As the future of work continues to evolve and change, the traditional approach to work is no longer the standard. Millions of people who once worked in commercial office spaces are now working remotely – often from home.
While advantageous on multiple fronts, working from home can be challenging for someone who isn’t accustomed to the environment. But there are a few things you can do to prepare in advance. Take a look:
- Establish a Dedicated Workspace
One of the first elements to consider is the workspace you’ll use when working from home. Every situation is unique, but it’s important that you have a dedicated workspace. A kitchen table, coffee table, or bed doesn’t count. It needs to be s space that’s designed for work (and ideally somewhat private).
“Hopefully, you have the option of converting a room in your home into an office,” entrepreneur Paul Michael writes. “If you don’t, can you build a space in the basement, or convert a large portion of a room into a work space? Room dividers and clever furniture placement can help. This needs to be somewhere that you use only for work, allowing you to easily separate it from your personal and leisure time.”
You’re going to be spending lots of time in this space, so make an effort to optimize it to your needs and preferences. It should be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you’re tempted to fall asleep or slack off. It needs adequate lighting, proper storage space, and space to properly accommodate your work needs. Compromises will have to be made, but ensure you’re setting yourself up for productivity and success.
- Select the Right Internet Service
Most people assume that their internet is fine. However, there’s a difference between casually using it on the evenings/weekends and using it to perform important work on an hourly basis.
Unreliable or slow internet will prove to be frustrating and (potentially) costly. You need a provider that offers fast, reliable service with above-average uptime. You’ll be limited by your location, but you can use InMyArea to find out which providers service your address. Based on this information, you can then compare the ratings and reviews for each potential provider.
On a related note, you’ll need to think about phone service. Are you planning to use your cell phone, or do you have greater needs? If the latter, a VoIP service may be a good option to pursue.
- Get Clear on Expectations
Setting the proper expectations on the front end will increase your odds of experiencing a successful transition from the office to your home. This is true on a couple of levels
For starters, it’s helpful if your employer outlines clear expectations of what they expect from you. This may include office hours, specific levels of output, rules regarding communication, and guidelines for digital safety and cyber security. Having this information ahead of time will assist you in wrapping your mind around your new situation so that you can spend more time focused on the work at hand.
Secondly, you need to set expectations for anyone else who is living in your home. Whether it’s a roommate, spouse, or child, make it clear that you’re not to be disturbed or distracted during work hours. A closed-door policy is often helpful – letting others know when you’re working and when you’re available.
- Get the Lowdown From Other Remote Workers
You can make assumptions about what it looks like to work from home. But until you’re thrown into the situation, it’s hard to get a grasp for how you’ll respond. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is speak with friends, coworkers and peers who are already working from home. Ask them for the honest, unbridled truth. These insights will help you paint a more realistic picture of the situation.
Putting it All Together
Like it or not, working from home will soon be the standard. It’s cost-effective for employers, flexible for employees, and practical for contractors and freelancers. But before you throw yourself into this environment, it’s helpful to get somewhat acquainted.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful suggestions and fruitful advice to get the ball rolling.