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Working from home can be isolating, especially if you’re the only person in your organization who does so. You might feel disconnected from your colleagues, which can make your WFH experience less enjoyable and more stressful at times. To keep things from getting stale and maintain a sense of camaraderie with your virtual coworkers, here are some tips for keeping them engaged. Working from home (WFH) is a growing trend among working professionals. Many organizations offer their employees the opportunity to work from home or other remote locations as part of an initiative to reduce commute times, increase employee happiness, and cut operational costs. There are many benefits to working remotely: You save time on commuting and don’t need to take as many sick days; it’s great for parents who want to spend more time with their kids; and there are fewer distractions at home than in an office (unless you have cats).
Hold weekly meetings
There are many benefits to holding weekly face-to-face team meetings, whether you’re working onsite or remotely. In addition to planning out your weekly tasks, keeping up with project timelines, and facilitating communication between departments, you’ll have the opportunity to regularly interact with your colleagues and establish a sense of camaraderie among the team. Meetings can be especially helpful for distributed teams, as they give everyone the chance to ask questions, share ideas, and get on the same page. When working from home, it’s especially important to maintain an open, collaborative environment. Holding regular meetings will help keep everyone connected and on the same page.
Plan fun activities
Whether you’re a part of a large distributed team or work solo, it’s important to occasionally mix work with fun. Get your colleagues together (virtually, of course) to play games, participate in team-building exercises, or plan an office outing. Card games like Exploding Cats (not the real version, which is a virtual reality game) and Exploding Bananas, or virtual games like Cards Against Humanity or Humans vs. Zombies, can be enjoyed by any team size and are a great way to get everyone laughing while testing your creative and critical thinking skills.
Ensure you have a comfy workspace
When you’re working from home, it can be easy to let your workspace get messy, unorganized, and cluttered. But a clean, well-organized work environment helps keep your mind focused, your stress levels down, and your WFH experience more enjoyable. Choose a room in your home to transform into your office and invest in a few key pieces of furniture that will make you more productive and help you stay organized and motivated. You might want to look into purchasing a standing desk, if you don’t already have one, as they are great for keeping your blood flowing and preventing muscle cramps from sitting too long.
Establish a designated work area
Where you set up shop will depend on your particular needs and the layout of your home office. But whatever space you choose, you’ll benefit from setting up a designated work area. A work area will not only help you stay organized, it will also help reduce distractions and enhance your productivity. A home office can be a great place to work, but it’s important to set up your space to minimize distractions and help you stay focused. Here are some tips for creating a distraction-free home office.
Ask for feedback
If you’re a manager, it’s important to periodically check in with your employees to see how things are going. Ask them how their WFH experience is going, if they’re finding the work to be engaging, and if they have feedback for you. You can conduct surveys online or over the phone (or over lunch!), or ask your employees to submit feedback in an online management or project management software. If you’re an employee, check in with your manager periodically to see how you’re doing. Let him or her know how you’re finding the WFH experience and if you have any feedback for him or her. Even if your manager isn’t someone you have daily or face-to-face interactions with, it’s important to stay connected, let him or her know what you’re working on, and receive feedback from him or her.
Take breaks to stretch and move around
Working from home is often not as active as working in an office. When you have a more traditional work environment, you have the opportunity to get up from your desk throughout the day to stretch your legs and move around. When you work from home, you’re more likely to spend hours at a time in front of a computer, which can lead to muscle cramps, neck and back pain, and other health issues. To avoid these issues, take breaks throughout the day to get up and move around. Stretch your muscles, walk around your home, or go on a quick walk outside. You can also take advantage of the collaborative environment of a distributed team by inviting colleagues to join you virtually while you walk or do some yoga poses.
Invite coworkers to join you at your workspace
Depending on how many people work remotely in your organization, you might have the opportunity to invite your virtual coworkers to come to your home office. If you work for a large company, you might even have the option to host an offsite meeting from home (or from a coworking space if you don’t have an appropriate space at home). Inviting your colleagues to your home office can be a great way to get everyone together and build camaraderie among the team. And hosting an offsite meeting from home can be a great way to stay connected with your colleagues when you don’t have an opportunity to get together in person.
Working from home can be a great way to balance work and family obligations. To make the most of your experience, however, you should be strategic about how you use your time. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you, and set measurable goals for yourself. Stay connected with your colleagues, and make sure to take regular breaks to stay healthy and motivated throughout the day. With these tips, you’ll be able to make the most of working from home.