How To Work From Home On Your Computer
How To Work From Home On Your Computer – Welcome to the world of remote work. Sorry I have to write this column today. But I’ve worked remotely for years and have some tips to help you with your current transition.
My upcoming book is “Great Pajama Jobs: How to Get a Job without Traveling.” It’s my guide to finding remote work and making it, well, work. While you probably aren’t looking for a remote job, you are, I’d like to lend a hand to help you sort through what you face while house hunting.
How To Work From Home On Your Computer
Of course, we all have different work styles, previous experience with home work and setup, but here is my guide taken from the book.
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Expand your technology knowledge. Develop your digital collaboration skills by familiarizing yourself with common tools and software used to bring remote workers together, including:
• Email and messaging apps: Cool messaging, or Microsoft Teams is now the instant messaging method of choice for many employers so you can “work remotely without feeling remote” as Microsoft says on its website.
Refine your skills. Long-distance digital training is available on online learning sites such as LinkedIn Learning, Courseara, Udemy, YouTube. Search “remote work” on LinkedIn Learning and you’ll find 16 free online courses for employees and managers.
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There are free online courses offered by the app developers themselves: Microsoft’s mandatory user training videos for Teams, Slack courses, Zoom instructor-led online training courses, and free video courses for older students offered by Google for its office applications. suite, including Documents, Documents and Slides.
Time management. When working from home, the biggest key to success is managing your time in a disciplined way – planning skills. Your success comes from how well you prioritize your work needs. There is no room for being late with a project deadline or skipping a conference call. This requires mental preparation.
• Evernote is a free note-taking app that helps you capture and organize ideas, projects and to-do lists. You can record your meetings and track how much time you spend on a task.
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• Trello is another popular app that allows you to create columns for “to do”, “in progress”, “complete”, and more.
• Microsoft To Do is a task management application that helps manage projects and more. Includes a daily planner. You can set one-time or recurring dates and reminders from the bills of meetings.
You can choose, like me, to go the old-fashioned way and use a wall calendar, or a paper day planner binder to list your assignments and to-dos, and check them off when you’re done. Nothing makes me happier than this simple physical action.
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However, I set visual reminders for virtual meetings to appear on the screen of my MacBook Air AAPL, -0.06% every morning, and make sure all incoming e-invites are dropped off there. I also set an alarm on my iPhone to alert me shortly before I have a meeting or phone call scheduled.
Move out of your office. When people feel low on energy, it’s often because they don’t clean up as they go. Inboxes are overflowing. Their office is a disaster. File drawers are crowded.
Establish an organized filing system. Arrange the furniture so that there is no risk of falling on wires or cables. I make a point to clean my desk at the end of each day. Simple habits.
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Find a good photo to inspire. I call myself “go to my happy place.” I close my eyes and visualize a green field in rural Virginia with a sweeping view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I will put the head and sit down. It calms me down, I feel peaceful and my mood changes.
If you want a more concrete focal point, hang a special picture frame on the wall of your office, away from your computer and phone. In this way, you will have to turn to face it, which can move. The very act of directing your attention away from your work opens the door to a day of rest, re-start, and a new perspective. It is exciting and stressful at the same time.
Pay attention to your eyes. Prevent eye strain by placing your computer or computer monitor just above eye level and arm’s length away. And add any natural light to your home office without reducing the contrast of your computer.
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Fix your computer and desk to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Keep your keyboard and mouse level with your elbows when sitting. Sometimes I sit on the trainer and stretch, but I always put a pillow under my laptop to bring it to the right level. I also put a towel or pillow on the small of my back so I don’t move.
Maintain a regular work schedule. Manage your time, so you don’t work more hours than before. Trust me, you’ll do your best work if you pace yourself and know when to take time for your mental and physical health.
Put solid boundaries in place. This is a great thing. A red light warning, this one is easy to ignore, and it will come back to haunt you. You must be careful that co-workers, managers, friends and family do not take advantage of your personal and work time. It could go into one or the other, depending on who it is.
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Seriously, get out of your pajamas. I know the book is called “Great Pajama Jobs,” and you can stay in your pajamas longer than you would take the subway to work. But I find that I am in the mood for work when I pull on a clean jeans or pants that I will happily wear to the office with a turtleneck, or a clean top, and I suspect you will. Of course, if you have a video conference scheduled, set it up, soon.
Stay comfortable with technology. Whether it’s Slack or Zoom messaging, Skype, or FaceTime video meetings, it should be a seamless connection for you. Use organization or time management tools if they help. These include Evernote, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Google Docs, Workplace from Facebook, and Asana.
Have a smart office setup. This is important. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair and desk set up so that your computer monitor and keyboard will not cause any unnecessary strain on your back, eyes, wrists and more. You don’t need to add any physical pressure.
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Don’t forget to eat with an eye on nutrition. Every morning I start at 5:30 am with a cup of black coffee, but 8 am is definitely breakfast time. I make sure I have yogurt or oatmeal and a banana. After that, I took a lunch break, too.
It is important not to skip meals to keep your mind and body strong. It’s so easy to forget to stop to eat well, or just eat all day long when you don’t have a coworker suggesting you run out to grab a bite or go down to the cafeteria. I keep a bag of mandarin oranges in the fridge for snacking and always have a banana on hand.
Stop and take a breath. Get out. Pick up a magazine article to read on the side, or a book – something on your computer to rest your eyes on. Call your mother. Have a cup of tea on your veranda. Walk your dog. Whatever helps you pause and recharge, do it. I like to take a break every few hours and stretch, but you will know what works for you. These breaks are important for your health.
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Talk to your boss and co-workers. Try to schedule daily meetings with your boss so you can be on the same page and check in with your coworkers, so you don’t miss out on office events.
Before closing the day, write down your action plan for the next day. The best way to hit the ground running every morning is to prepare ahead of time.
Ace your virtual meetings. This includes speaking directly with coworkers, managers, and clients via Skype, Zoom, or other video technology.
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Check your equipment. You will need a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Most computers and laptops have these features built in. And if you do a lot of virtual conferences, it might be worth investing in Blue’s Snowball-high-quality external USB microphone (about $ 50) that you can easily plug into your computer. If possible, use an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet and turn off Wi-Fi, so that your connection is faster and more reliable. With today’s fast Wi-Fi connections it’s not always necessary, but depending on your setup it can be a good move.
Do a background check. See what will appear behind you. Whether it’s piles of books, files and piles of paper, or personal items like your vacation photos,
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