Just one week into Houston’s “stay home, work safe” order and the Aries family is already learning a lot. We’re learning to trust each other in new ways and making some mistakes along the way. We wanted to reach out and share some of our best-crowdsourced tips for how to work from home. Let’s start with the setup.
Setting up your Home Office
Make sure you have all the little things that you might need during the day. Post-its, pens, paper, coffee, etc.
You’ll save a lot of time if it’s all on hand. Before you switch to remote work, your IT department should put together a list of apps that everyone needs on their laptops and webpages everyone should have bookmarked. Some suggestions to get you started are your email client, the Microsoft Office Suite, Teams or Slack for instant messaging, Zoom or GoToMeeting for all your video calls, and OneDrive or Dropbox for easy file sharing. It’s a lot of communication tools, but you’ll find that clear communication is at least 14x more important when remote working.
Speaking of video calls, you’ll want to make sure you have a hands-free headset. Not only will it make note taking during meetings easier, it will cut down on the noise in the house making it easier for your partner to work too.
You’ll also want to set up a “Hollywood office”. Have you ever noticed that in movies all the interesting stuff isn’t on the boss’s desk? It’s always behind him because that’s where the camera (and the audience) is going to be looking. Always make sure that your background is professional and eye-catching. Whoever you’re calling is going to appreciate it!
The best part about working from home is the same reason that it is terrible. There are distractions everywhere! From noisy kids and pets, to daytime TV, it can be hard to stay focused.
If you do live with other people, you need to talk with them. Explain to your kids that you’ll be home more often now and that you’re excited that you get to spend more time with them but that you need to work. Tell them that you’ll spend time with them on your breaks and during lunch but that you shouldn’t be disturbed when your headphones are on. This brings us to the next point! Get some quality headphones. Noise cancellation technology or some good music will help keep you focused and block out those other distractions.
Remember, no one is going to walk by and startle you into closing the Facebook page you’ve been scrolling through for half an hour. One thing that can help deal with that is to download something like the Facebook Feed Blocker browser extension so that you can still use Messenger but it hides all the posts and videos.
Organization and Communication
Remember when we said that communication is going to be 14 times more important now than ever before? Well, it’s still true. Aries likes to start the day with what we call a Brew-tiful Morning meeting. The whole company hops on a video call to chit-chat and drink our coffee for 15 minutes. It helps remind us that we aren’t alone in our apartment and keeps us connected with our coworkers that we don’t see as much anymore. Also, make sure you are…
- Sharing your calendar with your teammates. This makes scheduling video calls a breeze, but only if you…
- Keep your calendar up to date
- Make sure you have your organizational system right where you can see it. Whether it’s a post it note, whiteboard or a Kanban board. Having your daily to-dos visible keeps your priorities in line.
Things You Might Not Think About
Dress for the office! Clothes don’t affect just how other people see you, but also how you see yourself. There is evidence that how we dress influences the way we think. So even though we’d all love to spend all day in sweats and a t-shirt, it sends signals to your brain that it’s time to relax. Check out this article from Scientific American to read more about how your clothes influence your thinking.
A couple of us have had a huge problem with snacking while working from home. I went through one of the giant 30oz boxes of Goldfish in two days! So put a lock on your cabinets and do your best to stay healthy. We will be.
Aries hopes that this smooths out your own transition to remote working. Did we miss any big tips? Let us know what kinds of problems you are facing.