Working From Home
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Cyber security has always been a concern for business and personal use.
In these uncertain times finding structure, motivation and a healthy mental state cna be extremely difficult. Even more so could be said for working remotely.
Whilst the idea of working from home is not the worst thing in the world it certainly has a few challenges.
1. Maintain Regular Work Hours
The best way to stay in a workplace mindset is to maintain regular hours. It is important for bosses and employees alike to try and maintain the work routine they are used to. It's okay to take coffee breaks after all, few can survive a 9 to 5 grind without a pick me up, even if it's not quite the same as your favorite cafe on the corner- but make sure there is a schedule in place and stick to it. This way one can avoid unnecessary distractions that may be present in a home based work place.This is a period of adjustment for everyone and maintaining the work-life balance is crucial in this new environment. It keeps routine and accountability present in uncertain times. Apps such as RescueTime can help maintain the balance and keep things on track.
2. Have a Morning Routine
It's easy to say when work begins and sitting at a desk is a good place to start, but creating a routine to implement and guides someone there is another thing entirely. Some people find it easy to just switch into work mode from minute one, but others struggle. For example, getting dressed for a day at the office can be a good way to seperate the idea of working from home and motivate someone. Ensuring the routine ends with the start of work is a good way to keep pace with office hours.
3.Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Bubble
working away from an office and in your own space is a tough adjustment to make. It is something that takes time to get into the habit of and it can become extremely difficult when it comes to others in your household, especially if you are a parent. With schools out of action currently, and the holidays kicking in it's natural that family time is important, and also far more tempting when you're in the same place as your family trying to do work. There needs to be rules in place and expectations of the do’s and don'ts around those office hours need to be observed.
4. Take Breaks
When working from home it can be difficult to religiously follow a routine. It may at times feel like you are less productive or that your slacking off, even the best work ethics will face adversity when implemented in a home workplace, especially if much like us, are not used to it and have come from a office environment that has quickly turned into a working from home environment due to lockdown. But breaks are still as important at the office, as they are when you're not. There are plenty of apps that can be used to lock out devices for set periods of time, temporarily disabling access to work devices. This is a great way to ensure that you are taking the breaks that are crucial, even if productivity may feel reduced in the early stages. Know your company's policy on break times and take them.
6. Stay Connected
This is not just for a person's mental well being, but also in the practical sense. Some organisations have their own VPNs that allow for employees to access crucial business data on certain servers or websites only meant for internal use, but there are other options too. Remote Desktop Clients are a huge asset as they allow a user to replicate the office computers without bringing home the whole kitchen sink, so to speak. Ensure that your internet plan can sustain increased traffic flow without too big of a hiccup but expect these to happen, and make sure you have a backup plan in place such as cloud storage so you minimise the risk of losing crucial data.
Use a VPN whenever you're connected to a network that you don't control. That includes Wi-Fi at co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, and airports. Some organisations have their own VPNs that off-site employees need for accessing certain servers or websites that store information meant only for internal use. In those cases, you'll also need to use a VPN at home. In any case, it's a good idea to get into the habit of leaving your VPN connected as often as possible because it's always safer to have it on than not.
7. Look for Training Opportunities
Throughout this period of time it's natural that things may fall behind in terms of business strategy, vital training and skills development. It's important to ensure that employees and business owners alike maintain qualified and engaged with the work process. Times like these provide opportunities to upskill and learn as much as possible. There is an emergence of work skill based online training courses that can prove to be an asset. Work productivity has more than likely taken a hit in the circumstances, so there are plenty of new opportunities and skills just waiting to be exposed and time to master them.
8. Keep a Dedicated Office Space
Replicating working at an office can be difficult at home. It is not uncommon for most households to lack a dedicated office in the house. There are several processes one can put in place to make sure that work productivity can be semi-regular. SImply hooking a personal laptop up to a monitor with an external keyboard is a good way to separate leisure from work. When the laptop is on the lap it's personal time, when it's on the monitor it's work time. Creating a separate user on a personal device can also provide a level of professionalism and minimise the distractions of social media, private emails and general media consumption. Dedicating a desk and some peripherals to work.
9.Socialise With Colleagues
With a large percentage of New Zealanders having to work from home during this time, it's natural that there may be an air of loneliness, disconnect and of course isolation present. Even with people being confined to their bubble it can be difficult to get a variety of conversation and dynamic a person has between their work colleagues and those within their own household. This is especially difficult for extroverts. Having something like a workplace chat channel can make a huge difference for that socialisation people need to maintain positivity and connection. Even introverts need some form of connectivity for their mental health. Being proactive in nurturing relationships helps build a strong remote culture.
9. Over Communicate
Communication is essential in any job, and especially essential in the current circumstances. Working remotely requires one step further however, it requires over communication. Making sure that colleagues, friends and family alike are aware of the daily schedule and personal availability often, helps the flow of a business as well as any personal outside work commitments. This does not mean you have to write your itinerary and pin point every single movement you make, but it may mean repeating yourself and making sure people know it. When you finish a task say so, and do it several times to ensure the message is clear, this keeps accountability and professionalism.
10. Be Patient
With a vast amount of people working from home, hiccups are to be expected and regular. Working from home means there has been an influx of the population using the internet therefore providers may experience delays, reduced speed and problems. The world of business is a fast moving beast, but currently it has been temporarily maimed. Exercise patience and take everything with a grain of salt, although connectivity via VPN or remote server should not hinder work in theory, in practice it is a slightly different story.