I am one of about 5% of Americans who work full time from home. I’ve been doing it for 30 years. If you could handle it with a 28.8 K modem internet connection that day, you can do it today in the age of broadband.
In this way.
Broadband: You need the internet to work properly from home. The faster your connection, the better. If you live alone or at least if you are alone at home during normal business hours and if your work is largely text-based, a connection of only 5 Mbps should suffice. But if the coronavirus keeps you at home and you have a partner who also works online and has kids to do other than stream Netflix or Disney +, you’ll need more – at least a 25 Mbps connection.
Video conferencing: You’ll also need fast broadband if you’re attending video conferencing meetings with your co-workers. Of course, you need to install the app for any video conferencing service that your company has standardized. Don’t you have one? Almost all video conferencing services offer free packages that you can try. Personally, I like Zoom, even with its privacy concerns.
If you haven’t done video conferencing before, check out this video conferencing guide so you can make the most of it and avoid foolish mistakes.
Real-time instant messaging / group chat – If your office has standardized on Slack or Microsoft Teams, you’ll clearly need one or the other at home. My preference is the old internet relay chat (IRC) or the most modern Google Hangouts chat. If you want to run your own cloud-based open source service, see Mattermost.
Remote desktop: do you need to access the desktop of your office because your laptop is not enough? It is always best to have a business laptop that you can use in a pinch as a work desk ready to go, for anything. But if not, check remote desktop programs such as TeamViewer, SplashTop, or Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD). But forget about Apple Remote Desktop. It just doesn’t work properly.
Windows: Do not correct the Windows 10 computer unless necessary. Windows 10 patches are famous because they don’t work well. It’s pretty bad that the IT staff in the office has to take care of them. You really don’t want to try to fix them yourself at home. See «How to manage Windows 10 updates» for instructions on delaying non-critical updates.
Time management: Do you have to keep track of your time? Take a look at Timely. It allows you to schedule jobs and keep track of how much time you actually spend on them. That being said, the only way I can track what is due when it’s with Google Calendar. The business calendar version is part of the G Suite.
Project Management – There are many project management programs out there, but it is hard to beat Basecamp. It is fully functional and remarkably affordable – $ 99 per month, with unlimited users, no user fees or project limits.
For workflow management, you should refer to Asana. But correct warning, it’s so flexible that if you don’t set it up from scratch, you can end up with a messy spaghetti chart. This is not a tasty dish.
This is the technological side. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy based on my decades of doing so.
• Get out and go. Staying with the idiot all day is not good for your health, physical or mental. I go half an hour twice a day.
• Maintain a regular work schedule. There are two very common time problems when working from home. The first one goes like this: «I’m home, so I can watch TV, I can play World of Warcraft, I can … wow, what time is it?» The other says, “I’m at work and I have to work all the time. I don’t have to lose weight. You have to … who, what time is it? «If you work 9-5 in the office, try working 9-5 at home.
• Follow your diet. Have you heard of the first 15 years? It is said that this is the weight that everyone gains when they go to college. Home is also work 15. Snacks are very affordable and no one is looking! Besides, we all tend to eat more when we’re stressed and boy, are we ever stressed these days? Try to eat healthy when you taste it. Instead of french fries, try an apple. Instead of soda, drink unsweetened tea or even moisturizing water. Your scale (and your work clothes, which you will have to put on in the end) will thank you.
• Get dressed for work. You will be tempted to wear pajamas to work or a more comfortable T-shirt and shorts. Do not give in to this unless you normally work in comfortable clothes. If you’ve always worked in business clothes, sweatpants and flip-flops won’t feel like they work for you, so keep wearing business clothes to feel good.
• Establish a dedicated work area. It can be as small as a surrounded section of the kitchen table. But the spread of work around the house leads to scattered thoughts.
• Make it clear to family and roommates that when you are at work, you are at work, even when you are at home. You are not available, but you are not locked inaccessible either. Set your limits, but keep paying attention to others at home. After all, you’re talking to other people in the office, aren’t you?
• Get a comfortable chair. If you do not use a standing desk, you will spend a lot of time in that chair. A good one is worth spending real money on.
• Get a pet. I’m not kidding. Especially if you live alone, having a furry companion will make your life much more fun. Make sure your new office space is pet-resistant.
• Use your new video conferencing equipment and instant messaging software to talk to friends and family. I’m an introvert, but I still talk to my people regularly. It helps me stay together and your parents will do the same for you and vice versa.
• Don’t get obsessed with news or check Twitter or anything like that every five minutes. Try not to give in to temptation. It won’t do you any good and it will only make you angry.
You may never like working from home. It’s great for me, but NOT, in capital letters, for everyone. However, if you follow my advice, you will do a good job and you will come out on the other side with your intelligence still on you.
Good luck friends.