Lessons Learned Working from Home (According to iHire’s Experts)
Like many other businesses around the world, iHire has been operating with a fully remote workforce for the past several months due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
With five months of working from home under our belts, our staff recently took a step back to reflect on our transition to remote work and to share some of our best WFH tips. What lessons have we learned along the way? How can someone struggling to figure out how to work from home productively settle into their environment? Here’s what a few members of the iHire team had to say.
1. Stick with old routines…
“Set a dedicated time to be ‘at work’ each morning and stick to it like you would if you had to go in for a meeting. Also, create a dedicated work environment apart from your living space so you can keep work and home life separate.”
- Marie Burnett, Office Manager
2. …But embrace new ones.
“It can be easy to fall out of the normal routines you had at your traditional workplace, like getting up to stop by the coffee maker, taking a lunch walk, grabbing a snack, chatting with a colleague, etc. One perk of working from home is you can knock out some housework – I’ve found that a few minutes of dishwashing or laundry can help me think of new solutions to a tough problem or project.”
- Natalie Winzer, B2C Marketing Manager
3. Work around distractions.
“Since distractions cannot be eliminated completely, plan for them and work around them. See where you will need to consult coworkers and get your questions to them as soon as you can. That way, if they are working at home with kids or have other distracting agents at home, they will be able to decide during their productive moments how to address your concerns.
Similarly, notice the things that pull you away from your work and try to distance yourself from them. Laundry: do it later. Yardwork, mail, bills: wait for the weekend. Naps: sleep better at night or drink more coffee. TV or video games: shut them off and work in another room. Overall, distractions can come in many forms. You need to know what’s pulling you out of your work mindset and solve it.”
- Phil Dahlheimer, Software Developer
4. Embrace transparency.
“Be honest with your manager, peers, and team. Don’t be ashamed of anything – transparency brings an element of relief to the situation. You’ll find you’re not alone and folks will step up their support.”
- Jason Hayes, VP of Employer Sales
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5. Set realistic goals and milestones.
“‘New normal’ means it’s new but will likely be how things stay longer term. Because of that, the pressure to change everything overnight is off. You can ease into changes, tackling them with fair milestones for yourself. You can make changes and small adjustments as you go.
When there is something new to learn or do, set goals by using tangible dates. For example, ‘By Sept. 1, I’ll figure out how to make this 20-person meeting go smoothly, virtually.’ Or, ‘By Oct. 1, I’ll make sure my team has adjusted and we’ve addressed lingering concerns.’ In short, give yourself time and space to handle things, and don’t try to fix it all for everyone immediately.”
- Valerie Eden, Product Director
6. Tackle smaller tasks to feel accomplished.
“Take more frequent, smaller breaks throughout the day and have little chores or tasks you can complete to help you feel more accomplished – both at home and at work – when you finish your day. I find that when I take a quick break to tackle a home project, I am able to relax more because it got me up and moving and helped me accomplish a task I would have had to do at the end of my workday.”
- Mallory VanWagner, Client Relationship Manager
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7. Step away from your desk.
“Get out of your chair – take a lunch break. To get myself to take my lunch break, I stopped eating at my desk and found projects to do during the time I had left in my lunch hour after eating. I’ve become quite productive on personal projects I needed to get done. I even painted a room during one lunch!
Also, allow yourself to go outside and get some fresh air during the day. I take quick walk breaks and even if it’s just once around the yard, getting that fresh air helps. I also worked outdoors one day and loved it. I’ll be doing that again on days when the weather is nice, but my advice is to have an umbrella to go over your work area.”
- Heather Gonzales, Sales Manager
8. Be mindful and supportive.
“The work-from-home transition will happen; it just takes time. Keep doing your best and be gentle on yourself and others. We are all in this together. If everyone can be mindful about all the other noise taking place in the individual lives around us, we can help by being more understanding and supportive – of ourselves and others, too!”
- Molly Floyd, Customer Success Manager
9. Go to your happy place.
“Keep your work separate from outside influences. Use your job and working from home as an escape from real-world problems. This has been paramount to my success at home by using my job as my happy place! But my single piece of advice for anyone struggling to settle into remote work is this: Take 5 to 10 minutes every 2 to 3 hours to completely unplug and go for a walk. Use this as a refresher and come back ready to crush the next task!”
- Greg Wymer, Account Manager
10. Remember to relax.
“Relax. There is enough stress in the world right now. Keep your home your peaceful zone. Don’t worry about your background clutter, noises in meetings, or even your internet lag. Just show up and be happy. Your work and home life are now one. Not many get this opportunity, so embrace the chaos because it’s all uniquely you.”
- Stacy Clark, Operations Engineer
For more WFH tips, check out these additional remote workplace resources on the iHire blog.
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