There has been a lot of talk lately about organizations launching work-from-home initiatives. Much of the discussion has focused on the technical requirements for enabling these programs. But, behind that is a group of people who also have their own requirements and needs.
Working from home might be a new experience for many of your employees. Battling commute traffic and spending hours with colleagues in the office has been the norm for just about everyone. But with work-from-home initiatives, your employees are being taken out of their comfort zone and are having to adjust to a new normal.
For some, this can lead to uncertainty, a bit of anxiety, and quite a few challenges—mostly around creating an effective work environment at home and staying productive outside of the office.
We queried a number of our employees for their best tips on creating a productive work-at-home experience. Some of these employees are veteran at-home workers, while others are dealing with it for the first time, just like many of you.
Here is what they said:
Take care of yourself
Exercise. Incorporating exercise into your routine has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep and bolstering your immune system. Simple workouts, such as taking the dog for a walk, jogging around your block, following along to a workout video, stretching, or doing squats while waiting for your next Zoom meeting, are a great place to begin.
– Joel R.
Take a daily walk outside. Even if it’s just around the block, walking is great for a mental reset and it’s healthy to get fresh air and sunshine, which is always a mood-booster!
– Natalie P.
Meditate. Don’t have that long commute anymore? Take that time to prepare for your day by centering your thoughts and clearing your mind. Meditation can reduce stress and lessen the anxiety that you may be feeling during isolation.
– Jolie F.
Get the right tools
Invest in a good pair of headphones and a microphone. Having quality audio is a must to communicate clearly and allows everyone to hear you clearly during meetings.
– Alex K.
Everyone has multiple devices at home. You should dedicate a desk and other peripherals for work-only use to help you feel like you are in the office.
– Harjot S.
Don’t cheat yourself out of a comfortable working space. Spend a little extra to get yourself a good chair and even a standing desk. Your body will thank you for it.
– Michelle R.
Location, location, location
It’s important to find the right spot to do your best work at home, and that may mean changing your surroundings at times. I have an office area where I like to have meetings, but for projects I prefer the sofa by the big window—it seems to loosen up the creative neurons.
– Gretchen R.
For meetings with video, be sure you have a good background setting. If it is an internal meeting, change it up to make it fun from time to time if that is acceptable for your meeting. For business, leverage your company’s artwork as a background if your home office does not lend itself to a good backdrop.
– Andrea S.
Working from home gives you the flexibility to work from different locations in and around your house. If it is a nice day, you can even work outside. This is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine while still remaining productive.
– Kristi M.
Set a schedule
Plan your day. If it’s just yourself or a family of four at home, planning your day can lead to you checking off more boxes on completed tasks and staying focused. Even for children, this can be helpful knowing they have an agenda for their day and have things to accomplish.
– Katrina A.
Keep your normal morning routine. Act as if you’re still going into the office: get dressed, have your coffee, etc. It will keep you motivated and help you to not fall out of your normal way of doing things.
– Sarah E.
Get ready for the day. As a remote worker for almost eight years now, I think it’s important to get showered, dressed and ready for increased productivity. I try to wear pants with a button at least three times a week.
– Hannah V.
It is important to continue to have weekly team video conference meetings to simply check in on how everyone is doing and what tasks they are completing and if they need help. Since we don’t have the office to simply stop by each other's desks, having these meetings will bring normalcy to your workday.
– Courtney G.
Try to set up video conference calls with colleagues not only for business meetings, but casual meetings as well to maintain social connections. Treat these as you would a trip to the coffee machine for a casual conversation. Or set up a virtual happy hour or team video conference for a much-needed break in your day.
– Didier S.
Set up weekly team meetings and more regular one-on-one meetings. Managers should regularly meet with team members to ensure they are safe, healthy, and happy in addition to checking in on workload and duties. Try to help your employees set a realistic work schedule to help them from getting overwhelmed or feeling like they need to be tied to their computers all day.
– Tom S.
Working from home has been an adjustment for many of us, but I've been amazed by the resilience of our teams as they've carried on with incredible focus. The People and Culture team has continued to hire and onboard new employees, our engineering teams continue to enhance services and expand the platform, and we've all worked together to achieve our shared goal of delighting customers. We've always described the people of Zscaler as a family, and the fact that we've remained so closely connected despite our physical separation has reinforced that sense for many of us.
I look forward to seeing my Zscaler family again soon. For now, I'm happy just to see them on my screen.
Allison Doughty is the Global Benefits Manager at Zscaler.