Top tips for working from home
At Kara, we have a flexible work policy, meaning that we trust our team to do their work regardless of location and do not expect our team to strictly be at the office, in-person, during office hours. We’ve found that this allows us to accommodate various demands of daily life such as childcare, health-related needs, and commute restrictions while simultaneously boosting morale, increasing productivity, and encouraging trust.
We find that working remotely, when using suitable solutions, can in itself be a great tool. Having the opportunity to create a comfortable space completely within your control allows you to focus on your work and can be great for holding remote sessions with clients, powering through projects and research, and optimizing your time.
We’ve put together some of our golden rules and top tips for working from home.
Create a ‘working space’.
Whether this is a desk, a comfortable chair in the corner, or the left edge of your dining table, create a space that you only use for work and nothing else during the working week. Make sure other members of your household (including your pets) know not to take up this space or move anything within it. If needed, use brightly colored tape to mark your territory (usually not necessary). Discuss explicitly with other members of your household your expectations for your workday, and outline when it is ok to be interrupted and when it is not.
Dress as if you are going to the office.
Sticking to your usual routine to get ready will help you get into the right mindset to work. Dressing as you usually would not only give a good impression during remote sessions but also makes you feel fresher and put together. Then, enjoy the sense of relief as you change into your more comfortable home clothes at the end of a workday, shifting your headspace back into relaxation mode.
Make sure you’re communicating.
If you’re working in a team, make sure you have clear communication channels and are in regular contact, both formally and informally. If you’re working with multiple teams, set up daily or weekly meetings that bring structure to your communication as well as to your schedule.
Don’t be intimidated to reach out to colleagues and team members when you feel lost, want a status update, need a sounding board or just need a chat. This helps to maintain a sense of community even when everyone is in different places.
Discuss your needs with your employer, if necessary.
If you do not have proper access to the tools you require for work, make sure you voice this to your employer. Often, accommodations can be made to meet your needs that can make a world of difference to your workday. From borrowing a cable from the office or getting tech support to help you set up a better WiFi system, there’s a variety of solutions that your employer can help you with to make it easier to work from home.
Create a good playlist, and stick to it.
Take some time to create a solid playlist, or find a podcast that doesn’t disturb your workflow. Make sure it’s long enough to keep you entertained for a while. We recommend keeping the same playlist rolling to condition yourself to focus while listening.
Be conscious of your meetings.
Don’t book meetings back to back. Give yourself at least ten minutes to stretch and get some water in between. Make sure you aren’t scheduling long remote meetings: they should be shorter than in-person meetings, as everyone is prepared and sat down when they join the call.
Enjoy the flexibility.
The beauty of working from home is having control over your surroundings and schedule. If you know you do your best work in the mornings, start earlier and finish sooner. If you like listening to 80s music while writing up reports, do so freely and with added dance breaks. Work around your children’s school schedule, or visiting hours at your grandmother’s nursing home- take advantage of not needing to commute by sitting down with your morning coffee that little bit longer.