How to work from home effectively

Productivity tips and tools to help you get the job done this summer and beyond 

You might not have expected working from home to be a big part of your life, but more than 50 percent of Canadians have been making it work well, even before COVID-19.

As more companies shift their operations to a remote workforce to help keep everyone healthy, teams are finding their groove with help from the right technology and tips from those who have been working from home for years. Here are six tips to help make working from home, work for you today and as your business moves forward.

1) Get ready for the day like a regular workday

It may sound simple, but treat every workday like you’re going to work. If you usually commute, consider starting your day with a short walk—and you can’t really do that in your pajamas, can you? If leaving the house isn’t an option, look online for a light, 15-minute workout (even if it is just stretching). This is especially useful while you find your work-from-home rhythm, and the exercise is a great way to keep you physically and mentally healthy.

2) Make the most of your at-home internet bandwidth

Social distancing not only means you are working from home, but the whole family is home, too. Depending on the household, there could be two parents working while someone is streaming movies and someone else is playing online video games. In an ideal setting (like the office) you would have the internet bandwidth to handle this load, but the same might not be possible at home—especially if your home Wi-Fi wasn’t purchased with stay-at-home social distancing in mind.

You can check the speed of your home internet by searching “internet speed test” online, there are plenty of free options. Ideally, you’ll want home internet speeds at or above 25 Mbps to allow you to stream HD video, share files and browse the internet.  

Establishing an at-home internet schedule can also help. This ensures everyone can connect with minimal interruption and adds some much-needed structure to the day for your office mates. Switching to voice calls on your cellphone is another solution to keep in your back pocket if overtaxed bandwidth makes video calling a challenge.

3) Embrace technology

When you can’t pop your head over your cubical or jump in a meeting room with colleagues, frequent check-ins with team members are essential. There are dozens of tools and apps to stay connected—Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are staples.

4) Connect to the cloud

Collaboration doesn’t need to stop because you’re out of the office. Solve the day’s challenges and access necessary documents and information with cloud-based collaboration tools. G Suite by Google Cloud and Microsoft 365 both provide secure online file storage, file and calendar sharing, team chat and other useful tools geared to improve collaboration for remote teams all while keeping you safe during these unusual times.

5) Take Breaks

Make sure to take breaks: eat lunch and schedule it into your calendar. Go for a walk during a one-on-one or conference call and let the person on the other end of the phone know. They may join you for a virtual walking discussion. 

Above all else be safe. Your health and your family are the most important things during these extraordinary circumstances. And, lean on the tools and technology that can keep you connected to your new virtual office and the clients who rely on you today and going forward.