The idea of working from home is not new, but the concept has received much more attention and participation during the COVID-19 pandemic. I recall when this idea first began with Friday being the usual day to work from home. During my career, I never routinely worked from home. I did work at my home a lot taking calls at night or early in the morning. There are plenty of benefits to working from home in our massively global society. Working from home can help mitigate the challenge of managing worldwide teams. One of the key terms in the phrase working from home is work. As employees, if we commit to working from home, we should ensure the same level of work output as if we were in the office. Working from home should also entail availability. There are few justifications for not being available in today’s hyper-connected society. Working from home implies a contract of trust between the company and the employee. Do not be that employee who cheats the company and potentially risks a popular perk for other employees.

Years ago, I worked many hours during a stressful week. I decided to take off a couple of hours early on a Friday afternoon. I anticipated a bit of fishing would lower my stress level and elevate my attitude. I was heading out in my boat when my phone rang. It was my boss, I said hello, she said, you are fishing, aren’t you? Some of you may know this boss person. She just recently returned to work at Hewlett Packard. 😊  I responded to her question with an honest yes and was prepared for the consequences. Her response was, “I don’t blame you; this has been a tough week.” I was blessed with an awesome boss who focused more on the results I delivered versus punching a time clock. She knew an Alan with a little bit of fishing on a Friday afternoon was a better, more productive employee. I do remember feeling some minor guilt that she knew I was fishing on a Friday afternoon, but I got over it after returning to fishing.

Most companies are under unprecedented stress during these trying times. They need employees focused on their jobs more than ever. Do you have a plan to work from home? Working at home requires a different approach to productivity. Listed below are a few things to try so you can be more successful in working from home.

  • A quiet place to work free from most interruptions, especially when in a video meeting
  • Set goals for what you plan to accomplish for the day
  • Set a routine for each day
  • Aggressively manage distractions
    • It is easy to get distracted by the internet
    • There are some applications to help you manage distractions
    • Distraction was my biggest challenge, do not underestimate the effort required to minimize distractions
  • Make sure you have suitable equipment for working at home, such as a computer, headset, printer, etc.

Like most things, working from home requires an objective and a plan. A noble objective is to be more productive at home versus the office. Who knows when the regular office routine will return? Do your best to help your company succeed during this challenging economic situation. You really can make a bit difference!