Everything You Should Know Before Working From Home
Early on in 2020, millions of us were thrust into a work-from-home setup, whether we were ready for it or not. The reality is that most of us were not. While technically all most people need to work from home is a laptop and an internet connection, there are other kinds of resources necessary. These include emotional resources and knowledge.
If you have not started working from home yet, you should prepare yourself with some of the following ideas. If you already work from home, these ideas may improve your experience.
Upgrade to Fast Internet (and have a backup)
Many people assume that because they are doing bandwidth-light work from home, they do not need a fast internet connection. However, it can quickly become apparent that your current internet plan is just not sufficient.
While your internet connection may be perfect for your leisure needs, including streaming TV, you will find that the small lags that don’t normally bother you interrupt your workflow. Furthermore, the inevitable video meetings require a lot more bandwidth than you realize, and even if your connection itself is strong, your slow internet may struggle to keep up.
Also, having a backup plan, whether it is mobile data that you use with your personal hotspot or a WiFi dongle, is important when working from home. Connection problems can stop you in your tracks.
Create a Home Office
If there is no obvious space in your home to work from, you may think sitting on the couch with your laptop is going to have to be enough. However, this increases the likelihood that you will struggle to focus or procrastinate when you really need to get work done.
Find a space, even if it has to be small, that you can designate as a home office. Don’t use it for anything but work, and don’t work anywhere but in this space. This way, you keep your work and home life separate, and maintain that important balance.
Get the Right Insurance
Whether you are your own boss or you work for an employer, you need to ensure that you have the right insurance covering your work-from-home setup. Home insurance may not cover your laptop and other business tools. These are generally covered by business insurance, and entirely separate from your homeowners insurance. Don’t cancel your business insurance, or make sure your employer hasn’t cancelled it to save money.
Dress For Work
One of the oft-mentioned benefits of working from home is the fact that you can do it in your pyjamas. While this is technically true, it is far from ideal. It is great not to have to wear comfortable shoes and suffocating shirts. However, working in your pyjamas creates a number of issues.
Specifically, it makes work feel too informal, and also blurs the line between work and leisure. You struggle to maintain the balance, procrastinating and getting tired quickly. At the end of the workday, you don’t get to relax by changing into pyjamas and changing your mindset.
There is no need to dress up in work clothes, but wear something in which you would feel comfortable leaving the house on an errand.
Introverts love working from home because it provides space away from the draining presence of crowds of people. But while this may feel better in the present, it can impact your future prospects. Instead of connecting with colleagues and business partners, you have a far smaller circle. You don’t hear about the opportunities for climbing the corporate ladder or getting a better job elsewhere.
The good news is that the best networking can be done online now. LinkedIn is the obvious starting point, but your networking shouldn’t end there. Join groups on social media with people in your line of work. Don’t be passive – speak up when you have something to say, and try starting conversations on occasion.
This can increase your visibility in your field, even as you sit behind a screen all day every day.
For some people, having breaks when working from home feels far easier than when at the office. You have no one monitoring you, after all. For many others, however, working from home creates an environment of guilt, in which taking breaks feels like a betrayal.
Instead of just taking breaks when the time feels right, schedule breaks. This way, you don’t feel guilty for taking a break and you don’t get anxious over whether you’re taking too long.
Working from home is an adjustment, but with tens of millions of people doing so daily, it is an adjustment you are in a position to make.