*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com
With the coronavirus and modern workforce trends leading to an increase in working from home, AV integrators should consider these tips for remote workers.
By now, you know the novel coronavirus is slamming the economy and keeping organizations around the world from doing business as usual.
More than 109,500 cases have been confirmed globally, and more than 3,800 have died. In the U.S., those figures are 423 and 19, respectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those infected or those who have come into contact with a sick person are quarantined and can’t go to work, leaving many to work remotely or from home.
For integrators, that could mean your designers, salespeople, marketing staff or other administrative functions are working from home or remotely.
For those new to working from home, it can be a challenging adjustment. Here are some tips to help you and your employees adjust to this evolving situation and what is ultimately becoming a more prevalent trend in the modern workforce.
Create a home workspace
When you moved to your current home, did you put a desk in that room you never use? Now is the time to consider setting it up to mimic your desk at work, CompTIA says.
Try to avoid working in places where you relax, like the couch, your bed or the kitchen table. Work can be stressful and you shouldn’t bring that stress into your comfort zones. This should be a quiet place that’s free from distractions like a TV, pets or other family members.
You should make an effort to recreate the tech you have in the office, like a stable internet connection, a scanner/printer, multiple monitors, backup hard drives and possibly even a portable hot spot in the event of a power outage or home internet disruption.
Make sure you have access to all of the collaboration apps, conferencing tools and data your company provides from your home.
If your organization has a lot of remote workers, you should consider creating a work-from-home security policy. Chances are that their home network is not nearly as secure as the network in the office.
Require your remote workers to use a VPN when accessing your organization’s network and, writes Neil Feather, chief innovation officer at SiteLock.
Go to lengths to make sure endpoint security solutions on all remote worker devices is up to date and secure.
It’s also a good idea to make sure employees aren’t working on their personal devices that aren’t equipped with your organizations endpoint security solutions.
Maintain a routine and set boundaries
If you’re a creature of habit like the rest of us, you and your employees probably have a solid work routine nailed down.
It can be easy to get thrown off of that routine in a completely new work environment like your home.
If you take regular walks while in the office, do that at home. If you go to the gym before work or at lunch, do that at home.
Don’t let your work life encroach too much on your home life, says the World Economic Forum.
Set a workday schedule, like you would do in the office. It can be easy to start work earlier or later than usual while at home with nobody holding you accountable, but you should hold yourself to your normal routine and give yourself the breaks and time off you’re usually afforded.
For many, television can provide some needed background noise, but it can also be a distraction. If you don’t have a dedicated office space, consider turning off the TV.
If you have one in your office, make sure you can still get your work done with the TV on in the background.
Make sure the office is set up for work, not fun. If that doubles as your gaming room, move the console into another room while you’re working.
Get out of your sweatpants & get dressed
It’s important to continue to follow your normal routine so you get into work mode. For me, that doesn’t include staying in my pajamas. I need a shower, a hearty breakfast, a few cups of coffee and business casual clothes to get me ready to work.
Studies show that when you dress for work, you maintain professionalism, are more productive, stay in line with company culture and help keeps you insulated from other distractions.
At the very least, put on a nice shirt and try to look like you didn’t just roll out of bed. Nobody wants to see your old t-shirt and bed head in a videoconference call.
For me, pajamas mean I get to be lazy, and that’s not a feeling I want to have when it’s time to get work done.
Remember: you’re still at work
It can be easy to forget that even though you may be working in your home office, your couch or your back porch, you’re still responsible for getting your work done. Hold yourself accountable by being transparent with your superiors about what your plans are for the day. Come up with a list of things you need to accomplish and communicate that list to your boss.
For many, working from home is a chance to get more work done than usual, so use it as an opportunity to get ahead on projects.