With many of us working from home this week, we thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some tips and best practices for telecommuting that will help you make the most of your at-home office. These tips are applicable to anyone working from home; whether you’re telecommuting due to sickness, for convenience, or you’re someone whose physical circumstances make it difficult to access a typical office environment, there’s something here for you.
It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re working from home. The set-up is not always ideal, and there are bound to be extra distractions. Take a look at the following tips to stay on task and comfortable in your at-home office environment.
Eliminate Background Noise
Noise-cancelling headsets help to keep your focus off the outside world and onto your work, and the attached mic allows you to participate in virtual meetings, use speech recognition to control your PC, or use dictation to write emails hands-free. Less expensive options like the Microsoft LifeChat Headset(new window) provide entry-level performance, while Dragon Dictation-certified options like the Jabra EVOLVE 75 Headset(new window) provide exceptional clarity and comfort.
Practice Good Ergonomics
Proper ergonomic positioning is essential for achieving long-term focus and comfort. Take a look at our ergonomic checklist(new window) to see if your workstation is up to par.
The StayFocused extension(new window) for Chrome is a great tool for limiting or blocking distracting web sites, and productivity/task management apps such as Todoist(new window) keep you on track and organized, whether you work from a PC, smartphone, or tablet.
Most office environments provide fast, dedicated internet connections, as well as a physical space to interact with clients. When you’re working from home, you might be forced to make do with less-than-ideal internet connections, and, you’ll be relying on video conferencing apps to stay connected with clients and co-workers.
Monitor your Wi-Fi
Apps like Google Wi-Fi(new window) allow you to better manage the devices on your network. With Google Wi-Fi, you can pause, monitor and prioritize Wi-Fi devices with ease, so your at-home “colleagues” won’t slow down your video meetings by watching YouTube videos or gaming online.
For crisp, easy-to-use video conferencing and screen sharing, try Zoom(new window). Joining a Zoom meeting takes only a couple of clicks. One-on-one meetings are free and easy to organize, and meeting participants are not required to download the app.
Tap into Remote Resources
If you need to provide or receive IT support, or, connect to your office computer from home, TeamViewer(new window) has you covered. Connecting via TeamViewer is easy, secure, and free for personal use.
Once you have the basics covered, take a look at these tips designed to help further maximize your productivity while working from home.
Consider a Second Monitor
Plugging your laptop into an external monitor(new window) allows you to run multiple apps at once, compare documents and research, stay on top of emails, and much more. With this additional digital workspace, you’ll find you get a lot more done at home, and you probably won’t want to go back to using a single screen.
Fill your Calendar
If you don’t already have access to a digital calendar, start simple. Create a Gmail(new window) or Outlook(new window) account and take advantage of the built-in calendar to effectively keep track of your tasks and appointments. Consider breaking down your larger projects into smaller, more manageable chunks. Your day will be more structured, and bigger tasks won’t seem as daunting.
Collaborate with Office 365
Connecting with your colleagues at home is easy with Office 365(new window) and supporting apps. Office 365 instantly syncs your work across all devices, and Microsoft Teams(new window) allows you to collaborate, chat, and call from anywhere.
This post originally appeared on the AT Help Desk(new window) website.