The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Given that action, you may be required to work at home given the continued spread of the coronavirus-19. There is little doubt that is putting remote work to the biggest stress-test ever. Clearly it is taking place at unprecedented scale. It has been in the news night after night and not likely to change anytime soon. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have been all taking part and the list continues to grow. Based on the latest briefings and news reports, this trend will grow for weeks if not months. A few surveys of employees that work at home feel they are just as productive as they were when they went into the office. Some actually feel they should work more given they do not have commute time and expense.
Here are a few recommendations based on 5 years of practical experience.
1. Dedicate a specific space and computer for work use.
2. Talk to your company’s IT department about updating your operating system with the latest version and patches that they are ok with. Also ask them about a VPN - virtual private network
3. Make sure your security software (malware/anti-virus) is up to date.
4. Maintain Regular Hours. Set a schedule, and stick to it...most (95%) of the time.
5. Set and communicate the ground rules with the people that will have access to you in your work at home workspace.
6. Set your schedule and use a morning routine as close to what you did at work as you can. That includes establishing breaks and take them in their entirety. I have 1 break in the morning then lunch and one in the afternoon.
7. It is a good idea to get outside of your home office – some go out to lunch just as they do at the office.
8. It is a good idea to get up and walk around as you should be doing at the office already.
9. REMEMBER – once you give out your home phone or your personal cellphone number you can’t get it back and the calls usually do not stop. That is the case even when you go back to the office and your normal working.
10. Check in with co-workers and your boss regularly – try to keep it as close to what you do when you are at the office.
Many organizations already have flexible work programs that have been in place before this virus. Some are of the opinion that this virus-related work at home experience of employers and employees will influence the future of work forever.