Working From Home

The following blog post appeared originally on the Azure Leadership Group’s website: Tips for Effectively Working from Home

Remote work, whether voluntary or required, is becoming increasingly common in light of the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak. Whether you’re compromised yourself or acting out of an abundance of caution, if you’re not used to working from home it can be a big adjustment and hard to keep things on track.

It can be lonely and challenging to keep focused, and hard to keep the ball moving. The good news is more and more organizations allow it and increasingly the modern workforce is good at remote and flexible work. So make it work well for you.

Every person and every organization has different needs and requirements for working remotely, and you should check with your manager about what is expected of you — and be clear if you lead teams about what your expectations are.

>Here are some tips to help you and your teams work effectively from home.


One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the motivation to get up and get working.

  • Your Day. Treat working remotely like you would going to an office. Wake up at a regular time, take a shower and get dressed like you would going to an office. Aim to be at your work space at a regular time each day.

  • Your Calendar. Be disciplined about your calendar. Set regular check in meetings, set regular blocks of time dedicated to work. Set a regular time for breaks and for lunch. As much as possible keep to a regular work schedule.

  • Your Breaks. Set times for breaks. This is really important because at an office most of the time your day is broken up for you and requires you moving from one meeting to another. Set a timer or a reminder to get up and walk around, stretch, get some fresh air, and take a break.

  • Your Sanity. Limit the time you spend doing other things — like laundry, checking social media, doing errands, reading the news. Without regular structure and consistent use of that structure, it’s too easy to lose track of time and feel like you’re behind — or to become unmotivated.

  • Your Goals. Set goals for each day and check in at the end of each day about how you progressed on them. More than ever, working at home requires self-discipline, so small tools like a daily check in with yourself help keep you honest and keep you on track.


  • Space. Find and keep a comfortable, regular place where you do your work — ideally that isn’t also where you sleep. Don’t just do your work from bed or your sofa all day. Find a desk or a table where you can sit up and keep your energy up and keep focused. Keeping your work separate from your personal life is important to your long term sanity and keeping a positive frame of mind about your work and whatever you do in your bedroom.

  • Computer. Depending on the type of work you do, this may require a computer set up where you can have conversations over the phone or video. Invest in the tech set up that can help keep you comfortable, or check with your company about options to set you up for comfort.

  • Video Conference Experience. Get good at video conferencing. Basic video conference etiquette is about making sure other people can hear you and see you as well as possible and ensuring everyone has a chance to participate. Be aware that even if you’re not speaking you are on camera and people can see what you’re doing. Make sure everyone has the links you use for your video conferencing platform of choice.

  • Phone. Pick up the phone. Use the phone to have conversations whenever possible instead of relying on email and chat. Keep it charged.

  • Collaborative Tools. Get good at using collaborative working tools like Zoom, Google docs, Workplace, Slack, WhatsApp and other tools. Align with your team on which one or ones you’ll use and be good about checking them regularly. Create a team chat channel or conversation. Use them more, and use them as a replacement for the conversations you’d have in person.

  • Patience. A lot of technology works far better in an office than remotely, especially when use of secure servers are required, and when most homes have different internet speeds. Be patient and be clear about setting expectations. If internet speeds are slow, consider using audio only. A lot of remote work means work may slow down. Consider how you use the downtime to maybe reflect and do something you otherwise wouldn’t do to make your work better.


Speaking of expectations, be clear about setting yours for yourself and for your teams.

  • Collaboration Expectation. Will you have more regular check-in meetings with your teams? Who is in charge of setting them up, running the meeting and ensuring participation? Are the meetings set at a time that accounts for people working in different time zones?

  • Work Product Expectation. Go through an exercise of explicitly identifying what goals and work has changed and what stays the same. A lot of work in an office is collaborative, and requires in person connection. Go through an exercise of thinking about what might need to change and what the key outcomes are that you and your team want to align on. Use this as a good opportunity to re-engage with your manager about your overall work, career growth, and what your expectations are and theirs for you.

  • Personal Expectation. Less in person connection does not have to mean less productivity and less sharing. Be active in thinking about what your work requires and creative in thinking about work arounds. Most of us spend a lot of time in meetings we don’t actually need to be in. And many of those meetings can be done virtually anyway.

  • Get a Buddy. Have a buddy who checks in on you regularly, and you can check in with. This isn’t for a 30-min gab fest on the new Beyonce album. But it’s to check in to see how you’re doing, keep yourself motivated and stave off a feeling of loneliness. Your buddy can be a coworker or a friend.