How to work from home efficiently

Posted by Joan Shumaker on

The pandemic COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is forcing everyone to rethink how to interact with the world; how we gather, work, and interact with others. At Norse, we care deeply about our community, and so much is unknown, but one thing we know is that to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves and our community is to limit our exposure to others.

As we practice social distancing, many of us are working from home, which can be challenging for many reasons - cabin fever, kids running around, sharing "office" with your partner, etc. Here are some concrete tips on how to work more efficiently from home: 

 

Having successful virtual meetings

The rules for a virtual meeting is no different than face-to-face meetings, ie be prepared, be on time, have an agenda, and be present (not multi-tasking checking your phone or writing emails). In addition, digital meetings require you to have, and test, your equipment before the meeting starts. Run a test to make sure that your microphone and camera are working.

Once the meeting has started, you should have the camera on and look straight into the camera - reading reactions through facial expressions and body language are important parts of successful communication. This is also the reason why you shouldn't mute your phone if you're less than five participants at the meeting. Capturing spontaneous laughs and other emotions will make the meeting feel more alive.

 

Practicing proper email etiquette

These tips should be practiced on a daily basis - with or without being in self-quarantine - but they're even more important when you use email more to communicate with the outside world.

  • Have a clear topic and reason for sending the email.
  • Decide if you actually need to send an email on the topic, or if you can use chat instead if that's available. 
  • Don't copy people who don't need to be in copy. We all get enough emails as it is.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Again, your email is not the only one in their inbox.
  • Draw a hard line on the number of emails in one thread. If you're having to send five emails back-and-forth for the same topic, you should opt for a virtual meeting or a phone call instead.

Using social media

Social media can be a powerful tool when you work from home. If you use it the right way. If not, it will have the opposite effect and lower your productivity significantly. 

Use the opportunity, and the power of social media, to interact with your customers in real-time. Ask questions, learn what they want and need and use that as a basis for improving your own product offer. Social media is also great for understanding the market and see what competitors are doing in the space. 

It's easy to get cabin fever when you're not surrounded by people (toddlers do not count). Join groups, listen to interesting podcasts, read white papers, take short online courses to get some social interaction while also educating yourself and digging deeper into a certain subject. 

And yes, it's OK to also use social media to take a break a few times during the day. The average human being can concentrate for 90 minutes to two hours with full focus. Then you're better off taking a break. 

 

Optimizing your work area

Set up your home for productivity. With limited space, this might be one of the more difficult points to implement, but if you follow these simple guidelines you're setting yourself up for success.

  • Find a quiet place in your apartment or house, and make a dedicated work area. If you can, set it up next to a window to reap the benefits of natural light.
  • Invest in a good chair and make sure you sit ergonomically correct. It's nothing worse for productivity than an aching back and/or neck.
  • Keep distractions at a distance. Don't start fiddling on your guitar when motivation is starting to slip through your fingers. You can go to your guitar when it's time for a break. 
  • Dress up! This might sound silly, but studies have been made saying that dressing properly, for an actual workday, will increase productivity versus going straight from the bed to "the office" in the pajamas.
  • Finally, declutter. Set up a good storage system to avoid having unnecessary distractions laying around. Purge things you don't need, like old coffee cups and piles of papers. Then set up proper storage for the things you do need. Since you're still operating from home, you might want to invest in a storage cabinet that doesn't look like office furniture, but fit into your home's interior style.

Office storage furniture

The Besta cabinet 602.945.04 from IKEA, customized with our Marie doors and panels in Perfect Gray, Elisabeth brass knobs, and Sara brass legs.

There are numerous design options for stylish furniture design in Norse's collection, and we come together with our partners to ensure continuity in our commitments to you while taking the utmost precautions to protect the safety of our community. We will keep our normal lead times, as our partners are operating in unaffected areas. Should that change, we'll notify you via our website.

We hope that these tips will help you be more productive when working from home. We urge you to continue to act with compassion and care and take all the necessary precautions to protect yourselves and each other, during this uncertain time. Be safe and stay healthy.

 

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You might also like: IKEA products you can customize with Norse Interiors

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