Teleworking has long been one of those flexible work arrangements that some companies have offered their employees. However, today, the COVID-19 crisis has made work from home a necessity for many. However, remote work can be challenging for employees and employers.

To help, here is a list of tips for employees  to become most productive when working from home:

Be sure you follow your employer’s guidelines

Most employers have a remote work policy or guidelines for those working from home or other remote locations.  Be sure you review and understand these expectations.  Many organizations have employees sign an acknowledgement of their policy.

Set up a separate “workspace” at home

The most important thing to do is to set up a dedicated workspace for yourself. Use your home office area or arrange a table and a chair in a secluded section of your house. This way, there are fewer distractions, and your dedicated workspace will help you focus on the tasks at hand.

Make arrangements for tech issues

Strong network connectivity, a functioning laptop or desktop computer, and possibly a webcam are just a few of the tools you require when working remotely. Make sure you speak with your work supervisor to understand company information security requirements. Also, you may need a  VPN or other secure connection to access office files from home.  Be sure to save and back-up work as needed. Additionally, check your laptop to see if it functions correctly ahead of time if possible.

Maintain your normal business hours

It’s normal to feel laid back when working remotely. But this can lead to a wealth of problems. Whether you are full-time, part-time or even in a temporary assignment, you should stick to your normal office hours. This will give your day better structure and allow you to work more effectively with others with whom you interact.

Act like you are at your place of employment

It’s easy to get distracted when working from home. You may spend too much time talking to your family, playing with your children, or browsing your social media profile. Don’t do this. Assume that you’re at the office, and don’t do anything that you normally wouldn’t at work. Set expectations with those you live with.

Create an agenda with a To-Do list and complete the day’s tasks. Don’t use this opportunity to run personal errands. Remember, you’re at work.

Stay connected with your work colleagues

Check in regularly with your supervisor. Collaborate with your teammates as needed.  Make sure you understand the tools your organization uses to facilitate these efforts.  This is where collaboration tools help.  Emails and conference calls may work well in many situations.  Other tools such as Skype, Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Google Hangouts, etc. may be used as well. Staying connected ensures that you are on the same page as your supervisor and teammates. It helps with assignments underway, as well as new expectations.

Schedule your breaks in advance

Do you feel you’re taking more breaks than usual when working from home? That’s quite common. But it’s also a dangerous habit. The best way to overcome this problem is to schedule your breaks in advance. For example, set a timer for every 2 hours and take a 5-10 minute break. You can use this time to stretch your legs, go through your social media, or grab a snack.

Make your calls post-lunch

After lunch, you may feel more fatigued or tired. This is a time to schedule work related calls.  When you engage in high-energy activities like phone conversations, you don’t feel so drained.

Stay Safe and Healthy

We hope these steps will help you stay safe, healthy and productive while you work from home. Remember to follow CDC Guidelines as well as state and local directives regarding COVID-19.