep you from recharging. Just like you would at the office, it’s important to get up from your desk to stretch your legs or chat with coworkers while working from home. It’s ok to take a break to do a load of laundry, as long as you’re not distracted to then sit on the couch and turn on the TV. Consider getting outside for a walk on your lunch to clear your head. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when interaction with the outside world needs to be limited. Although you shouldn’t be going to the gym, you can still safely take a walk to get some exercise.
- Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html