• Tips For Working from Home

  • Many people have been learning to work from home during this pandemic. For those of us who have been doing this for years, it’s no big change; but for new ‘WFH-ers’ this can be a challenge. For those just getting used to this (and it may continue for a while), or if you’re thinking of making a permanent transition, here are a few suggestions that I have found to be helpful.

    Get Organized

    • Stock up on the office basics – paper, pens, printer ink, and file folders – all the things you would normally get from the office supply closet.
    • Keep your computer, software and virus protection up to date – you likely won’t have an in-house IT person to assist if you suffer computer problems.
    • Consider setting up remote IT services with a program like ‘Team Viewer”, and/or find your own computer guru/nerd to help if you do have problems.
    • Back up all your work – real-time cloud based back up could save you and your work if your system crashes.
    • Set up a good system for video calls and conferencing. Invest in a good quality hands-free headset with microphone so you can hear and be understood in those video calls and conferences – also convenient for taking notes while on a call.
    • Learn how to do some of the tasks you may normally delegate – report preparation, report assembly, correspondence, drafting etc.

    Get Comfortable

    • If possible set up a separate home office where you can work productively – a dedicated computer with a big computer screen or multiple monitors, a comfortable ergonomic office chair – all of this is much more efficient than working on a shared family computer at the kitchen table.
    • Set and respect work times and boundaries so you can remain productive – especially if more than one person is working from home.  This can be hard with young children around.
    • Avoid distractions, take some time off but don’t waste work time on social media, news overload, or re-runs of hockey playoffs from 1997.
    • Take some breaks, get up and move around, watch your posture.
    • Reward yourself when you reach goals. Have some ice cream or an afternoon nap if you like.
    • Eat healthy, get regular sleep; don’t forget to allow time in your routine for regular exercise. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind and reduces stress. 

    Be Consistent in your WFH Habits

    • Make and keep a schedule, establish a morning routine, set reasonable deadlines.
    • Get ready the day before. Prepare and update a ‘to-do’ list and cross things off when done – achieving project milestones will give you a sense of accomplishment.
    • Try to interact with other team members or colleagues – personal connections are important to maintain in isolation.
    • Arrange for external project/report review where possible.  Without professional interaction and QA/QC review we can all get complacent and miss important issues.
    • It may be harder to delegate tasks or to walk ‘down the hall’ for input and advice. Adjust to your ‘new’ learning and productivity curve.
    • Maintain efficient and regular communication with your team, clients and other stakeholders.

    Stay safe, stay healthy, be kind and help others – we are all in this together, and together we will get through this.

    Bill Leedham, P. Geo., CESA

    Bill is the Head Instructor and Course Developer for the Associated Environmental Site Assessors of Canada (www.aesac.ca); and the founder and President of Down 2 Earth Environmental Services Inc. You can contact Bill at info@down2earthenvironmental.ca