How to Work from Home

This article was written by Tracy Dawson of Jack Hammer – Africa’s largest executive search firm.

 

If you’re lucky enough, privileged enough and sufficiently ‘enabled’ from a technological perspective, you might just find yourself working from home a bit over the next weeks or months. Here’s some advice from a professional occasional remoter.

1. Get dressed for work.
Shave, put on your makeup (probably not both), brush your hair and teeth, and don’t forget the deodorant.

Working in your pyjamas might sound like fun, but it’s not. And you’re going to be taking video calls if you can, so don’t be caught in your onesie! More importantly – you’re priming yourself for work. Look and feel like a pro, even if the only people who’ll see you are your children.

2. Set out a workspace.
If you actually have a home office, good for you. If not, you need to make a space to work. This might be one of your kids’ bedrooms, or the dining-room table, but it’s important that you can be either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of office. Even better if you can close the door.

3. Respect your working hours and practices.
You don’t have to take your cell phone to the loo with you, and you’re allowed a lunch break. If you’re working thoughtfully, in fact, you want to step away from your desk for ten minutes every couple of hours. Have a cup of tea, sit in the sun, appreciate how lucky you are.

4. Manage your anxiety.
It can be really difficult to adjust to an environment where nobody is watching you work. The answer? Work beyond reproach. You know how much you can and should get done in a day. Do that, and a little more. You’ll be amazed how good that feels.

5. Keep in touch with your peers.
Those ‘coffee’ chats around the kettle can be a really important part of your life – you won’t realise that until they’re gone. Try regular ‘connect’ calls that aren’t only about work. Even better – consider something like an ‘InTheFlow’ activity which is a tried and tested way of keeping remote teams connected and caring. Debbie Goodman-Bhyat (who is also the CEO of Virtual Coaching Partners) designed and tested this with Jack Hammer’s vastly distributed team, and it really works.

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