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Beedie School of Business
SFU Co-op Student

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Stay connected and try to build more personal connections, it can make adjusting to virtual work much easier.

Just last year, working from home was a privilege that only some companies could afford; however, in 2020 working from home has almost become a mandatory or ethical requirement for employers. So, what do you do when you are forced to work remotely in a role that is meant to be filled in an office environment? Here are a few tips and tricks that I have used to stay focused during my time working from home!

1. Structure Your Days

It becomes easy to sleep in or take a slightly longer break when your supervisor is not directly watching over you. Without a sense of structure, it is tempting to slack off or lose focus on your daily tasks. To help you avoid these bad habits, you should create a general weekly schedule and list out your daily goals onto a sheet of paper. You should also get into the habit of completing every single deliverable you have noted down for the day. This can help you build a strong sense of self-discipline and a goal to work towards every day. Additionally, you can also try to structure your time outside of work. For me personally, I developed a habit of working out every other day right after work and eat dinner around 7pm every day. This helped my mind and body develop into a good routine for both during work and after. 

2. Stay Connected

Stay connected with your co-workers and manager! Use your workplace’s communication apps to talk with the people you work with on a consistent basis. This is important because it can help you stay inside the loop of what projects your company is working on. This can also help you build on some good connections at your workplace. It does sound intimidating but the best way to build a good relationship is to occasionally talk about non-work-related things. I got to build a much more natural relationship with my manager once I learned that he enjoyed playing golf during the weekends and that he watched basketball during his free time. Talking about non-work-related items can take your relationship beyond simply being colleagues. It is like working on a group project with your friends, you are much more comfortable in sharing ideas and disagreeing with one another since you are more comfortable. Stay connected and try to build more personal connections, it can make adjusting to virtual work much easier.

3. Workspace
Matthew's workspace; two large monitors in front of a keyboard and mouse

Try to create a workspace that is professional. For me personally, I did not want to have any distractions at my workspace, so I cleared out all my personal items that tend to distract me. You should try your best to mimic the kind of environment you would have if you were still at the office. Try working in an area with bright natural lighting and filling your desk up with only work essentials. Working from home can be distracting so it is best to keep things tidy. Additionally, try to keep your phone away from this area if your work does not require it. Just like how you would not use your phone for Instagram or Facebook at the office, you should keep it hidden during your work hours at home too. By having a clean and organized work environment, it makes your work more enjoyable.

Just remember, stay positive and stay motivated. This mindset will make working from home equally as enjoyable as working in your office.

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn.

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