Working From Home Because of Coronavirus – 10 Tips for Success

Many companies are answering the challenge to control the global spread of Coronavirus by asking employees to begin working from home. Upstart Group has been working remotely with our team and our clients for many years. We polled our team for their insight into the do’s and don’ts of working from home to help you succeed during this time of uncertainty.

1. Do create a designated working space.

If you find yourself easily distracted (I mean come on, the couch and Netflix are calling), create a space designated only to getting work done. If working from home is temporary, you may not have an office space, but finding a quiet spot in the house can help you be more productive throughout the day.

2. Don't start the week with a messy house.

Use weekends to clean up your house, office area, etc. so you can start fresh on Monday without the thought of dirty dishes or a pile of laundry lingering in the back of your mind. It’s amazing how appealing house chores start to seem after a few hours of answering emails or taking calls, and those quick chores always take longer to complete than you think!

3. Do keep to your usual schedule.

If you’re usually at the office at 7, be at your desk/computer, coffee in hand, at that time. If you’ve got a stand-up at 9 am, attend either via video or phone. Take your usual breaks, attend all meetings, etc. Stick with your routine to maintain or even increase your productivity. You may find that you get more done without the typical office “drop in” traffic!

4. Don't put off getting started in the morning.

Working from home does not mean you should sleep in! If you do, you will find yourself trying to put in the hours at the end of the day into the evening when you have other obligations like cooking dinner, spending time with your family, etc. If you have children at home, it may require your working in evenings as you’re managing your family’s needs in addition to your job. If that’s the case, block out time on your calendar so co-workers know when you’re available; and let clients and others know that you’ll be working alternate hours but will continue to provide the same great service that you always do.


Need to quickly reference these tips later or share them with your colleagues? Download our printable cheatsheet here!

5. Do take breaks!

Use time blocking to structure your day and the tasks that you need to get done. Split up blocks of working time with breaks. Go for a walk, do a quick workout, or even catch up on some reading. Office routines for lunch and breaks are a helpful structure – it’s surprisingly easy working from home to forget things like eating lunch.

6. Don't isolate yourself.

Book time every day to hop on calls or video chat with others within your organization. Just because you’re working from home does not mean you’re cut off from communicating with your colleagues. The first day or two it might feel nice to be away from that guy three cubicles over that always steals your salad, but by the end of the week you might start to feel lonely and isolated which is neither productive or healthy. Reach out to your fellow coworkers as they’re probably feeling the same way!

7. Do dress as you typically would to go to work.

Remember, you’re going to be on video calls! Use a trick from TV newscasters: you only have to look great from the waist up! You could be in sweats and slippers below the waist and no one will know.

8. Don't be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to be motivated at home.

It takes a while to adjust. The energy of an office is often part of work motivation and without that energy and structure you might feel adrift.  Use some of the suggestions on this list to help organize yourself, use a timer with an audible alarm when you do take those breaks to play a game on your phone or catch “just one episode” of your favorite show. If you mess up, figure out why, and try something different next time. Consider getting support from others to help you stay on track, since some of your coworkers are undoubtedly facing the same thing!

9. D0 remember to take care of yourself and your own needs.

Especially if you are caring for kids now home from school, it’s hard to manage work and family at the same time, in the same space. Have a family meeting to develop new family rules such as “When Mommy has a sign on her door, that means she’s in a meeting. If you need something, go to Daddy (or other specified care giver).” Remember, you didn’t suddenly gain superpowers and it’s hard juggling the demands on your time or attention when working from home.  Keep yourself on the list of people to care for.

10. Don't let your pets run your life!

As much fun as it might be to be at home with your fur babies it’s just as important that you keep them in their regular routine as it is for you. They will be less likely to be disruptive while you're trying to work or attend virtual meetings if you maintain their normal schedules of feeding, exercise, etc. Of course, you can work a “pet break” into your schedule which they will love as much as you do!

Working from home can be challenging in any scenario but having to make a sudden shift can add extra stress. We hope you find these tips helpful and that they make you a more efficient and effective remote worker. As a team that is well versed in the work from home life, we’d be happy to answer any questions on how to be a part of or manage a remote team or provide recommendations on what tools can help you be more productive and successful as you begin working from home. Feel free to download our quick cheatsheet here to reference later.

Stay safe and healthy out there!