As we already know, almost all of us are asked to stay home because of Coronavirus. This sudden change upset both our lifestyle and the entire work world.
Lots of people lost their job, while others find themselves obligated to work in a completely new way, from home in front of a PC. It is called smart working because it should be super efficient and increase the work-life balance, but you have to do it… smart!
Working from home is not easy at all: it requires outstanding organizational skills, method and rules. In a normal office, in fact, it is easier to stay focused and meet deadlines, but at home we risk to distract and not using our time in the most efficient way.
Moreover, a lack of communication with colleagues can be really dangerous.
Good news is that you can learn how to work from home, simply keeping in mind some tips.
What is smart working?
Smart working is a model of work not tied to specific times and places, performed thanks to technology.
This means that the smart worker can work almost anywhere: at home, in a pub, at the gardens, on the beach… At the same time, the employee could not be tied to a specific timeline (theoretically), but he can decide not to adopt the standard 9am-to-5pm hours, or he can choose to work also during weekends.
However, most of the times the worker is asked to respect common office hours in order to be available for colleagues and to participate at meetings with others. That makes sense: if everybody in a company could choose his own timeline, there would rise serious problems of communication!
The decision on the job place is still up to the worker. In this specific situation, however, we do not have many options: Covid-19 doesn’t allow us to go to pubs of coffee shops yet, thus the choice is limited to the different rooms of our houses.
The possibility to choose where to work, however, is the main difference between smart working and teleworking: in the first case we can work almost everywhere, while in the second one we are tied to a specific and precise location, that cannot be changed time by time.
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How to work from home efficiently
As we said, home working is not easy: it requires changing habits and great organizational skills.
There are some tips that can help your work in this peculiar situation:
- Time management
- Space management
- Challenge yourself
- Get the right equipment
- Get comfortable
- Do something else!
1) Time management
The first, and probably most important aspect to consider is time management. We know that it’s hard to stay focused long at home, especially when children are around.
Therefore the first advice is to define clear working hours and observe them strictly, sharing them with the rest of family members. The best thing to do is keeping the same hours used before the emergency, when we used to physically go to our office.
For example, if we were used to work from 9am to 6pm with an hour of lunch break, we can simply keep that schedule during our smart working.
Unfortunately, the location in which we are working can negatively affect our productivity, and this is where point 2) joins the game!
2) Space management
It may be that some of us find great to continuously change workstation. For sure, changing landscape sometimes is not bad, but changing too often may not help your productivity. Our advice is to find a room in your house dedicated to work. It should be hidden from distractions and comfortable as well.
3) Challenge yourself
One great way to be efficient from home is to set clear targets and plan daily activities.
Targets shouldn’t be impossible to achieve, but neither too easy. Hard targets could be frustrating, easy targets would be diminishing. You should look at what you can actually do in a normal day and set a target a bit higher than that. If you have external deadlines, this can be way much easier, because you will have to justify possible delays or lack of output quality.
If you do not have external deadlines, you can define targets directly with your boss.
4) Get the right equipment
According to your job, you may need different tools. Be sure you have what you need. If you’re a videomaker or a designer you probably would need an external screen, and possibly a desktop computer rather than a laptop. If you are a sound engineer you definitely need to treat your room’s acoustic and get some good studio monitors.
In any case, I suggest you to use a real (maybe ergonomic) mouse rather than your laptop’s touchpad.
5) Get comfortable
Back and neck pain are enemies of good work. Therefore, your workstation should be equipped at least with a good chair.
If you have an external keyboard, it would be a great idea to elevate your laptop up off your desk by some inches, so that you don’t need to stress your neck looking down to the screen all day long.
Moreover, you can also take a fruit, a bottle of water and a snack near you, so that if you feel hungry or thirsty while you’re up to something, you can take it without losing concentration.
6) Do something else!
When you work from home it’s easy to forget what’s outside your door and to neglect your body. Find some time, before or after work (or during breaks), to go outside and take some air. It would also be great to have a walk, a run or to have some kind of training. Check for example yoga courses, they’re good for both mind and body!
These are some quick suggestions to help you in this hard times. We sincerely hope you’ll find them useful!