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How to Work from Home: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

User AvatarShawn Jolley

Learning how to work from home online can be quite an adjustment, especially if you’ve never had the opportunity to fill a hybrid or fully remote position. However, being successful isn’t a matter of where you work so much as how you work.

Assuming you have a stable internet connection and a reliable computer, you’re already ahead of the curve. Add avoiding the four mistakes below to make sure you work from home more effectively.

“Did you know remote work flexibility can enhance an organization’s performance significantly when supported by upper management and company policy?”

Mistakes to Avoid When Adjusting to Working from Home

  1. Letting communication apps become a roadblock or distraction
  2. Not setting up or engaging with video meetings effectively
  3. Thinking of project management as an afterthought
  4. Making time for everyone on your calendar but yourself

#1 Letting Communication Apps Become a Roadblock or Distraction

When working remotely, it’s important to have tools for communication, such as email, Slack, Zoom, or other software applications. Otherwise, remote workers can be left in the dark. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to stay on task.

Finding a balance between staying connected and getting work done needs to be thoughtful and intentional so you can get work done without missing important messages.

Tips for Remotely Working with Communication Apps

  • Make sure everybody in your department or organization is using the same messaging system and that the system has the features needed to effectively communicate
  • Discuss the communication tools you use with your direct supervisor to set expectations for how they’re to be used in respect to the rest of your team and organization
  • Set up your profile, complete with picture, name, and job title to make it easy for users in your organization to find and message you when needed
  • Use your status during working hours to clearly communicate when you’re available, focused, in a meeting, or “out of the office”

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#2 Not Setting Up or Engaging with Video Meetings Effectively

When you work in an office, it’s easy to get face time with coworkers in communal spaces, during meetings, and at your desk. You may find the short (or long) social conversations you have go a long way in helping people connect with you.

When working remotely, connection is equally important, but it doesn’t happen as naturally. So, it becomes super important to remove the technological barriers that prevent people from getting to know you, your work, and how best to communicate with you.

Tips for Adjusting to Online Work Meetings

  • Take a deep dive into the video meeting tools your team uses, learning what options are available to you so you can take advantage of the software from the get-go
  • Set up your profile, complete with picture, name, and job title to help people understand who they’re speaking with
  • Turn on your video! You may not be working in-office, but showing yourself attentively listening and engaging with your video meeting can make a huge difference
  • Take your time when speaking, relying less on facial expressions and body language, to get your point across. Your voice is the most powerful tool you have

#3 Thinking of Project Management as an Afterthought

Whether you’re helping manage a team or acting as a participant in projects, using software to track, assign, and view work is essential in a remote setting.

Project management applications like Asana, Monday, Trello, and Jira, can act as a team hub, allowing for transparency in assignments and individual workload.

Tips for Tracking and Assigning Work Remotely

  • Integrate/connect your project management application with other tools you and your team use (e.g. Slack and Fellow or Google Calendar and Zoom)
  • Clearly write your tasks and descriptions so they are easily understood, containing any applicable links or attachments
  • Set realistic deadlines and leave wiggle room for when tasks take longer than expected
  • Set up recurring tasks to automatically populate on your project or calendar so you don’t have to remember to add repetitive work manually

how to work from home

#4 Making Time for Everyone on Your Calendar but Yourself

How you handle your work schedule is one of the most important aspects of working from home. It’s a mistake to let others take control of how you spend your time, but it’s easy to let it happen.

Scheduling out standing blocks of time for focusing and taking breaks between meetings can go a long way in making sure you aren’t constantly overloaded.

You can also talk with your direct supervisor about priorities if you find yourself in constant back-to-back meetings that limit the amount of time you can actually spend working.

Tips for Controlling Your Remote Work Schedule

  • Use a scheduling tool that allows others to see when you’re busy or free
  • Schedule repeating blocks of time for focusing and taking breaks
  • Look ahead at least a week in advance for potential meeting conflicts
  • Take time to schedule in short breaks where you can get away from your desk

“According to one study, taking short breaks from work to look at flowers helped participants decrease errors while improving overall attention.”

Have Any Remote Work Tips? Let Us Know

Adjusting to working from home can be a challenge even after dealing with the four mistakes mentioned above. If you’ve found success in your remote position, let us know your tips below.

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