To slow the spread of COVID-19, many employees have started working remotely. For some, this is an exciting opportunity to skip the long commute and take control of their own work schedule. Others might be uncertain about the change, especially those who aren’t used to working remotely or who have other distractions when at home.
Working from home is a lot harder than you might think. Keeping yourself productive and staying on task is a lot more challenging when you’re working in the comfort (or chaos) of your home. You also might be missing some of the valuable resources and support that you’d normally get in an office.
But with the right mindset — and the right equipment — working from home is possible. Here are the essential items, tools, and habits you’ll need as a crisis telecommuter:
All The Essential Products
Before you start turning your home into a makeshift office, there are a few products you’ll need to survive when working as a crisis telecommuter. Here are a few work items to start with:
- Laptop. This one might seem basic, but you won’t get very far without it. A laptop allows you to work anywhere — your bedroom, the sofa, or a public park. Make sure you have a laptop with plenty of storage and a speedy connection.
- Power bank. A power bank can offer you hours of power on a phone, laptop, or any other device. This means you don’t have to be sitting next to an outlet to do your work.
- Wifi hotspot. Without a strong Wifi connection, it’s hard to keep up with the requirements of your work, let alone keep up with your workplace. It’s crucial that you have a solid and reliable hotspot that allows you to work seamlessly from home and stay in close communication with your coworkers.
Even with a basic setup to handle your work needs, other products can help you stay healthy when working during self-quarantine. Here are some other items you should keep on hand:
- Reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated will do more than just keep you healthy — drinking water throughout the day can help you stay on task and increase your productivity.
- Soap. One of the strongest defenses against the coronavirus is one of the simplest: Soap. Washing your hands several times throughout the day can help keep you — and those around you — safe.
- Hand sanitizer. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can offer another layer of defense against illnesses. When you can’t make it to the sink to wash your hands, use a little bit of hand sanitizer to keep your hands disinfected.
- Masks. Sometimes going outside is inevitable, whether you’re picking up necessary groceries or you need to get out of the house for work. Be sure to wear a mask at all times when you’re outside.
- Clorox wipes. Even if your hands are clean, you need to make sure your new home workplace is disinfected. Every day, take the time to wipe down door handles, cabinets, faucets, desks, lamps, light switches, and other items you may have touched.
Tools to Work From Anywhere
Once you sit down to start your work, there are certain tools you’ll need to stay in the loop. Here are some online tools that can help you keep up with your workplace and get back to your normal routine.
- Slack. This app is a key communication tool that all remote or virtual workplaces should make use of. Through its chat services, you can keep up with all your bosses and coworkers by sending messages, photos, videos, files, and more. Even better, it has a clear organizational system that allows you to split different teams or departments into channels.
- Trello. Another collaborative work management tool you should know about is Trello. This tool organizes projects into boards, which you can use to update your coworkers on what you’re working on and where you are in the process.
- Ringcentral. When it comes to office communication, Ringcentral can help keep you and your coworkers up to date. With a secure chat system, video meetings, file sharing, and integration with other business apps, you can use this tool to enhance your face-to-face connection, even when you’re not in the same room.
Habits for Productivity and Safety
Now that you have all the right tools, it's time to get into the right mindset. Shifting your habits can help you stay productive when working at home — and keep yourself safe during this pandemic.
Working away from the office can be an abrupt change to your routine. To keep yourself focused and on task, you’ll need to develop new productivity habits. These tips can add more structure to your day and keep you from mentally drifting away from your work.
Be sure to drink water regularly — at least half a gallon of water a day spread out from morning until night.
Take breaks to keep yourself from getting overworked. Try using the Pomodoro technique. This strategy involves working for 25 minutes, taking a 5-minute break, and then repeating until your task is done. Take a slightly longer break after every hour of work.
During these challenging times, hygiene is more important than ever. These healthy habits will help you elevate your hygiene routine and stay one step ahead of the outbreak.
Start by washing your hands. Experts recommend you wash your hands regularly and for about 20 seconds at a time.
Another tip is to avoid touching your face. It might be second nature for you to scratch your nose, lean your head on your hand, or rub at your eyes. But do your best to keep your hands away from your face at all times to avoid spreading bacteria into your system.
Changing the Scenery
While many are calling the new coronavirus workplace “work from home,” you don’t actually have to work from your own home. As a crisis telecommuter, you can work from anywhere — as long as you practice social distancing.
If you’re working from home, resist the temptation to lay down on your bed or lounge on your sofa. This will make you more prone to distractions, like taking a nap or switching on the TV. Instead, try to designate a home office, whether it’s a separate room or just a desk in the corner of a room.
You can even try moving your workplace somewhere more unconventional, like a space in your backyard or a local park.
Although contact with others should be avoided, you can also find another space that’s safe to work from. For example, instead of a crowded coffee shop or cafe, you may be able to find a restaurant that’s fairly isolated. Just be sure to bring plenty of wipes, hand sanitizer, and masks to keep yourself safe.
The Bottom Line
It’s not easy leaving the routine and the resources of your office space. But difficult times call for difficult measures. With the right equipment and tools, you can create your own productive, healthy space for work, no matter where you go.
And who knows? You might actually find yourself enjoying the WFA life.
Are you prepared to make the switch and work from anywhere? Learn more about how our Wifi hotspot and data services can get you connected on the go — any time, anywhere.