Keeping yourself productive while working remote can be challengingFor people who have worked once or twice a week during normal times, the change to work from home might not be new, though uncommon to remote all days of the week. For folks who are working from home for the first time to support their teams and company, this could be little daunting and will need new strategies to be productive and effective. Here are a few ideas that can help in organizing work, coping up with stress and being productive during these tough and uncertain times. 1Designate a work area Simulating exactly your office desk can be little difficult, but having a designated work desk/room/area is paramount. Seating on the sofa is not a good idea. First, need to be working for long periods. Second, while on sofa there might temptations to turn on streaming service and binge watch. Even though there is no proper office desk/chair, reuse the dining or breakfast table. Having a straight posture is important to avoid back pains. In office, ergonomics experts help set-up the desk and work with employees to be comfortable. 2 Follow a schedule Going to work everyday demanded a schedule anyways. Now, it is the time to adapt the schedule to fit the new norm of no commute, but also support the flexibility to support your family. It would be best to keep the current time schedules for team meeting as is. Reduce the number of meetings or cancel the ones that are not needed or can be postponed. 3 Prioritize Given the uncertainty and other restrictions from federal, state and county authorities, most companies have cancelled events and product roll out. The focus should be on supporting employees and companies customer during this transition. The priority is to make sure systems/applications are up, running and can support new working models. Don't introduce any change if it not needed or can wait. 4 Tech accessories For the employees working from home first time need to take care of extended monitors, additional power cords and stationary etc. Don't realize how important these things are to be productive and working for long hours. Most of the companies will be helping out their employees and sure reach out their manager or IT departments. 5 Put on work clothes Following the routine as if going to work can help and will be a productive booster. Again, this could be a personal choice. Getting out pyjamas and wearing washed and pressed clothes can help with focus, completing the tasks and meeting deadlines & commitments. 6 Turn on the camera for meeting Turning on the camera will enable to see your team members face-to-face. It can help not zone out during meetings and attentive to the details. Most important brings life to the conversation as you see their face. Make sure the surrounding areas that can be seen on camera are clean and tidy. Ideal would be a bookshelf or a wall. There should be ample light. If possible sit near window so that you can leverage sunlight or else turn on lights. (Find the full list of tools which can assist in remote work HERE.) 7 Instant Messaging (IM) Most of companies use instant messaging and are very useful for 1:1 or group conversations. Take advantage of the features from IM. Most tools support voice and video calls. 8 Share cell phone number Update your profile with your cell number. HR might need it to communicate important information on virus updates and other authorities. Make sure your entire team has the cell numbers of each other. Provide an alternate numbers of to reach you if possible. Companies are also sending emergency alerts to employee's cell that are important. 9 Be kind Most of the schools and day care are closed. For working parents it could be challenging to take care of kids and working at the same time. Plan your day and take turns with your partner while caring for the little one. Please be kind and forgiving if there are any background noise of kid's crying. 10 Slow network As most of people are working remotely or staying home and using internet, the network might be slow. If you need to work on a big document or there is option download the content for edit use it. Online editing might be slow and flaky. Making updates to local copy will save the headaches of loosing data. 11 Take breaks Though we might not be paying attention to the clock or being comfortable just sitting, it is important to take breaks at regular intervals. Stand-up and walk. Stay hydrated and take a deep breathe when feeling stressed. These are difficult, challenging and interesting times. Supporting each other, we will get through this. Summing up While working from home becomes new norm, follow the 11 steps and be productive. Most importantly take care of the family and loved ones at this time of the need. Avoid gatherings, maintain social distance and stay safe. PS: Read the 'Remote Manager’s Guide to Productive & Motivated Teams' HERE.