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Employee Work-from-Home Guide: Best Practices

At a time when more and more positions require duties to be carried out almost exclusively on computers, and with the internet to instantly connect anyone anywhere, many employers are offering the option of working remotely. The COVID-19 pandemic has recently forced many employers to adopt remote-work policies to support social distancing requirements intended to reduce the spread of the virus. Remote working arrangements allow employees to work from home or another alternate location and communicate with their employers electronically. While many employers may not have been ready for this public health crisis related trial run, the coronavirus outbreak has provided a test of an increasingly popular alternative approach to work.

Below are suggested tips, best practices, and self-evaluation methods to help employees remain engaged and stay on track with work, while out of the office. *Note: this article is intended to assist employees in positions conducive to the telecommuting arrangement. According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics , only 29 percent of Americans can work from home.

   1. SET A DESIGNATED WORK AREA.

Though this may seem trivial, choosing a spot in your home that is designated for remote work is an important step you can take to set yourself up for success. Choose a spot that you can work from every day that you are working from home. This could be spare bedroom that you’ve turned into a home office, a desk located in the corner of the living room or even the dining room table. However, it is recommended that you try to stay away from working in your bed or on the couch, as these areas are associated with relaxation in your brain, which might negatively impact your productivity.

Make sure your workspace functions efficiently for you and your work style. Treat your home work area as you would an office cubicle. Make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day, an area where you can focus and do your best work. Also be mindful of appropriate ergonomics so as to not cause unintended physical strain or injury.

    2. COMMUNICATIONS.

To ensure that you aren’t left out of the loop, make sure to schedule regular meetings and communications with your team and managers. It can be easy to feel disconnected with what’s going on in the office, so remaining engaged with your co-workers is key. Make sure your team is aware of your schedule and when/how you can be contacted. Types of communication may include:

Of course, make sure that your communication method of choice functions properly before you attempt to consistently work remotely.  For videoconferencing, resources such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans or LogMeIn's GoToMeeting help the transition to working from a home environment.

    3. MAKE SURE YOUR NETWORK AND WORK PROGRAMS ARE PROTECTED.

Working remotely introduces another set of potential cyber security risks. Make sure you coordinate with your organization or Information Technology support team about cyber security and strategies you can use to mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack while you are working from your home.