How to PROPERLY Work from Home
During this COVID-19 outbreak, many people across the globe are being forced to work from home, and that’s NOT a bad thing. The first thing to recognize is that working from home has becoming more and more popular in recent years. With today’s ample technologies, working from home is easier than ever, and the proper leadership at a company understands that if they hire the right people, micromanagement is not needed. Business leaders can TRUST their work-at-home employees that they’re going to do the work, and do the work right. COVID-19 has obviously forced our hand at this, and there are many uncomfortable with this, but I see this as two fold:
First; life is about being comfortable with things you’re normally uncomfortable with. That’s where you begin to create successful people. Anyone can be comfortable with things that appeal to them and make them happy, but how many people do you know that can easily adapt to things, and be comfortable with the unknown, or be comfortable with change? It takes a really strong mindset to do so.
Second; working from home was going to increase more and more as we approached the year 2030 anyway. This just sped the process up a bit. So now that we’re here, we need to ADAPT…but that’s easier said than done for some, and whether you’re a business owner, manager, or employee, this article is going to take you through steps to learn how to not just ADAPT to the working from home atmosphere, but also to THRIVE and SUCCEED in it!
First thing first; all businesses want and need to succeed. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; if you’re standing still, you’re dying. So instead of complaining about this COVID-19 situation, and/or the work-at-home situation, suck it up, buttercup, and let’s get to work. Because complaining, whining, crying, and moaning NEVER have solved ANYTHING in this world, and they’re certainly not going to do so this time. All complaining does is waste your time, and most importantly, it wastes everyone else’s time, and TIME IS MONEY.
Right now, we need bosses to be leaders, managers to be leaders, and employees to be independent leaders to themselves. Every human being has the wherewithal to do this, but working from home poses difficulties and obstacles to circumvent. Either way, we have to find a way to get this done, and done well, so we can help our respective companies succeed, and so we can salvage the jobs of many. While we focus on the number of people being furloughed and laid off, we don’t focus on the efforts being done to salvage jobs. That’s where working from home TRULY plays a key role; and if this can prove successful for companies, it will not only change part of the platform for companies, it will salvage jobs for countless employees, and it will even salvage companies.
First, let’s focus on the employee, their role, and the challenges they’ll face in working from home. If this were a normal, working-from-home situation, the employee would ideally be the only individual at home, but with school closures and even daycare closures during COVID-19, many people are faced with the additional challenge of having children at home. It’s a challenge, but it’s not an impossibility. Let’s get some key things out of the way first…
1: If you’re working from home, you have been given TRUST BY YOUR EMPLOYER. This trust is NOT something you want to toy with nor lose
2: You are an adult. It is obviously a time where you want to take your responsibilities seriously. Work should NEVER be your number 1 priority, but it is a priority and responsibility, and if you take it seriously, and devote the necessary time to it, you will succeed while working from home.
3: Excuses are for the weak-minded. Think about the times when you need to make excuses in your life. No one makes excuses when good things happen. This is not a time when your boss is going to want to hear excuses. Any good boss expects and appreciates mistakes; they DO NOT, however, expect mistakes to be repeated…they expect mistakes to be learned from. So they know, and they understand that mistakes will be made in this process, ESPECIALLY in the beginning…so don’t worry so much about mistakes you will make; do your best, be honest about your mistakes, and you will notice that things will get increasingly easier as time goes on.
4: Be honest. I can’t stress this one enough. Don’t lie to your boss. This ties in with #1 (trust). If you’re going to lie, you’re going to get caught, and you’re going to be terminated, most likely. There’s no room for lying in the workplace. We already mentioned that any good boss understands that mistakes are going to happen, especially while working from home, but lying only creates a waste of time for you, and your boss. Don’t waste anyone’s time! If you’re taking a break during the day, it may seem silly, but send your boss an email and let them know. You will gain trust by doing so. If you need to run to the grocery store to pick up essentials during the work day, just email your boss or call them, so they know you’re away from your “work station”. And then email or call them up on your return. Do this until they ask you to stop. This will help gain their trust, and allow them to understand how you’re using company time. If you need to stop working because you need to tend to the kids, email or call your boss. See the pattern? COMMUNICATION SAVES JOBS!
5: Do the job! We all know the people that show up to work and log in to Facebook, or some other nonsense social media site. That may be you! Do you like your job? If you do, and you have been trusted to work from home, STOP DOING IT! You don’t think your boss knows when you’re on social media? Come on! If your boss is like me, or your boss is a true leader, your boss knows all that is happening on company time. Keep in mind; you are retained as an employee based on the same weights as the judicial system…in one hand are the “pros” and in the other are the “cons”. Your boss understands no one is perfect, and everyone has “cons”, but when the “cons” outweigh the “pros”, that’s when your job is in jeopardy. (I didn’t come up with that on my own. All the credit goes to MY boss, because he explained that to me 12 years ago! And you know what, it was true then and it’s still true today). When you’re on company time, make sure you’re actually working. You are getting paid to work from home, so do it! Talk with your clients on the phone, on the computer, email clients, speak to colleagues, get work done…be efficient.
6: Working from home can actually allow you to get MORE done than EVER before! Think about it…there’s no water cooler talk, no clowning around, no one to shoot the breeze with. It’s just you being able to dedicate yourself to work. That means that your efficiency, obstacles aside, should increase. It’s a time where you can get lost in your work, and show your boss why you working from home is a benefit to the company, not a downfall. Anytime you can make your boss feel good about something, that’s a good thing.
7: Be organized! Remember when we spoke about mistakes? Well, if you want to mitigate mistakes, you NEED to be organized. This goes back to your days in elementary school. This is what they trained you for. Remember deadlines for school projects, and turning homework in on time? Here we go! In something of a hybrid situation that I like to compare between elementary school and college, this entire situation is in your control, and up to you, and will take all of your school training to get you to do your best. Your very first step in all of this is to be organized. Do you have kids to take care of at home right now? Don’t make excuses for it, make a schedule! Create a routine. Sure; that routine can get messed up, and that’s where your communication comes into play, but if you don’t create yourself a routine and schedule, you’re not going to complete things, and you will quickly suffer the consequences.
8: Always remember that life has consequences. We seem to forget this a lot, and we seem to be a world of excuses today, but if you’re going to successfully work from home, don’t forget about consequences. Stay true to yourself, and stay true to your colleagues and company. If need be, let consequences be one of your motivating factors. One of the key consequences of working from home and proving you weren’t mature enough of an adult to handle that responsibility would be that you would be terminated. Don’t let that happen.
9. Get dressed. I know this sounds simple, but working from home gives people the idea that you can be in your pajamas and get work done, and boy wouldn’t that be cool (insert eye roll here). It’s not cool…it’s lazy. I’m not saying you need to dress up in a suit and tie, but, you should dress the same way you go into the office. Why? Because psychologically speaking, it will put you into work mode. If you’re work mode, you’re going to have higher expectations for yourself. Forget the expectations everyone else, your boss included, can have for you, when human beings truly shine, they test themselves to great limits, and have expectations for themselves no other person possibly could. If you put yourself into this mindset, odds are you will succeed in this working-from-home venture.
10: Space yourself. Everyone’s home is different, but if you can dedicate a quiet, remote space of the house, where it’s harder to be bothered by your family, you’re going to give yourself a great chance at success. Though everyone understands many people are working from home right now, and some kids are at home right now, your clients, boss, and colleagues don’t want to hear the dog barking and kids crying. I’m not saying this will be possible for everyone; and mistakes WILL be made; but try your best to dedicate a secluded area in your home for this venture.
11: For those with kids: This is especially trying for you right now. This is where you NEED to schedule yourself, create a routine, get dressed up everyday into work attire, and put yourself as much into work mode as you can. You work so that you can take care of your family. Your family is priority number 1. If you need to take care of your family, you need to communicate to your company. This, however, is where you may have to create a unique schedule, which means you may have to speak with your boss, and you may have to speak with your spouse regarding specialized work hours during the day, and at night, and on the weekends, yes the weekends. There’s no doubt that this situation sucks. There’s no other way to say it, but even if you are the type of person that doesn’t normally work weekends, but now your productivity during the week is getting cut short because you have children at home, you have to adapt, which means you may have to bite the bullet, and work on weekends. This takes an extreme amount of dedication, but it also shows your company and your boss just how seriously you are taking it. And guess what…if it does come down to people needing to get laid off, I would be hard pressed to lay the person off that was dedicating themselves at that level compared to the person that wasn’t.
12: Talk to yourself. Many people laugh at people that talk to themselves, but the most intelligent people in the world do it all the time. It’s good to check in with yourself and have a meeting, and go over everything. It’s good to look in the mirror and remind yourself that you can do this. It’s good to remember that you are human and you will fail, and that failure breeds success. You can do this, but you have to try your hardest.
For the manager, we aren’t going to create a list because numbers 1-12 all apply to the manager, but there is a special precedence given to COMMUNICATION and TIME. These are the areas where the manager needs to truly shine while working from home. The manager needs to community with employees and the leaders of the company, and needs to make themselves available quite often. The good news for the manager is that they usually don’t need to be interacting with clients as much as their employees, but the downfall is, even with children at home, if an issue comes up for an employee, the manager needs to be available immediately, so they can help with it. If the manager is not available, it could brings things to a halt, and the company can’t afford for this to happen. Ultimately, with so many moving pieces, the company needs to run like a well oiled machine, in order for this to work. The manager is a manager for a reason…they have been trusted with responsibility in the position. Now it’s time to prove that value. That doesn’t mean you need to micromanager form afar, but it does mean you need to make yourself available to your employees’ needs, and you need to communicate with them. You also need to report back to leadership, so they are constantly in the loop. Managers need to be problem solvers at a moment’s notice. If you have children at home and you can’t help with something, make sure you have a backup person your employees can turn to for immediate help.
You have a lot going on during the COVID-19 outbreak, and a lot to coordinate. While numbers 1-12 in the employee section all apply to you as well, your biggest thing is COMMUNICATION and ORGANIZATION. Everyone at the company is looking to you to set everything up. Everyone is trusting you for structure. You are the babysitter of adults…congratulations (insert another eye roll here). You may make good money, but you deserve every single penny because your job sucks. You hear all the complaints, you have to structure everything, and you have make sure everyone is doing everything they’re supposed to. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve the money you make! You do! If you’re a good leader, you have hired the right people that you can trust to do their jobs, and that means they can do their jobs in the office, from home, or on the moon…it doesn’t matter where you put them, they know what they’re doing, and they know how to do it right. Hopefully, they just need you to structure the working-at-home situation, and they can seamlessly continue the operation. You, of course, need to communicate with your managers, and stay on top of everything. You’re not on vacation because you’re at home. You’re still operating a company, and your employees and their families are depending on you. The more organized you are, the easier this will all be. You can ultimately get organized on day number 1, setup a system for yourself, and be able to communicate with everyone you need. If done right, this should be simplest and least painful for you. And because it should be less painful for you, remember how you got to where you are in life? That’s right…you worked your tail off! You could pitch in and help your managers, so the company creates more success. Part of being a good boss means being a leader, and being a leader means leading by example. So if you find that you are well enough organized that you have made the work-from-home situation seamless, help your company, help your employees, help your managers, which will ultimately help yourself!
Working from home is 100% possible. It is possible with a production level of 100% as well! Everyone just needs to be at their very best during these uncertain times.