Homework: Top tips for working from home
A month ago many of us would have welcomed working from home. But now that President Cyril Ramaphosa's recently announced national lockdown is forcing those of us who can work from home to do, we find that the situation presents its own challenges. From connectivity to cabin fever, and from productivity to panic, our new reality calls for a new way of thinking about work.
The Leapfrog team's top tips for navigating this unchartered territory is listed below:
It's not a holiday
The most important thing to realise is that just because you are at home doesn't mean you're on holiday. If we don't assume a "business as usual" approach wherever possible, the economic fallout from coronavirus can have devastating long-term consequences. We need to keep working and keep communicating as you would have during the course of an average work week.
Seek out a dedicated space
Having a dedicated space at home where you work can be a great help to get you focused, when the temptation for distraction is around you all the time. Whether it's a corner of your lounge, the spare bedroom or even a cleverly retrofitted area in your hallway, a dedicated space helps your brain recognise the area as the one in which work needs to be done. Make it as pleasant and inviting as you need it to be. Little things like a plant, a framed photo of your children, together with sufficient light and ventilation, can help make the space more appealing.
Set fixed hours
Freelancers, solopreneurs and most other people who work from home will highlight the importance of fixed working hours. Though you might now have the flexibility to work slightly different hours, aim to still get your eight hours done each day. If you choose to start earlier, make sure you also end earlier. Communicate your preference to your manager and make sure your hours don't inconvenience the rest of your team. Having a start and end time is essentially a productivity measure that helps to keep you focused.
Check your tech
In most instances, successful remote working requires a reliable internet connection. Whether you're using fibre or mobile data, make sure your connection speed is reasonable. Check with your employer about reimbursement for the additional expense. With the added threat of loadshedding at any time, make sure your phone and computer is always charged and that you have a flask of coffee for that pick-me-up for when you need it!
Social distancing doesn't mean we should stop connecting with people. In fact, in times like these we need the support of others more than ever. Just because you can't be in the same space as your colleagues, clients, suppliers, friends and family doesn't mean you should isolate yourself from them. Email, phone, WhatsApp, Skype... there are a myriad ways that we can stay connected. Make an effort to connect, to check in, and shift your face-to-face business online in whatever way you can.