Work From Home 101

Establish a WFH Team Strategy

  • Plan the team’s WFH schedule; determine who is full-time, partial, or on a rotating schedule
  • Determine core work hours, when to start/end the workday, and when to break for lunch based on the team’s time zones
  • Schedule routine video check-ins, either daily or bi-weekly, to align agendas
  • Prioritize communication channels i.e., IM first, then email, then call

Plan Your Environment

  • Mirror office conditions at home with a proper work surface, a good task chair, monitor(s), mouse, and keyboard
  • Consider alternative locations to support diverse work styles: a formal desk, comfortable seating areas, or focused work in the quietest place in your home.

Tech Tips

  • Testing, testing – Schedule a practice meeting with a family member to check that lighting is adequate for video calls, check camera angle, and practice muting
  • Pick a simple camera background for video calls so that what is behind you doesn’t distract participants from what you have to say
  • Availability indicators – Skype, MSFT Teams, etc. have options to set your availability status. Establish a guideline among your team to keep IM status current & reiterate the importance of respecting “do not disturb.”

New Normal

  • To keep your routine, start and end your day the same way before WFH became the new normal
  • Dress for your day – Business casual adds a professional tone to the virtual work environment. If you are used to shaving every day or wearing makeup, continue doing that
  • What fuels your day? If Starbucks is critical, plan to make your way to a drive-thru or set the coffee pot in your kitchen to brew automatically
  • If you exercise before work or over the lunch hour, continue doing so

Repurpose Your Commute Time

  • Go for a walk | Read a book or an article | Call friends & family | Make new connections on LinkedIn | Take a power nap | Prepare healthy food options for the day

Bad Habits to Avoid

  • The sofa is tempting, but not the best ergonomic for working long periods
  • Avoid screen glare and be mindful of changing light conditions throughout the day
  • Fight the urge of junk food as a snack
  • Dodge having the TV on as “background noise,” it’s only a distraction
  • Set limits – Time flies when you WFH, and it’s easy to forget to break for lunch. Set the alarm at 10AM, noon, and 3PM to remind you to step away from your computer and stretch your legs

Virtual Meeting Etiquette

  • Use mute and stay muted unless speaking | Keep it classy, no pajamas | Wait to eat until off video | Know if bad elevator music plays when on hold | Don’t lurk, announce presence as soon as you join | Don’t be a heavy breather | When caught multi-tasking, don’t ask for a replay | know how your pets react to FedEx deliveries
  • For information on Managing Virtual Teams, read our Workplace Strategist’s advice on adjusting to the new normal here.