Whether planned before the world went crazy, or as a result of your company’s response to COVID-19, the shift to working remotely is not easy for many. And while we can’t claim to be experts, enPower was founded on the virtual office model. Our team has been working from home from day one and we’ve learned a few things over the years that we think might be helpful to those suddenly clearing off their dining room tables to make way for computers and notebooks.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will share tips and tricks we have picked up along the way to help you be better, more focused and more productive when working from home. But remember – be patient with yourself. Yes, the work needs to get done, but the shift to being successful, productive and happy in a remote work setting is one that takes time. There are both physical and mental challenges to overcome as you work to set up your office, stay connected to your team and learn to thrive in an environment that encourages distraction and lends itself to feelings of isolation.

One key thing we have learned – meeting those challenges isn’t something that happens by accident. If you want to be successful in a remote work environment, your actions need to be intentional. So, let’s start at the start of your day.

Today’s Focus: Setting a Schedule

Working from home might seem completely different than working in a traditional office, but in reality, many of the routines and practices are the same. One of these is planning your day. Just because you now have the option of attending conference calls in your Star Wars pajamas doesn’t mean you don’t still need a daily plan.

Ask the Questions

Take some time and map out your typical day. Ask yourself:

  • What time do I need to start work? You’re going to want to be consistent.
  • When should I plan my breaks? Do they need to happen at a set time or can I be flexible?
  • How long and when is my lunch break?
  • What time is my day over?
  • What will I do with the time that used to be committed to my commute?

One other thing to ask yourself during this time of Stay Safe, Stay Home, is: What potential interruptions will I have and how will I deal with them? Will you need to break to help kids with schoolwork? Will you need to share tablespace with another family member working remotely? Right now there are a lot of complications you might not otherwise have to deal with, so it’s important not to ignore them when mapping out your daily routine.

Talk it Out

Once you get a general take on your day, communicate it to anyone who needs to know. Let your co-workers know your availability. Check-in with your managers to make sure you’re on the same page schedule-wise. And, in today’s crazy world, have that same discussion with anyone occupying your living space or who will be impacted by your availability or lack thereof. That might be a spouse, kids or even your Great Aunt Edna who came for a visit in March and it seems now may never leave. You might even want to post your schedule so that it’s clear to others when you are working and when you are free.

On a side note, you might also want to let your pets know. Pets who aren’t used to sharing their couch might become confused by this change to their routine. It’s okay, you can talk to them, we won’t judge. You’ll soon find that working remotely lends itself to some intense conversations with your pets, and that’s totally normal. But to start, let them know where they stand. Move over, Fluffy, mama is working from home and the sunlight on the dining room table is hers from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Let’s Do It

If you want to succeed in this new work environment, it’s going to take focus, intentional planning and action. Your first step – get that base schedule set and let anyone impacted know your plan. Post it in plain view. And commit to it.

Once that your routine is set, you can begin to channel your energy on your work. And we are going to be here to help you along the way. Look for tips in our next blog on setting up your home office.