Work From Home Guide for First-Time Remote Workers

home office

We’re currently in the midst of the greatest remote work experiment in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to quickly adapt to new work setups that allow for greater social distancing. While it is not a big adjustment for remote work converts such as myself, it can be somewhat challenging for those trying this arrangement for the first time. 

Even before the current situation around COVID-19, remote work has been on the rise. A recent study released prior to the coronavirus pandemic found that 50% of employees globally worked remotely for at least half of the week. This has been matched by a similarly positive trend in employee preference when it comes to remote work. The same study found that when faced with similar job offers, 80% of employees would refuse the offer that didn’t offer a flexible work option.

All of this means that whether you’re ready or not, remote work is here to stay. The logical question now becomes how can you not only survive in this new reality, but thrive. Luckily, there’s an abundance of collective knowledge on remote work gained by early adopters. Read on to find some practical tips and tools that will help you make the most of this situation.

Establish a routine

Perhaps the biggest challenge to adapting to a new work arrangement is finding your routine. Humans find comfort in the familiar, so until you become used to working from home you’ll likely feel out of place. 

We all have our office routine, usually revolving around peak productive times, meetings and down time for things like lunch and coffee. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can’t recreate something similar. 

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My team has had a flexible work setup for years, so I’ve gained some experience in this regard. Here’s an example of the type of routine I encourage my team members to create for themselves when working from home:

Morning exercise—It’s important to take into account the reduction in your own mobility while working from home. Previously you may have walked to work, climbed some stairs, left the office to get lunch, etc. Compensating for this is important for your physical and mental health.

Get dressed for work—There’s a general principle that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. In the context of working from home, just because you can spend all day in your pajamas doesn’t mean you should. In order to set the right tone for yourself, take the time to prepare yourself for the day just as you would if you were going to the office.

Breakfast and personal timeMaintaining healthy eating habits is always important, but never more so than when working from home and practicing social distancing. Breakfast is also the perfect opportunity to do something for yourself: catch up on the news, read a book, just look out the window, or anything else that brings you joy. 

Create a plan for your workday—Taking time in the morning to outline your tasks and goals for the day is a great way to maintain focus. This is also something you can share with your colleagues to keep them up to date and informed. 

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