*This is a collaborative post but my authentic thoughts are represented within the blog.*
Working from home! Those words might fill you with joy (avoiding a long commute to work, unlimited snacking throughout the day, or taking lunch whenever you want!) or dread (kids running around, concentration issues, no space to work). However you feel about it, working from home is a way of life and nowadays many of you are adapting to this new normal.
One of the greatest challenges of working from home is how to organize yourself. In an office space, you have particular sections or areas when you may store files, binders, and documents. You may have a system as to how you receive incoming mail or effectively communicate directly with your co-workers which creates some sort of structure making it easy to delineate between home and work. But if you’re working from home, it may not be as simple! Many people really struggle to find that work-life balance when working from home and can even find it difficult to focus due to low energy levels which could be a result of not working in the office which could be stimulating.
With a bit of organization, you can make this a lot easier on yourself. Of course, there are the physical changes you can make that will help massively. Setting out a home working space that is separate from where you spend time relaxing can be invaluable in placing yourself in the right head-space to perform to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, working in pajamas may not be ideal - though sweats and a smart jumper have been recommended as comfortable alternatives. However, as many people conduct their work remotely and online, it’s also important to be digitally organized! Here are some suggestions for tools and software you can use to make your online office as organized as your real-life one!
The phenomenon of video conferencing has swept across the nation, with some people conducting as many as five different video calls per day for work - and more! There are so many options out there, and Zoom has definitely arrived as one of the front runners. However, recently Zoom has also come under scrutiny for weak privacy measures that may put your security at risk - which is not ideal, particularly for any sensitive work conversations or confidential matters! But one of Zoom's blog post does outline how you can lock your online meetings to ensure the privacy of the content.
Free Conference Call is a great alternative for organizations, allowing hundreds of team members on one call, unlimited time, and a host of other features. I use it to connect with colleagues for my full-time job in addition to conducting one-on-one calls with clients. I love that I can lock the meeting, record the meeting, and share my screen and most importantly it's free! The platform does ask for donations but it's not mandatory. Since I enjoy using Free Conference Call and have found it to be very intuitive and budget friendly, I have donated to the platform because it has been beneficial in allowing me to work remotely.
Alongside video conferencing comes the issue of sharing files and documents with co-workers. Whereas you once may have been able to simply pop over to their desk with a query, now it is a little different. Emails can quickly become clogged with files that just need simple tweaks, and it’s easy to become confused with different versions and updates. A good solution is to use dedicated software to enable document sharing and editing and sites like https://www.templafy.com/solution have very user-friendly options. Get your documents game on point and never feel disorganized online again! There are other options such as Box and Dropbox which enables you to upload files and documents which allows multiple people to view these documents and to create folders to organize specific files.
Finally - emails. If you’re obsessed with feeling organized, the thought of a stuffed and confusing inbox can fill you with just as much dread as a room covered in three inches of mess. Luckily, there are ways you can combat this. Make sure to organize your inbox into folders for different areas so you can easily navigate to what you need. Be sure to also be clear, concise, and direct when sending emails. For example, if you're attempting to schedule a meeting, then providing specific dates and times as opposed to just asking, "when are you free?" - can minimize the amount of emailing back and forth. I also recommend that if you open an email and are unable to take action, then mark it as "unread" which will alert you to go back, read it, and then take action. It's not abnormal for for you to open and a read an email and then completely forget about it and it could have been an important email.
Scheduling and organizing tools such as Boomerang (specific to Gmail, though alternatives are available for other platforms) are an invaluable way to deal with messages as they come, setting up responses quickly and efficiently.
Below are other free resources that can assist you when working from home. Burner and Google Voice allows you to protect your personal number when calling clients for work. And Jitsi is another video conferencing platform.
Working from home doesn't only apply to organizing your physical space but also organizing and setting up systems related to your digital space. The goal is to create an an organized environment that is conducive to your lifestyle but will also allow you to perform to the best of your ability.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Related Posts: 5 Tips To Keep Your Organized In Quarantine
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Disclaimer: All posts and tips are for educational and informational purposes. SoleOrganizer, LLC is not to be held liable for interpretation of tips and products.