Working from Home
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
As we attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus through social distancing, many people are being asked to work from home. This change of location may present challenges. Below are some suggestions for how to adapt to working from home.
Make sure you have what you need to work from home. Your IT professional should help set you up at home.A few items you may need:
- Computer and charger
- High speed internet connection
- Headset for conference or video calls
- Remote desktop environment and/or virtual private network (VPN), these will allow you to remotely access the computer in your office or view and edit all of the filesand use the programson your office computer at home
- Message forwarding so that calls to your office phone come to your cell phone or home phone
- Cell or landline phone
- Access to work email account
Give some thought to where in your home you want to work.
- Some people find it works well to set asidea specific place in their home for work. This could be a table, desk, closet, corner of a room,or a whole room. Find a place that is comfortable and not near distractions such as the television or children’s play spaces.
- Reserve this space for work. Leave all work-related papers, computers, and phones in this place and avoid doing anything other than work in that space. Physically leave that space and if possible close the door when you are done with your work day.
Schedule and Work
Hours Decide when you will work, make a schedule,and try to stick to it.
- Many people find it can be helpful to have a more structured schedule when working from home than when working in the office.
- It can be easy to be distracted when working from home, try to set aside specifichours each day that are solely for work and ignore other things (e.g. doing laundry, cleaning, paying bills)
- When making your schedule consider when you doyour best work (e.g. early morning, late at night) and try to set that time aside for work.
- Schedule time for breaks and to eat meals just as you would at the office. Try going outside for a walk during your breaks.
- Setting alarms on your phone can help you stay on schedule.
- Try walking outside, taking a shower, or having a cup of coffee or tea to mark the end of your workday and help transition to family time or home life.
How you communicate with your co-workers, manager, and/or clients will likely change when working from home.
- If you are used to frequent in-person communication, try video conferencing or phone calls. Remember that tone can be lost when using email or other written communication.
- Make sure your boss or manager’sdeadlines and expectations are clear. Let them know if you encounter issues in meeting agreed on deadlines as soon as possible.
- Check in with your boss ormanager regularly to provide updates on your work so that they know what you have accomplished.
- You may also want to schedule time to socialize with your coworkers to replace the informal conversations you would have in the office. Try setting up a video conference call once a week at lunch time or on Friday during happy hour.
Working from Home with Children in the House
It will be challenging to get work done while also caring for young children.
- Plan to do work when children are napping or sleeping.
- If there is another adult in your household, trade off child care and work time so that you can both get work done during the day. Prioritize your work assignments so that your limited time can be dedicated to the most important assignments. Work with your boss or manager to set these priorities.
- Expect that you will get less done than you are used to and communicate with your boss or managerso that everyone has realistic expectations.
- Explain to school-age and older children that you will need time to work. Some parents find it useful to have a system for letting their children know when it’s okay to interrupt their work. Try making STOP and GO signs with your children. Hang the STOP sign near your workspace when you should only be interrupted for emergencies and the GO sign for when you can be interrupted more frequently.