This is a scary time for everyone and uncharted territory. Many companies have mandated voluntary or mandatory work from home programs during the coronavirus pandemic. This is brand new for a lot of people and if this is your new reality, you may not know where to start. IGG Software happens to be an expert on working from home. Since the company started in 2004, all IGG employees have worked remotely. Over the years, we have come close to perfecting the “virtual commute.” We’ve also learned a lot along the way that we would like to share.
This is the number one thing you will need to work from home. Do you have a company-issued laptop you are going to use or are you expected to use your own? Your company should have a secure system in place to set you up with any websites or systems you may need access to. Plan on this taking a little while to get set up. If your company has an IT manager, imagine how busy they must be right now! IGG has an internal Wiki that contains all of the relevant information and directions for setting up the various accounts to do our jobs. This frees up the System Administrator and allows employees to troubleshoot issues should something go wrong when he/she is not available. Will you need access to a web-based phone app or will you be expected to use your own? What message app are you going to use to communicate with your manager and coworkers?
Another thing to make sure you have is high-speed internet. If yours at home is just so so, you may be able to upgrade through your provider during this time. Having your equipment in order will make this time a lot less stressful and able for you to be a productive employee.
Routine is an important one. Come up with and do your regular routine like you were leaving to go to work. Do you work out in the morning? Eat a hearty breakfast? Make lunch? Everything you normally do should be done while working from home. It helps you get into “work mode.”
And the one thing you should definitely do that most people neglect is get dressed! Something I personally struggle with is don’t work all day in your pajamas you slept in, it does not set the tone for the day that you are there to work. Even if I am only changing from pajamas to leggings and brushing my teeth, I am dressed!
James from IGG Software, suggests that although you are in your house, keep your tasks separate and try not to do house chores such as starting a load of laundry during work time. Try to keep set hours that you will work. Will you work your normal office hours or will you need to modify your hours based on what else will be going on in your house? Whatever you decide, it is best to try to start and end your workday at the same time. James also suggests really shutting down and not checking work emails or return to your work station after work time is over.
Are you sharing your workspace with your spouse that is also working from home or maybe your kids that are now doing their school work from home? Nancy from IGG shared this creative tip for her family’s workspace. The best thing my husband and I have done was to hire an imaginary co-worker, “Linda”. We blame her for everything which has really helped keeping the joy in our relationship. And screaming “LINDA – PUT YOUR DISH IN THE SINK!” is a great stress reliever. Plus, we think we are hilarious.
Where are you going to work from home? You may never have had to think about this before but now you need a workspace. Not everyone has the ability to have a dedicated home office so what’s your next best option? Will you work in your bedroom at a desk or maybe the kitchen table? John from IGG Software says finding a quiet, comfortable place to work is important.
When we bought our house, there was a little cutout desk in the kitchen with just enough room for my laptop and a slim chair, it was perfect and is where I do most of my work from home. What about if working from the comfort of your bed works best for you? Go ahead! Finding the spot you will be most productive will take a bit of trial and error. Wherever you plan on working, dedicate it to be a working space and set it up for your needs.
Breaks are important to split up the workday. Do you know who is happiest about people working from home? Your pets! My dogs are very needy and refuse to be more than 6 ft away from one of us so they are very happy with this current quarantine. So take your dog for a walk during your lunch. It gets you out of the place you are working and living in and breaks up the monotony. It is easy to just keep working or eat in your work area because you are already there, but it is a good idea to step away from your work station and return refreshed.
Jason from IGG Software says not sitting for too long a stretch is really helpful. Moving around, stimulates circulation and breathing, and raises conscious energy.
I had never worked remotely prior to joining IGG Software. I was used to seeing my coworkers in person and getting to know them. The thought of getting to know my coworkers over a screen was foreign to me and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get used to it. I now know there was nothing to be worried about, IGG employees are great at making a connection through the screen much like the Love is Blind show. I have only met Ian in person from IGG Software, but I talk to my other coworkers on a daily basis. I feel like I know so much about their lives and they are always interested in what’s going on in mine life and with my family.
We mostly use Slack for internal communication. But also at times talk on the phone. Video calls and Zoom are another way companies are staying in touch. You may start to feel isolated from your work BFF while working from home, so make sure you are connecting where you can. Check-in on your coworkers, see how their day is going, send a funny (work-appropriate) joke. Also, make sure you are checking in with your manager daily to let them know what you are working on and if they have any additional tasks you should be focused on.
We are hoping everyone is adjusting to their temporary normal. We love to hear from you, please share any working from home tips you have learned.
From all of us at IGG Software, be safe and be well!