2020 has turned into a massive unprecedented global experiment for businesses. It’s the Work-From-Home revolution, brought on by social distancing and isolation rules of the #CoronaCrisis. Like millions of others, the global Outbrain team is also WFH, so we’ve gathered some tips and ideas about how to manage your home-bound situation and still remain smiling at the end of the workday. Plus we’ve got some free Virtual Backgrounds for your Zoom meetings. Just click to download.
Meanwhile, here are your WFH survival tips:
- Keep it social
- Keep the schedule
- Accept that teams won’t be working on normal schedules
- Keep food, drink, kids, and pets away from your laptop!
- Be more communicative than usual
- Spice up meetings with Zoom virtual backgrounds – free from Outbrain!
- Go as wireless as possible
- Choose your work strategy – early bird or night owl
- Respect your partner
- Do any sort of fitness activity
1. Keep it social
Working from home is isolating compared to being in the office. Make sure to keep up regular social interactions as much as possible. Replace the water cooler/coffee machine with Slack groups, virtual coffee breaks, and social check-ins. Think of fun things you can do as a team, like virtual birthday celebrations for teammates or live quiz competitions.
2. Keep the schedule
Do you have a regular weekly team meeting? Don’t cancel it. Try to keep teams in sync even though everyone has different responsibilities and schedules at home. This also applies to one-on-one meetings. Stick with the regular schedule as much as possible, but at the same time, remember to do this…
3. Accept that teams won’t be working on normal schedules
These are crazy times, to say the least. WFH and lockdowns are the “new normal”. Be more flexible and relax a little. Trust that your colleagues and team workers are getting the job done. It just might be at 2 am after all the kids are asleep and the house is tidy!
4. Keep food, drink, kids, and pets away from your laptop!
These days, every technical glitch or equipment problem is more difficult to deal with. If something spills on your laptop or if your 2-year-old drops it, you will have a much harder time getting IT to fix it. So go on the defensive and keep your gadgets safe!
5. Be more communicative than usual
In the office, you only need to raise your head to connect with your co-workers. Small talk, quick interactions when passing by in the hallway – these are all forms of communication that are lacking in the new WFH reality. Make up for it by being even more communicative online than you would have been. Stay in touch with performance updates, company news, and industry news. Check in with people and ask questions about how they are doing. By phone, chat, Zoom, email – whatever works for you.
6. Spice up meetings with Zoom virtual backgrounds – free from Outbrain!
Sick of the blank wall behind you? Want to hide that pile of laundry from the client? Need some color in your virtual meeting room? Now that Zoom has replaced face-to-face meetings, you should spice things up a bit. So we’ve created 10 virtual backgrounds for you – just download via the link below and make your Zoom meetings more fun. Download complete? Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to install them.
7. Go as wireless as possible
Try to go wireless with all your equipment, like your mouse, earphones, charger, etc. If you are juggling kids, a partner who is also WFH, pets, or noisy neighbors, you will probably need to switch places at least a few times a day… and it’s much easier to do when you don’t need to mess about with cables.
8. Choose your work strategy – early bird or night owl (or something in between)
Depending on your personality, the situation at home, and work commitments, you might want to adopt a more comfortable work strategy. For early birds, try to wake up a couple of hours before the household, when it’s nice and quiet, and your focus is sharper. On the other hand, if you are more of a night owl, you might prefer to sleep in and work late into the night. Experiment and see what’s best for you.
9. Respect your partner
If you are living with a partner or housemate, they may also be in WFH mode. That means you need to find the right boundaries, like workspaces, quiet times, mealtimes. Make sure to coordinate when each of you schedules your meetings – someone’s gotta take care of the kids/pets/dishes while the other is busy! Remember, earphones and doors are your best friend. And of course some good old fashioned respect.
10. Do any sort of fitness activity
When at the office, you probably have the opportunity to walk around a bit – to and from the train station, meeting to meeting, out for lunch…But at home, the distances are considerably shorter. Here’s the proof – check out these screenshots from my Step Tracker: on the left is working in the office, on the right is WFH. That’s a huge difference!
So, get up from your workspace every now and then and move around a bit. If restrictions allow, take a short walk. If not, then catch an exercise class online. Whatever you can do to stay fit and flexible is great!
This Work-From-Home reality will hopefully soon be behind us and things will return to normal. In the meantime, remember to download your free Zoom backgrounds and keep on keeping on!