While many of us are new to this wild world of working from home with our families, pets and endless distractions abound, it's helpful to remember that there are veterans among us to lead the way.
Below are 24 candid tips collected from the Snom and VTech US sales team. They are our road warriors, our fully-remote band of love-able goofballs who are here to help the rest of us get through this new horizon. They've mastered the call of the home office and provide a little fun and a lot of advice for those remote-novices out there.
We hope that you enjoy :)
24 Tips in No Particular Order:
- Designate a separate place in your home as your 'office.' It helps to keep me from going stir crazy and it lets me leave work behind when I'm done for the day.
- Go buy a lock for your office door...when it's locked....it means Don't Bother Me!!
- Keep a glass of water with you at your desk and maybe some snacks like almonds or dried fruit.
- Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone rather than to conduct everything over email. Not only can it be more efficient, but sometimes things get lost in translation over email and/or the tone can be misinterpreted.
- Establishing and sticking to routines.
- Exercising first thing in the morning. I used to go to the gym everyday but now it’s a long walk with the dog.
- Taking short breaks throughout the day.
- Having a real lunch break - no phone and don’t check email. Whatever is happening can wait - you need a break! You also need to let everyone in the house that this is you taking a break, not time for you to run an errand or fix the sink etc., this is time you need to shut down and refresh.
- Cocktails at 6:00 while cooking dinner ☺
- Make yourself take breaks during the day for lunch or for a 10-minute walk.
- Turn the hot tub on around 4PM so it is ready to go at 5PM.
- Make sure the bottle of wine is chilled for your hot tub at 5:01!
- Set regular work hours and know your personal most productive times, I am a morning person so that is when I try to reach out to most of my customers. If you normally work 8-5, keep it that way, and at 5, shut off the computer and walk away. It's too easy to keep working, which will cause a quick burnout.
- It's okay to work in your PJ's! Just be careful if you do a video call!
- Buy a small wall mounted white board. It's productive to stand and map out your day.
- Set yourself up with at least 2 monitors - you will be very frustrated if working from home on a laptop when you are used to multiple monitors.
- Overall, while most think working at home is easy, it is harder than you think - at first everyone in the house thinks you are home so you are available to them. Set some ground rules early on regarding how to communicate while working at home, my wife will email or text me from the other room instead of walking in and potentially interrupting a conference call or when I am in the middle of a project.
- You may be surprised that you will be more productive working at home; no office distractions, no one stopping by your desk to discuss your weekend, TV shows or last night’s game. For the same reason you will find it can be lonely if you do not step away for breaks, lunch and to talk with your family.
- Light a candle in your office. It's peaceful and provides Zen.
- Pay attention to ergonomics.
- I am more productive when I dress up for the day.
- Read Eat that Frog.
- Realizing at 10pm that you never went outside today! Don't let that happen!!
- While on a conference call you start feeling dread because no one cared about your idea, and then realizing you were muted the whole time! Remember to mute and unmute appropriately.