As the Coronavirus updates roll in and uncertainty mounts about what our new normal will look like, one thing is clear; social distancing means remote work is going to be a big part of every workforce’s foreseeable future. Here are a few tips on how to stay secure, motivated, and sane while shifting your day-to-day duties to a home setting.
The sudden move to using your personal WiFi means you’ll have to reassess the safety of your home network. No longer is “WiFi Art Thou Romeo” going to be used solely for Netflix movies and humoring your aunt’s incessant cat video e-mails. You must now have professional-level security for your personal setup. Some good practices to consider to ensure you are covered:
Separate Your Accounts/Devices: Keeping your personal and professional activity apart by using separate devices and/or accounts eliminates confusion and streamlines your ability to stay vigilant about security risks.
Create Strong Passwords: Passwords should be long, unique for every account, contain both letters and numbers, and not contain personal information that could be easily attained (i.e., your last name or child’s age).
Utilize Cybersecurity Tools: A quality VPN can help you encrypt all your online traffic so that it is unreadable if intercepted. Firewalls are built-in to many routers and can be easily enabled to provide added security. Antivirus software can help you detect malware. Two-Step authentication can ensure nobody is getting into your accounts without you noticing. Make sure to implement as many of these defensive measures as possible to up your home security profile.
Several tools (Zoom, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams) have made tasks like sharing documents, scheduling, and collaborating, technologically simple. But making sure everyone is on the same page is not as easy as just setting up a shared folder in Google Drive. From now on, you’ll be participating in long conference calls and texting constantly, so follow these steps to ensure you keep a cohesive mindset among team members:
Assume Ignorance, Not Negligence: Less face-to-face communication means more opportunities for miscommunication. This will present challenges. If someone makes a mistake, assume there’s been a mix-up until proven otherwise.
Set Time Limits: In the office, it’s easy to notice when people are worn out or need to regroup at another time because you can count on social cues like body language, tone of voice, or facial expressions. Avoid overworking each other by creating time limits for communication and respecting personal boundaries.
Ask for What You Need: Often, when moving to a work-from-home situation, newly remote employees instinctively bend over backward to prove they aren’t taking advantage of reduced supervision. While this loyalty is undoubtedly appreciated, you’re doing no one any good if you are worn out from being on calls all day or distracted because you need to run to the bathroom. If you need something to be able to do your job better, don’t be afraid to be assertive.
FOCUS AND WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Now that your home and office are one physical place, there undoubtedly will be a struggle to manage the separation between the two. So, help yourself out by having a morning “commute” routine, keeping regular working hours, and designating a specific workspace so you can physically separate from work when needed and limit distractions while “on the job.” Also, if you end up feeling isolated while working from home, don’t be afraid to lean on your teammates and loved ones as needed. They’ll need your help to manage the transition as well.
If you need assistance managing or implementing a remote workforce during these trying times, Net Works is well-equipped and available to assist in getting you up and running quickly, efficiently, and safely.