In times of Corona, many companies decide to have their employees working from home rather than meeting at the office. This decision makes a huge impact on the employees daily working life and brings some consequences along. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, VPN and Sharepoints definitely help a good workflow but besides the technical side a pleasant work atmosphere is also important. We figured out some helpful hints and tricks how to make work from home productive and more convenient.
How to build yourself a suitable workspace
Having a good workspace or even better your own office at home helps your working life from home. If you have a study you can move there, if not try to set up yourself a working space. Your work space should not be in your bedroom. Always try to keep a clear spatial separation between working hours and leisure time. Since you do not have the physical distance you usually have built between home and office, setting boundaries is very important.
Schedule your day and share the schedule with your family or roommates and colleagues. That helps you to structure your working day but also to find an end. Communicate breaks in a proper way – use e.g. the availability button on Microsoft Teams to make your colleagues aware that you are offline. Inform your fellows by either sharing your break schedule, marking your working time by closed doors or putting up a “Please do not disturb”/“I am currently working” sign.
A good desk and desk chair are crucial equipment for homeoffice. Since you have a long screen time your eyes are strained – best for them is if you place your desk sideways a window to have good lighting conditions. Anyway, try not to sit the whole day. Maybe there is a possibility to work standing up? If not, you should stand up time by time or walk around the room while having a telephone conference or doing brainstorming. Further, there will probably be noise that you cannot cut, but you can try to minimize it by using earplugs or wearing noise cancelling headphones.
Besides these tips you should feel comfortable at your workspace: Cozy up your desk or office by placing house plants in your study or using your favorite mug. For your well-being you can also take your laptop for half an hour and work in the fresh air from the balcony or from the garden.
Even when you work from home, you should maintain your daily routine: Set an alarm, put on the clothes you would wear in the office, and end your working day properly. It will give you the feeling of having a normal working day and helps you to separate work from leisure time.
Workflow and software
To make team work successful and efficient in the homeoffice, general information should be communicated openly. In order to communicate official appointments or general information you can set up groups in Microsoft Teams or create appointments and invite your team.
When it comes to keeping a good and enhanced workflow, everyone in the team should keep up the team communication, regular update calls help to keep your colleagues informed about the projects you are currently working on and make your work steps transparent. These calls can only last 15 to 20 minutes each day but it will help to optimize the workflow and teamwork.
Video or phone calls can be held via Microsoft Teams, Skype or other platforms. These live team calls allow to bring a feeling of teamwork, complex tasks or projects could be discussed in these virtual meetings. When it comes to communicating tasks, urgent but not complex topics can be transmitted in the chat or by email. Critic should best be offered in one-to-one video or phone calls since written text give a bigger room for interpretation. This can lead to misunderstanding or dissatisfaction. Try to weigh up the decision for a channel carefully.
Further, communicate working hours and availabilities openly, this supports an efficient workflow and helps your colleagues to schedule their teamwork. Try to keep in mind that your colleagues cannot see whether you are at your desk or e.g. taking a break.
Breaks at the homeoffice
Regular breaks are important for efficient and varied work at home. Best is to schedule breaks every 90 minutes. During working hours, you should get fresh air in your study and when taking a longer break open the window completely for rush airing and ventilating the room.
To communicate absence to the team you can set the availability button in Microsoft Teams or Outlook manually.
These breaks do not have to be coffee or lunch, spend your breaks in the garden or on the balcony. You can use the interruptions to prepare yourself some fresh fruits or vegetables, smoothies, juices or a good cup of coffee. When you sit the whole time, stretching and breathing exercises can help to relax and ease your body.
When you decide to make a longer break you can insert an exercise unit such as yoga, fitness, workout or even meditation. This can clear your mind and helps you to gain new energy for your further working day. After work you can do walks or cook a balanced meal. You can also use the time to start a Do It Yourself Project or simply moving your body by doing sports. For fitness or yoga at home you can search for workout channels at YouTube or try to find yourself a matching yoga/workout app.