More companies asking staff to work from home (how to make it work for you)

You may have to get used to working from home. It’s becoming a major trend during the COVID-10 outbreak.

Earlier this week we noted how more and more major companies were cancelling face-to-face job interviews during the coronavirus spread. Video interviews and virtual meet-ups are considered a safer way to connect when there’s a risk of infection.

Getting hired by video interview means the existing staff doesn’t have to meet with numerous candidates, and you interact with the whole team until you’re actually on the job. Except, as the pandemic continues, even those interactions are being curtailed.

Numerous companies (Shopify, Google, and Twitter, just to name a few, the list is growing rapidly) are asking all of their staff to work from home for the coming days to stop the spread of the virus.

Of course, they are doing this out of concern for the health and safety of their staff – and also not to take the productivity hit that would come from having a great percentage of their teams all sick at the same time. So, if you are one of the employees who is instructed to work from home, this can be your time to shine.

One of the best ways to prove that you are a valuable asset to the team is to show how productive you can be – even in a crisis situation. Don’t just phone it in – while you are phoning it in from home. Knock it out of the park. (To shameless mix metaphors. Sorry.)

Here is how to stay focussed and productive while working from home

Make a to-do list. One of the things I always do when working remotely is write a list of all of the projects I need to work on and tasks I need to accomplish that day. Since there is no commute, it’s easy to get right to work in the morning and start knocking things off that list.

Go to work. Just because you aren’t heading into the workplace doesn’t mean you can sit back on the couch with your feet up on the coffee table. (Well, maybe you can be productive that way, but I can’t.) Have a dedicated workspace that is free from household distractions. Once you’re at that desk or table or whatever it is, focus on work.

Get dressed. You won’t be as productive in your pyjamas. That’s a scientific fact. So, get dressed and look the part. Even if nobody can see you, it will impact your behaviour. Plus, you don’t want to be caught off guard in your boxer shorts if your boss schedules an emergency video conference call.

Stick to your schedule. If you normally take a lunch break at work, then take your lunch break. If you usually have to wrap up your work by a certain time, then get your stuff done on that same schedule from home. Sticking to your normal routine will help you stay focussed and in the workday frame of mind.

There are numerous advantages of working from home. You don’t have the stress and hassle of a commute. You can focus on work without the chit chat and distractions from coworkers. If you need to take care of something personal in the middle of the day, you can duck out and make up the time later – so long as the work gets done. It’s a great situation for work/life balance.

Here is a potential up-side to the current crisis. If you can demonstrate how successfully it works now – while it’s necessary during COVID-19 – you will set yourself up to be in a great position to negotiate a flexible working arrangement moving forward when the crisis has passed.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

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