WFH Tips for Knowledge Workers
As a result of the global pandemic, many office workers have been re-positioned to a category called Work From Home (WFH). This sudden change has been somewhat disruptive to many workers who have always had an office for work and a home for relaxation and family. Suddenly the borders have become blurred. Some people adjust better than others to sudden changes in routine. We thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the positive aspects of being a home office worker. No Commute The most obvious benefit to working from home is that there is no daily commute from home to the office. In addition to gaining back the time (and cost) spent on the road or transit or both. Also gone is the stress of dealing with traffic jams, accidents, train schedules and hurdles that are a way of life to the regular commuter. Commute times in big cities average about 30 to 40 minutes or more one way. This estimate does not include the seemingly more than occasional transit schedule problems, construction detours extending time on the road. This gift of up to two hours a day can be utilized in many positive ways. Increase your sleep time, play with your children and have a leisurely morning cup of coffee with your partner before starting your work day. Or, start early and look forward to a relaxed lunch break.
Office Attire Working from home is a little more relaxed in many ways than the typical day in the office. There is no need for heavy grooming, make up, power suit and tie, hard leather shoes or high heels. Get up, get clean, get comfortable and get to work.
Office Environment There are a number of environmental and operational benefits to the home office versus the formal office.
Interruptions - In a large office with many workers in close proximity, interruptions are part of the work landscape. Secluded in a home office, collaboration with conference calls and video meetings can still be scheduled but random interruptions are eliminated.
Work hours - Typically dictated by the 8-5 office environment, work hours now transform to a more flexible schedule. While it is important that you are still engaged and available during the heart of the day, the overall work from home day can become a little more flexible to meet your personal biorhythms.
Music - The background music tracks for your work day can be built to suit your individual tastes, not those of the facilities manager who programs the office playlist.
Some Tips to Stay Happy and Productive at Home Despite the many WFH advantages there are some issues with working from home. The energy of the office and the camaraderie of colleagues with a common purpose are somewhat diluted. For some, it can be hard to get motivated to start new projects or even to finish existing projects. Home technology may not be up to par with the office network. Finally, even though the office interruptions are gone, other interruptions such as children, deliveries and neighbors might become common distractions from your mission.
Here are a few tips to help you be productive and happy working from your home office: Set your work hours and stick to them. Maintaining a routine with set work and break times will help win the battle of constant distractions. Let your family know that when you are in the “office” you are not available for chores, games and other home activities.
Open the drapes and turn on the lights. Light is an anti-depressant. This is particularly true if your office is in a basement or interior room.
Take advantage of Zoom, Hangouts, FaceTime and other collaboration programs. Seeing and talking with your colleagues over the internet will help you feel connected.
Maintain proper IT security protocols to keep your home network and your work network safe from malicious traffic. Home workers are a key target for hackers. Don’t click on unknown links. Verify email requests from remote colleagues prior to submitting information. This is particularly true when the information requested includes login credentials, personal identification information or passwords.
IT Managers If you are managing technical resources for remote workers it is critical that you provide specific network access policies to non-IT personnel. It is also more important than ever to check your network monitoring and security profile. All links should be protected with firewalls, Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS), Data Loss Protection (DLP) and other tools providing complete and accurate visibility to network traffic. These tools should be connected by TAPs and managed by Packet Brokers shrinking the threat landscape and blocking hackers in their tracks. The experts at Network Critical can help with a network visibility review to be sure that your links are protected and your network traffic is accurately monitored. Understanding normal traffic is the first step in identifying anomalies. It is likely that the WFH transition will stress the network and create additional vulnerabilities. Go to www.networkcritical.com/support for information on establishing a 4D visibility strategy keeping information and infrastructure safe.