How to boost your career whilst working from home
If you’re reading this, you’re either working from home or just about to do so thanks to the anti-Coronavirus measures ordered by your government.
This might seem rather challenging right now, but remember that everyone has wobble moments and dark thoughts. So don’t be overwhelmed by what you see in the news. Look at this as an opportunity to raise your energy and find genuine passion for what you do.
Look at the bright side: the most immediate benefit of working from home is the fact you’re no longer spending time and money commuting to your office or job site. Your other major perk is the freedom to arrange your work-space and work schedule with far greater flexibility than you’ve enjoyed in the past.
These are wonderful advantages, so let me share some simple strategies and advice on how to be a confident, happy and productive home worker.
Don’t Let Life Keep Getting in the Way
Yes, having full control of your schedule is great. Listen to music if you like. Raid the fridge for a snack when the urge hits. Pay a few bills online. And now you can finally get that little DIY project done as you’ve always intended.
But watch out. These little tasks quickly eat away at the time and before you know it, you’re not getting anything else done. It’s very easy to put off essential work for “later”, only to find that several hours have flown by without “later” actually happening.
So set daily (or even hourly) goals for work with phone alarms to keep you from getting distracted. Then prioritise to be sure nothing’s left until the last moment. This is simple enough, of course.
But when you’re no longer in a professional environment, you’ll need to pay extra attention to get tasks finished on time.
If necessary, wear headphones to shut out the world and minimise disruptions.
Only Work During Working Hours
Depending on the nature of your job, you might have the opposite problem to not getting things done. Your work/life balance might disappear completely.
Where are the boundaries now? When should you be working? When should you be switched off so you can spend time on yourself and your family?
The best solution is to use a dedicated work-space only during agreed working hours. That space could be as simple as having a separate desk for work and only for work. That space might be something much more elaborate instead. But the point remains: when you’re in that work-space, you’re working.
When you’re not in that dedicated space, you’re on your own time.
If necessary, set an alarm on your phone to tell you when it’s time to step away and relax.
Has Everyone Forgotten Me?
Since you won’t be meeting bosses or co-workers in person now (naturally, this can be a huge relief in some cases), you’ll need to keep in regular contact by phone, email or collaboration tools such as Skype.
However, there’s a Goldilocks zone here. Too much interaction can annoy people who are busy getting things done. Too little can leave people wondering if you’re still an essential contributor.
You might also feel stressed at not getting a response to that important email … yet.
Since you can’t visit the non-replying cubicle or office in person, you might over-react with follow-up emails and messages.
So think realistically about how often you check in at the office. Try to maintain that same level of contact. Remember that everyone else is a home working virgin right now too. Don’t take it personally if you’re not getting the right feedback level at first.
Most teams will be organising conference calls to establish priorities and keep things moving in the right direction.
Make an extra effort to be heard during these calls. It’s too easy to become invisible when you’re only a virtual presence, so offer useful ideas, say yes to projects, ask good questions, and be helpful wherever possible.
This is good advice at any time, but it’s much more crucial when your personal contact with co-workers no longer includes spontaneous hallway meetings or lunch or happy hour discussions.
This of this as building your trademark and promoting the value of what you’re doing well. Remember, we could all be working from home for longer than we think. So get into the habit of thinking of how you can make a difference while making sure others know about your valuable contributions.
Just Do It
This probably isn’t the first home working virgin article you’ve read lately.
In fact, you might have already visited multiple websites promising the best way to organise your new home office, the most useful apps, and winning tips on how to dress and act when working from home. There’s no end of software, gadgets and checklists you could be using to create your ideal working environment.
Go ahead and look at a few options if you must.
But don’t get obsessed over details like this. That’s because you really don’t need much to be an effective home working virgin. All it takes is a desk, a comfortable chair, and a computer connected to the Internet.
Simply open up your laptop and get to it. The more time you spend trying to get things just right, the less likely you are to accomplish anything. Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.
Start with something that works. Establish a few good work habits and processes. Define your initial boundaries. Then evolve and improve with experience.
The Final Word
Above all, make an effort to build your self-confidence during what might be a very stressful time. Working from home might be something new, but you don’t have to fall apart or be in panic.
It helps to think flexibly. Think about opportunities. Think healthy thoughts. After all, it’s flexible and positive people who are going to survive these challenging times the best.
With the right mindset, you won’t just survive your working from home experience. You’ll thrive!
If you have any questions about how to make the best of your newfound status as a new full time home worker, be sure to contact us completing the form on this page.