HOW TO WORK FROM HOME (WFH) - TELECOMMUTING TIPS & GUIDES

One of the oft-cited complaints about the internet and smartphones is how they’ve obscured the line between the public and private spheres. A generation ago, the home was considered a refuge from the working world—at least for many men. While the boundary between our home and work lives has blurred, our ability to work from anywhere also has empowered us to be where we’d like.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are now working from home and transitioning to remote work. For some, this may include figuring out how to adapt a work routine for home, creating the perfect home office, and setting up boundaries between work and home life. Others, especially those living in areas where K-12 schools have gone online or closed altogether, may wonder how to balance working from home with childcare needs or other responsibilities.

In all cases, this pandemic provides an opportunity for companies and nonprofits to test working from home on a larger scale, as well as potentially change some long-held assumptions about remote work.

How Many Americans Work From Home?

Many organizations have already implemented telecommuting, including options like weekly work from home days or partially-remote work options.

Global Workplace Analytics (GWA March 2020), a prominent research organization, reports that telecommuting among non-self-employed Americans exploded 173 percent between since 2005. These days, five million Americans (3.6 percent of the workforce) telecommute at least half the time. Furthermore, 43 percent of U.S. employees work remotely at some frequency, and 80 percent express a desire to work from home at least part-time. GWA projects that fully 56 percent of Americans hold jobs with the potential to work from home occasionally.

The frequency of remote work is likely to change after COVID-19. GWA (2020) reports that over 30 percent of the workforce is likely to telecommute at least one to two days a week by 2022.

The Benefits of Telecommuting

So what are the benefits of working remotely that employers and their employees may see in a post-COVID-19 world? In addition to reducing a worker’s carbon footprint and traffic jams, GWA (2020) reports that telecommuting can:

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce employee attrition
  • Improve worker job satisfaction
  • Decrease unscheduled absences
  • Expand access to talent
  • Save employers money

New to Working from Home? A Few Things to Consider

Find the Right Technology

Whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Slack, or another useful technology, finding the right software is key. Luckily, Busted Cubicle has a guide to the best tools and apps for working remotely.

Get the Perfect Office Setup

First off, make sure your computer has a working camera and microphone. Practice scheduling and hosting video conferencing calls a few times to get the hang of the technology. If you’ve never worked in a cubicle or open office, now may be the time to get a good pair of headphones, especially if you have roommates or loud neighbors.

Second, your home office set-up should be comfortable and ergonomic. While a kitchen table is a great place for your impromptu desk, a hard chair may hurt your back after 40 hours of work. Find some comfy pillows, alternate spots to work within the house, or invest in an ergonomic chair for a comfortable experience. Your back will thank you!

Set Up Boundaries

This may be easier said than done for those with young children, but try to establish a place in the house as your workspace. This allows your mind to mentally transition into work and lets others know that you are working and need quiet.

Meet with Your Team Regularly

Just like you and your work friends typically head to happy hour at 4:00 PM on Fridays or hold casual team huddles, schedule times to regularly chat with your team and check-in. This includes daily team meetings, morning coffee video conferences with coworkers, or even digital happy hours. Make it fun and use this as an opportunity to team build.

Nurture Yourself and Each Other

Working from home is different than working in an office. Think about all the time you spend in an office moving around: taking a break to chat with a friend at the coffee pot, walking over to your coworker to ask a question, eating lunch, or just taking a moment to go on a walk around the block. Take breaks, get lots of natural light, and create space for yourself throughout your day.

It may also help to dress professionally, even though you aren’t leaving your house. This may help create stronger boundaries between when you are at work versus hanging out at home. While some can do this in their pajamas, others may benefit from building a routine with clear boundaries.

Lastly, employers and employees should take care to communicate with empathy. New technology, working from home with no childcare, or simply managing life in the mindset of a global pandemic all require patience and compassion. It will take time to figure out a routine, especially one that involves furry or toddler-aged coworkers.

Above all, working from home also does not mean that work should take place 24/7. Once you’ve done everything you need to do, close that laptop and enjoy yourself.

Resources for Telecommuters

In addition to our industry-specific work from home (WFH) career guides and other resources below, you can find helpful tips at:

  • Zoom: New to Working from Home? Here Are Some Tips to Help You Meet Like a Pro
  • LinkedIn: Top 10 PROVEN Tips to Setup a Temporary Work From Home Office Successfully
  • Trello: A Remote Work Guide, For Parents
  • LinkedIn: New to Working Remotely? These Resources Can Help
  • GoToMeeting: Remote Work Toolkit

Career Guides

Work From Home in Florida (FL): A Guide to Telecommuting in the Sunshine State

According to LinkedIn, there are over 25,000 current work-from-home job postings in Florida. So the question isn’t whether there are remote work opportunities in Florida, it’s which one to pursue.

Entertainment: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Entertainment jobs are already heavily computer-based and employers are becoming more flexible in transforming these roles into work from home positions. Talented professionals in video, writing, design, marketing, and sales can support the entertainment industry through content creation, sales, and strategy without ever having to set foot in an office. Working from home saves both employers and employees money and can contribute to a better sense of work life balance.

Affiliate Marketing: A Guide to a Work From Home Career

These days, many pursuing work-from-home (WFH) careers choose affiliate marketing, an online business model whose popularity has skyrocketed since Amazon invented the world’s first affiliate program in 1996. What’s driven affiliate marketing (AM) to such prominence in only 23 years has been the opportunity to earn passive income: regular earnings requiring little or no effort.

Government and Politics: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Companies are getting used to the idea that the new normal means working comfortably from home. In this WFH revolution, job candidates everywhere are expressing an interest in greater control over their personal schedules, code of dress, and work hours. Careers in government and politics have historically been ones which required being face-to-face, but that’s changing.

Writing and Editing: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Check out five work-from-home careers in writing and editing, including technical writing, proofreading, and copy editing.

Finance: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Industries that were once office-locked boast a growing number of remote work opportunities in a wide array of occupations. The work from home revolution is changing what it means to work for yourself, at your own pace, and according to your skills.

Creativity and the Arts: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Whether at home in pajamas or basking in the sun beachside, professionals around the world are leveraging the power of the internet and communication technology to complete work outside of the office. According to Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), open-collar work—work where the person telecommuting is not self-employed—has more than doubled since 2005.

Nonprofits and Philanthropy: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

How can you take advantage of the telecommuting trend, yet still have a real and meaningful impact on the world? Here are five careers in philanthropy ripe for home-based workers.

Protecting the Environment: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Telecommuters can save more than just time and money. They can have a positive impact on the Earth, too. Read on to discover three ways remote workers can reduce their carbon footprint as well as ten remote jobs that can help protect the environment.

Healthcare: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

According to the Mayo Clinic, workers who telecommute generally experience higher morale, decreased stress, fewer absences from work, increased autonomy, and more happiness.

Education: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Scientific evidence suggests that working from home increases our productivity; reduces worker attrition; and makes us happier, healthier people. Studies even link meaningful environmental benefits with telecommuting.

Resources

How to Start a Telecommuting Group in Your Community

In the evolving nature of work, remote work tribes can be seen as a necessary disruption: a loose collectivization of workers who are connected by the context in which they perform their duties, as opposed to by what duties they perform.

Best Apps and Tools for Digital Nomads

While other people might debate that third pair of shoes or a hardcover book, digital nomads are more likely to spend those final moments before takeoff optimizing their tech suite—calibrating it for the most power, least clutter, and lightest load.

The Environmental Impact of Telecommuters

Americans are increasingly interested in sustainability. The Arctic ice shelf is melting faster than expected—with some scientists predicting it could be gone by 2040—and unusual rain, heat, and temperature patterns are clear and present signs of the changing environment. Many of us can lessen our carbon footprint by working from home.

Ikigai: Finding Your Purpose While Working Remotely

Your ikigai is your motivation, your aspiration, your production, and your passion all in one. It is the reason you get out of bed in the morning and the reason you keep going year after year. To find your ikigai, you have to shift between looking abroad and looking within. Consider these four fundamental questions: What do I love? What am I good at? What can I get paid for? What does the world need?

How to Convince Your Employer to Let You Work from Home

In 2016, more than 43 percent of employees spent at least some time working from home. Thirty-one percent of those employees work from home four to five days per week. Compared to previous years, more bosses are allowing their employees the flexibility to spend at least some of their work time outside of the office.

Beyond Cafes and Libraries: Where to Work Remotely

Those in the virtual or telecommuting industry have the ability to work on-the-go, which also means being creative with and breaking free from their home-office, the overcrowded café, and silent libraries.