With a lot of people starting to work from home due to COVID-19, we’re here to provide you with some tips and tools to make the transition easier.
Working from home isn’t easy for everyone. Especially for those who have to take care of their kids while they’re at home. Also, finding a spot to get some work done is hard. However, with some coffee, a structured day, and a little bit of silence, you’ll start feeling productive. Some of our employees at Ab Web work remotely every day and have provided 10 tips to help with working from home.
1. Use Online Communication Tools – Google Apps
Communication is imperative when working remotely. How are you and your coworkers communicating with each other? Figure out what you used at the office and if there’s anything online that can help imitate that. You would be surprised by what you can find.
With Google Workspace or a regular Gmail account, working together online can be easier. Here are a couple of Google apps that we use daily to discuss ideas and stay connected.
Work together within the same document and share seamlessly between you and your coworkers. Discuss ideas, keep each other updated, and never worry about losing your files. To get started on Google docs, you can watch this quick tutorial or read instructions from Google:
Google Hangouts is completely free. allows you to have group conversations, share your computer screen, and video chat. Like Google Docs, a Gmail account is required. The interface is very simple and easy to use.
Slides is Google’s online presentation tools and with the combination of Hangouts, you are able to present to individuals online. Here are some references to get started:
2. Structure your Day – Getting ready, taking breaks, and setting a schedule
Structure your day to stay organized and help keep you productive. As a tip, you should be waking up at the same time as you normally would for work. As a bonus, you’ll find that you have some spare time. Altogether, make your bed, get dressed, grab coffee, and set break times to almost mimic like you were at the office. You’ll find a lot more distractions while you’re at home but if you stick to how your day is scheduled, work productivity is increased. Keep a time log if that helps.
For your breaks, we recommend getting up and going for a walk if you can. Preferably outside. If you have a dog at home, this would be a great time for both of you to get some fresh air! Taking some time away from your screen is the best kind of break.
3. Schedule Regular Meetings with your Coworkers
Keeping up to date with scheduled meetings will help you and your coworkers stay in touch with projects and other work. Not only that, but it will help stay connected and practice proper communication while you’re away from the office. Use a calendar system (we use Google Calendar) to schedule meetings and be prepared by having notes ready.
4. Separate your Workplace (if you can)
We understand that not everyone is going to have a separate room available to work from at home. Alternatively, If you can set up an area where you feel it will receive the least amount of distractions, that would be the next best place. Things you should include in your workspace would be a comfortable chair, good lighting, and enough desk space for your work needs.
5. Turn off social media notifications
If you’re constantly getting notifications from social media, it’s best you turn them off during your work hours. Unless you work directly in social media, there’s no reason to receive constant bings from your phone or other devices.
We understand with COVID-19 being a concern that you’re going to want to know the latest updates. Instead, you can schedule to check up on them on your breaks. Another option would be to turn your local radio station on in the background so it’s not much of a distraction.
6. Set Ground Rules in your Household
If you have other people in your household, setting ground rules will help decrease the number of distractions. Let them know that just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you can leave your workspace all the time. Therefore, let them know the times you are working and that you are not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. If they are too noisy, suggest going outside or find quiet activities that will keep them busy. Headphones are a great option for both you and your household members if they are watching movies/tv-shows or gaming.
Another issue people may have are their internet limitations. Netflix streaming, video games and other streaming platforms take up a lot of your internet data and bandwidth. Your work is a priority so when it comes to internet limitations, setting those boundaries will help when working from home. This may vary between households but is something to keep in mind. You can also install apps to prioritize your work device making sure your work is the #1 priority.
7. It’s Better to Over Communicate then not at all
Letting your coworkers/boss know your progress on a project is not a bad thing and is in fact encouraged. It’s way better to over-communicate than not at all. When you’re working from home, you lose face-to-face connection so making sure everyone is on the same page is a good thing to practice. At AB Web we let each other know what we’re working on in a Google Doc and throughout the day with Google Chat so nobody is working over each other. Also, to make sure no time is wasted.
You should also let people know the best way to reach you. It’s frustrating when people aren’t answering their emails or phones. As a result, determine the best way of communication so that everyone is connected and up to date.
8. Stay Hydrated – Keep a Water Bottle Near You
Staying hydrated isn’t just for people working remotely but we listed it to emphasize its importance. It can reduce the number of headaches and is overall good for your health.
9. Stay Positive and Take Advantage of Working from Home
It’s important that you stay positive during the COVID-19 situation and that there are perks to working from home. Maybe there’s one day during the week you want to wear your pyjamas. Since you have to stay inside anyway, you can do this! You’re also in control of your environment so you can choose the music and adjust the noise level to your liking. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll find what works for you and it’s not a terrible thing to work from home.
10. If you’re sick, take time off
Lastly, if you’re feeling unwell, take some time off to get the rest you need. Your health is a number one priority and if you’re sick, you shouldn’t have to worry about work. Get a good night’s sleep and stay healthy.