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I have been working from home for just about two years now. The first three months were due to a broken wrist and were somewhat challenging. Following that experience came a job change that dramatically altered my work environment and the office culture I had adapted to and loved.
Changing to a remote, stay-at-home work environment has its hurdles under the best of circumstances. In this unusual situation we find ourselves in today, this transition is even more of a challenge, as you may find yourself thrust into a home office quickly and unexpectedly. My question to you after making this move: “Are you thriving or surviving?”
Below are some tips from my playbook on how to thrive in your remote, work-from-home location.
You may not have a spare room to dedicate to your office like me, an empty nester more rooms than I know what to do with. Regardless of your space constraints, you should create a dedicated office space. Decorate it with things that give you joy and inspire you to be creative. This space should be an area you can close off at the end of the workday. The goal is to define in and out of the office. That may be as simple as putting a sheet over the card table in the corner or a sign on the door that says open/closed. Be creative!
You may think “I am at home I can break when I want.” I found the first thing I stopped doing was taking clearly defined breaks, including lunch. Setting defined breaks to step away from the desk to take walks outdoors, sit under a tree, or chat with a co-worker/friend is vital to making remote work a positive experience. Lunch is a must and please do not eat lunch at your desk or nibble throughout the workday. Set aside a time for lunch and step away. At the very least, you should have two 10 or 15-minute breaks and a half-hour lunch on your daily schedule.
Oh My! We spoke of lunch above but make it a rule that you eat your meals away from the office. Take meals in the kitchen, dining room, or get out for a change when you can to meet up with co-workers and friends for a meal. A related note about your office space: it is not a good idea for the kitchen or dining room table to be the office or workspace unless they are not used for meals in your home. This guideline goes back to the separation of work and home.
When you are working remotely, connections are key. They are how we deal with isolation and feeling like we are on an island. Talk to co-workers, teammates, clients, family, and friends regularly throughout the day. We have all forgotten what the telephone is, and quite frankly mine is hidden deep in my computer within Microsoft Teams, but it is time to dust it off and start using it. An email does not make us feel connected to anything or anyone; a phone call does. A voice on the other end makes all the difference in the world, and if you add video to that, you are no longer alone in the room. Try it – you will like it.
I mentioned Microsoft Teams above. Along with the other Microsoft O365 products, it makes a great collaboration tool. Teams is our company’s virtual office hub, where my door is always open to my team and others to video chat, conference call, have meetings, collaborate on documents and spreadsheets, and so much more. If you are not familiar with the Office suite of products for collaboration, please reach out and I will gladly point you in the right direction or get on the web to find collaboration tools for your team. There are many out there, and some are free.
Last year I did an Intro to Teams webinar. You can watch it on-demand by clicking the link below if you would like a quick overview on how to get up and running with Microsoft Teams.
We also have a webinar coming up on April 1st on launching Microsoft Teams quickly for remote work flexibility.
You are not alone my friends and colleagues. I am here for you. Just reach out if you need me!
Your Business Central (NAV) Caretaker,
Holly KutilInnovia Consulting Customer Care Agent
This blog is part of an ongoing series from the Innovia Customer Care team. Click on the image below to read all the entries in this series.
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