If you are temporarily teleworking due to the Coronavirus, here are some suggestions to help make your life easier.
Set up a place to work that has strong Internet access. If you have a home office, your office should have the ability to hardwire your laptop vs. using wireless technology. If you don’t have a home office, try to find any other room that allows you to hardwire it and set up your temporary office there. If you don’t have hardwiring, then look for the strongest WiFi access for your temporary office.
Limit other usage of the Internet if possible. If you have kids home due to school closings, they are going to want to stream movies & play video games. This is going to put a lot of pressure on your home’s internal broadband. You may need to limit their access to the Internet during certain hours of the day that you need to be on the Internet for work.
Utilize Skype, Zoom, Facetime and other camera based tools to communicate with your supervisor & co-workers. Zoom gives you 40 minutes of time with their Basic plan to connect to up to 100 people. It isn’t a lot of time, but can work for short interactions similar to dropping in on a co-worker. If you have a regular meeting, your company should get a subscription and utilize it to connect visually, if not for any other reason than to foster unity among your team. Be sure that whatever is behind you if acceptable to you as it will be seen by the camera.
Security: Now may be the time to ensure you have a strong password set up or change your WiFi password. You don’t need the kids or the neighborhood logging into your company information. If you work for a highly secure company, be sure to address what can be transmitted from your home to the office to ensure no security breaches.
Remove stressors. If you’ve never teleworked, it could seem overwhelming. Set up break times and lunch. Don’t be afraid to get up and move around to stretch. Have everything you need around you so you aren’t scrambling for paper, pens, folders, etc. If you and your spouse are both working from home, plan for who is going to take care of the kids, whether shifts between you two or bringing in a college student from the neighborhood (if you are comfortable with doing this). And, keep the TV off and stay off news channels. Avoid the distractions that will add stress during working hours. If you have pets and they normally go to Doggie Daycare, they too will be discombobulated being home with you. Plan for who will take them out, play with them and how to handle barking & such that will most likely occur during the day.
From someone that works from home every day, I can tell you that it is an adjustment. While my trick was to get out at least a couple times a week to be with people, that is not an option right now, so this will be especially hard. Virtual communications are going to be more important now than ever.