SET UP YOUR REMOTE OFFICE TO GET WORK DONE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Yes, it’s possible for a remote (or “distributed “) workforce to keep your business running smoothly. Some of us have been working remotely or partially remote for more than a decade, and you can do the same. As advice to our colleagues and clients, we share the following tips, originally provided by our friends at Thrive.
1. Setting Up Your Home Workspace
When working remotely, it’s crucial to have a private space for work. Separate your workspace from other areas of the house, if possible. If your place is small, you can use a curtain or a room divider to serve as a designated space for business.
Here are some tips to help you create a functional workspace at home:
• Ensure stable internet connection
• Get a good chair and desk
• Set up your home office somewhere with good light
• If you have the option to close the door during working hours then do so
• Use separate desk and drawers for business files
• Have a trash bin ready to keep clutter and random things off your desk
• Clean up your workspace after your shift
2. Recommended Equipment for Working Remotely
Having the right equipment is crucial in ensuring work productivity and success. Here’s a list of remote work equipment you need for your home office:
• Laptop or computer with a webcam
• Ergonomic mouse
• Noise-canceling headphones
• Printer with a scanner — if your work requires sharing scanned documents
• Work phone
• Notebooks and pens — for taking notes of your daily tasks, minutes of the meeting, etc.
If you don’t have the necessary work equipment at home, inform your team lead right away. Doing so provides the management team with ample time to gather the equipment you need for successful remote work.
3. Ensure Data Privacy and Adequate Digital Access
Once you’ve set up your home office, the next step is to keep your data safe when working remotely. A security breach can have disastrous results. Any issues, from hackers to computer viruses, can decrease your productivity and put your job at risk.
Here are general safety tips to keep your data safe and secure:
• Avoid public WiFi — use personal hotspots instead
• Keep work data on work computers
• Always keep your desktop’s security protection up-to-date
• Utilize secure WiFi, encrypted drives, antivirus, and end-point protection
• Deploy a virtual private network (VPN) for an additional level of security
• Encrypt sensitive data in emails and on your desktop
• Run a password audit
• Backup your data
• Avoid using USB, if possible, to avoid malware infestation
• Recognize phishing emails or sites — always check the email address of the sender
• Don’t open suspicious emails or links
More importantly, always have a contingency plan. Do you have a backup device for work, such as an extra laptop or mobile phone, in case of an emergency? If not, reach out to your manager so she can help you find a solution.
4. Adopt Remote Productivity Tools to Improve Efficiency
Numerous efficient tools are available to help you stay connected with your team and keep track of your work progress. The following apps and tools were designed to ease your remote work process:
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
DATA PROTECTION TOOLS:
BUSINESS COMMUNICATION TOOLS:
BONUS: If you have kids at home, here are some useful distance-learning tools to keep them occupied while you’re working:
5. How to Avoid Distractions WHILE WORKING FROM HOME
• Install internet blocking tools, such as StayFocused or Freedom, to block specific sites during working hours
• Do one thing at a time — corral your tasks for the day to avoid overworking
• Create a schedule and stick to it
• Take a break — get lunch and snacks as scheduled to prevent work fatigue
• Get dressed for work — doing so helps keep your focus
• Turn off or keep your personal phone in silent mode, if possible
Lastly, know your distractions and knock them out. Pinpointing your common distractions helps in avoiding them as you work from home.
6. Remote Work Essentials During the COVID-19 pandemic
Now, let’s talk about the more critical aspect of working remotely amidst the COVID-19 outbreak — your health and safety. Your well-being and that of everyone around you is paramount. Even when you’re staying at home, following protocols is imperative.
Here are essential things you must follow as you work from home during the pandemic:
• Stay at home unless you need to run for necessities, such as foods and medicines
• Stock up on non-perishable foods, drugs, and vitamins for your family and pets
• Ensure you have enough supply of cleaning solutions to keep your house virus-free
• Tank up your vehicle in case of emergency
• Stay abreast of news and updates on your local community
• Always have cash on hand
• Have a plan in case you run out of supplies or you need to evacuate
• Keep yourself hydrated — have a big bottle of water on your workspace
More importantly, get enough sleep. We understand that work continuity is essential. However, you should never compromise your health and safety. Stick to your work schedule and maintain a strict work-life balance.
Abstract from the original, “Coronavirus Have You Staying Home? The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work”, Thrive Internet Marketing.