Essential Working from Home Tips

Essential Working from Home Tips

If you’ve been following us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook lately, you’ve probably noticed our working from home tips posts. We’ve decided to curate them all in one place so you can access and share them anytime, and we’ll continue to update this post as we generate more tips.

If you have any tips you’d like to share, please reach out to us!

#1 – Utilize free resources you can access online, like Microsoft Teams, or Skype.

#2 – Keep a designated workspace that is solely for you. If you have kids at home or are unable to set aside a closed-off space for yourself, keep what you may need for work close by.

#3 – Stay within business hours. Allow yourself breaks. Clock out when it’s time to. Working at home means setting serious time boundaries with yourself and your computer.

#4 – If you have never worked from home before, be patient with yourself. If you have worked from home previously, reach out to your friends who haven’t and share with them how you make it work.

#5 – Clearly communicating expectations and goals to your team is more important now than ever.

#6 – Respond to requests quickly. If you’re unable to tackle the task right away, reply letting the requestor know when you’ll get to it.

#7 – Encourage video conferencing whenever possible to be more present and engaged in meetings. Seeing facial expressions can increase connection and understanding.

#8 – Don’t forget to take breaks. Take time for exercise and fresh air – or just time to step away from your workspace for a bit. 

#9 – Think secure, be secure. You can use many apps and sites with a standard internet connection. To securely access internal resources and work with confidential data, you might need to connect via VPN or remote desktop.

#10 – A wired network connection is best, if possible. When using a wireless connection, consider your distance from the router and obstacles in between that can affect your connection quality. 

#11 – Check your surroundings. Be aware of what’s in view during video calls and use “blur my background” in Microsoft Teams to minimize distractions and protect privacy.

#12 – Installing the apps you need on your phone is a great alternative when your local internet is experiencing high usage that affects your connectivity.

#13 – Video can sometimes strain limited bandwidth, so consider turning your camera off if the connection is poor.

#14 – Monitor meeting chat. People may not feel comfortable breaking into the conversation or may be having technical difficulties. Check meeting chat often for comments.

#15 – Your daily schedule or even the hours that you work may change while working from home. Set expectations with your team (and those you live with) around your availability during the day.

#16 – Pause for others to speak. It can be hard to find space to talk in a meeting, and even harder when everyone is virtual. Make sure there are time and opportunity for all voices to be heard.

#17 – If you’re a working parent, coordinate with your partner to come up with a plan like splitting the day into “shifts” for childcare. Revisit that plan regularly to adjust based on what’s working and what’s not.

#18 – During video calls, you want to be looking into the camera when you’re speaking and at the face of others when it’s their turn. Resist the urge to look at yourself in the smaller frame in the corner of the screen.

#19 – Remember to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking during a video call. But don’t forget to unmute when it’s your turn to talk.

#20 – The best light is natural light. When doing video calls, position yourself so that you’re facing a window if possible, and it will enhance your look. Never place a window or light source directly behind you.

#21Block out background noise. Try using noise-canceling headphones, a white noise app/playlist, etc. to maximize concentration and avoid unintended distraction.

#22Make meetings count. To prioritize your time, ask for a meeting agenda ahead of time, and determine if you are a required or optional attendee.

#23Share your calendar with your partner or other family members, so you are aware of previously planned meetings and activities.

#24Breakups in your audio can damage the perception of your professionalism. Test your connection beforehand, and if it’s not stable, consider using the dial-in option on your phone for audio while capturing video from your laptop.

#25If you’re working from a dining or coffee table, chances are your camera is filming upwards, which isn’t the most flattering look during a video call. Use books to elevate your laptop, so people see a more straight-on perspective of you.

#26If you’re too close to the camera during video calls, your face and head can appear oddly distorted. Placing yourself a bit farther away allows people to see your entire upper body, including hand gestures, and naturally makes you project your voice more.

#27Be sure to disable email notifications, calendar alerts or chat windows prior to sharing your screen during a meeting. Not only are they annoying and distracting, but they can reveal personal information and appear unprofessional.

#28It’s usually harder to manage a virtual discussion than an in-person one. It can be helpful to assign a facilitator to guide the conversation, allowing other participants to focus on the content – especially for more formal meetings.

#29Use an icebreaker for virtual team meetings. It’s important to reinforce interpersonal relationships when people may be feeling isolated. This could be as simple as going around the “room” and asking people how they’re doing or to share something they’re working on.

#30Tidy up your desktop before sharing your screen during a virtual meeting. Put any sensitive files or documents in a generically named folder and replace your wallpaper with something that’s work appropriate.

#31To avoid fumbling in front of colleagues and clients, take a few minutes before presenting in a virtual meeting to make sure you have easy access to the files you need, set up your computer for screen sharing and queue up your first document.

#32When sharing your screen during a virtual meeting, don’t be afraid to enlarge your windows or even zoom in to make small font sizes and other elements easier for others to view.

#33When presenting in a video conference where no feedback or comments are desired, mute all attendees to avoid disruptions. You can always unmute when someone raises their hand, sends a message you want to respond to right away, or during Q & A.

#34Personalize your workspace. Decorate your space with family photos or items that bring you comfort and minimize distractions.

#35If you have the space and budget for an extra monitor or two, this is a great way to do more work and see it all clearly. Using a laptop? Consider adding an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

#36It’s easy to snack when you’re working from home, especially if you work in your kitchen. Try to develop healthy eating habits. Plan nutritious meals and designate mealtimes.

#37 – Avoid lost work by backing up your documents and data in the cloud and/or to an external drive.

#38Record virtual meetings. This is a helpful tool when giving presentations or walk-throughs. Once the recording is done, you can share it with others.

#39 Celebrate your wins. When you cross something off your to-do list, leave your computer for a minute or two. Get water, refill your coffee mug, or go outside.

#40Look into guided meditation apps. Many services offer soundscapes, narrated stories, and sessions on managing stress, sleep, relationships, and more.

Here are a few of our favorite working from home resources:

Essential Working from Home Guide

Executive Presence on Video Calls Checklist

Work from Home with Children Guide

6 Screen Sharing Mistakes to Avoid

We also invite you to visit our Resource Center for more tips.

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