Working From Home For the First Time? Our Advice to Newbies

March 16, 2020 Manar Asaya

As COVID-19 becomes more widespread throughout the world, we are being asked to take extreme measures to battle it, which includes asking employees to work remotely. Many professionals who have never worked from home (WFH) before are being asked to, which may be daunting for some and frustrating to others. Although there are many articles and videos providing tips to working remotely, we’ve been asked by our clients how we work from home successfully, since we, at Tegrita, are 100% remote! We would like to share our top tips from our team to help you adjust to the WFH lifestyle.

Whether working from home because of school or office closings or if it’s a regular occurrence, Sr. Client Engagement Lead, Chloe Kelsch offers a few important points:

  • Have your own space. Create a mini home office with all the supplies you’ll need in close proximity, like you would have at your desk. This will allow you to focus on work and not pick up the remote or get distracted by having to look for a pen or notepad.
  • Good internet connection and web conferencing capabilities are key to a WFH regimen.
  • Lastly, if both you and your spouse, partner, or roommate are working from home, it’s a good idea to set a calendar with each other for calls, quiet time, and breaks. By doing so, you can manage meetings and expectations while respecting each other’s mutual need for a home office environment.

When asked, Jesse Nobbe, Sr. Technology Lead says that “In terms of WFH, I think the most important thing for me is that I treat it just like I was going to the office. I have a separate space that I work in; I get up in the morning, get dressed, get coffee, eat breakfast, and “go to work”. I try to maintain a lunch hour as well so I can take a break. It’s best to not work somewhere like the living room because it’s really easy to be distracted. Most people that don’t work from home think of it as an excuse to stay in their PJs and lounge. Don’t let that happen and you may even be more productive with less people physically around you. If you need that social connection, you can set up a Webex or something like that that people can join throughout the day.”.

“An important thing to remember when transitioning from an office to a remote situation is to keep your activity levels up. It’s very easy to get physically lazy which will eventually hurt your productivity.” says Marketing Technology Consultant, Tim Happ. “Think about how many steps you rack up in a typical day at the office. Your commute involves walking to the car or bus or train or all 3… that adds up. Little things like trips to the restroom might be 10 steps away when you are at home, while it might be a trek across the building any other day. Going between conference rooms for meetings is another set of steps you might not even notice – I like to take a quick walk around the house between conference calls to get some steps in. It also helps me reset between meetings. Lunch time is another opportunity for activity. If you don’t leave your house for lunch, try walking around the block or (if you have a dog) take your dog to the park for a quick break. Going to the office naturally forces a little activity that you may not notice, it will take some discipline to keep your activity up, but you’ll find you’re more productive overall.”.

Our Chief Operating Officer, Brandi Starr feels that “Beyond the basics of establishing a routine and defining a space to work three things that have helped me to be successful working from home are:

1. Get Fresh Air & Sunlight: Most people don’t realize the importance of getting outside (even if just for a few minutes). Getting outside helps to restore mental energy and improves both creativity and concentration.

2. Turn on Your Video: Even if you aren’t as polished as you are when you are in the office leverage video to stay connected to those around you. Video is most often used for traditional meetings but it’s also good to use video calls to chat with your colleagues the way you normally would in the office. It took me a while to get over showing video when I’m not fully ‘put together’ but you learn very quickly that no one cares about your appearance and everyone is at home as casual as you are.

3. Listen to Music: If you are home alone while working sometimes the silence and stillness can be a distraction. I like to listen to music (loudly) to keep my mind engaged. Although my music preferences are more R&B and Country, I listen to Electronic Dance Music (EDM) because the beats are great for mental focus. Here is my current favorite work playlist; when I need deep concentration this one does the trick.”

If you are one of the many who are being asked to work remotely, don’t panic. Turn this challenge into an opportunity. Create your own zone and your own workspace if you can. Making changes to your environment can boost your creativity. Numerous companies are moving into remote working set-ups and they are evaluating the opportunities versus the obstacles for such arrangements. For more details on this topic check out our TegTalk video – Opportunities and Obstacles of Remote vs In Office Marketing Teams.

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