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Working from home may become more common as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, but at enCloud9, we have been working from home since our founding in 2008. In fact, you might say – we are experts at it. Because we are experts at working from home, we would like to offer 10 of our best tips to help you keep your productivity (and spirits) high.
enCloud9’s tips for working from home
1. Have a desk/specific area designated for your workspace. If at all possible, this workspace should be separate from your living space. This might include:
- A good work chair. Check local resources for a good used one. (Some prefer sitting on an exercise ball or having a standing desk). Most of us use Herman Miller Aeron chairs – and you can find them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for around $300. Trust us your back will thank you!
- A desk. (Again, there are all kinds of great deals for used desks online). Get one large enough for you to spread out a bit
2. Have all materials needed for you to do your job. Some of the things might need are a good headset, a sufficient computer (possibly a second monitor), pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, Post-its, or index cards.
3. Keep a regular routine. This includes
- Having a set number of hours you work. Cut off work at the end of the day. When you are done, you are done (although particular instances might change this).
- Getting up at the same time you always do. Do the same things you always do in preparation for work (ie, exercise, shower, get dressed, drink coffee).
- Having a regular time set for lunch. Either meet some friends for lunch if possible or just take some time off to read, sit outside, etc… Do something relaxing that you enjoy during this time.
4. Take frequent short breaks. It is a scientific fact that “regular, short breaks can help people to focus, increase their productivity, and reduce their stress.” We know this is true of children, but it also applies to adults. These breaks might include activities such as:
- taking a short walk and getting some fresh air (fresh air is important for the brain to function).
- throwing in a load of laundry
- emptying the dishwasher
- playing with your kids or pets. Take them out to the park or for a short walk.
Use the Pomidoro Technique to get more done. This is a productivity technique that uses a timer to break down work into focused intervals, referred to as Pomidoros. The word Pomidoro comes from the Italian word for tomato, so you’ll also hear this referred to as the tomato technique. There are many apps and websites devoted to this technique. Here is one of our favorites.
5. Drink water and eat healthy foods. Not only will this help you feel better and keep your spirits up, but it will be easier for your brain to focus. Make sure you are getting fresh air and exercise as well. There has been extensive brain research proving the benefits.
6. Think about what time you are most productive. Do your most challenging work during your peak productivity time. I work best at night so home based work suits me well.
7. Also consider what type of work environment lets you focus the most. For some, this may be total quiet. For others, it might be with light music or TV going in the background.
8. Make checklists or have a place to write down the tasks you need to complete.
9. Keep in regular contact with your co-workers. Here at enCloud9, we use Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams allows us to chat, meet, collaborate, or call from anywhere. There are many other tools that enable businesses to take their operations off site. Zoom, GoToMeeting and Slack all offer options for teleworkers as well.
Many companies, such as Microsoft have been allowing and encouraging employees to work from home during this pandemic. In order to promote working from home, 5 different tech companies have recently announced that for a limited time the premium fees on their productivity tools will be waived in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. These companies include Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Zoom, and LogMeIn.
Microsoft will be granting access to the premium E1 tier of Microsoft Teams, which allows for meetings of up to 10,000 participants and normally costs $8 per user. This 6-month trial will roll out globally.
10. Above all, relax and remember this situation is only temporary. It is nice that we have the option of working from home. 30 years ago, it would have been impossible for this many people to work from home. While not every job can be performed from home, it is a luxury that so many jobs can be done at home. Here at enCloud9, we have been successfully working from home and supporting clients all over the world for a long time.
enCloud9 uses its unique approach to help small and medium- sized businesses to increase efficiency and boost productivity through Microsoft’s powerful range of cloud-based software. Since we are experts at working from home, feel free to contact us if you need help implementing any of the programs or ideas mentioned above. We hold a monthly webinar with the purpose of helping you to increase your productivity. Visit our YouTube channel to view past topics and recordings. Join us this Friday, March 20 as we highlight the best productivity updates to Power Apps and Dynamics 365.
Other helpful resources
- Bing has launched a COVID-19 tracker that displays the number of confirmed cases worldwide. The data is broken down into active, recovered and fatal cases, and can be filtered by geographic region. To learn more about this great interactive resource click here. This is updated daily.
- As the spread of the COVID-19 virus becomes more prevalent, many companies might begin to experience a reduction in workers. To compensate for a reduction, business owners should consider preparing their workplaces just in case. In order to properly prepare your business for the COVID-19 virus, we have included this article from KimKomando.