Welcome to Network Depot's Blog, The Depot Diaries!
I wasn't sure what to write about for today's blog post. Given the weather outside and the school and government closings, it seemed natural that today's blog post should talk about working from home, or how to work from home. But, we already have a few great blog posts that cover these topics, like What to Consider Before Working from Home, How to Work from Home and Preparing Your Business For Winter.
So, as I sat here, trying to figure out what to write about, I realized there was one topic I hadn't yet covered when it came to the discussion of working from home: how difficult it can be.
Let's face it, if you are not used to it, having to work from home can be challenging. There are so many different things to distract you. Here are just a few off the top of my head:
- Housework (who can't resist the chance to catch up on the cooking, cleaning, and laundry?)
- No good work space (sitting on the couch with a laptop on your lap doesn't exactly promote the same kind of productive feeling as your desk in the office)
And I'm sure there are many more.
So, how can we help ourselves (and our businesses) when we have those days we need to work from home? Because business is not just going to stop, and those emails do need to get answered. So unless you are willing to take a vacation day every time there is a snowstorm, you are going to need to put some strategies in to place that will help you work from home.
Here are some that have really helped me:
- Wake up! Once you realize you are going to work from home for the day, it is really tempting to just crawl back into bed for those precious moments of more sleep. But don't do it. Instead, keep to your normal routine. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, and get all ready as if you were going to work. This is going to help remind you that it is in fact still a work day, and will keep your brain on the same track.
- Designate a work space: If you are like me, you don't really have an office in your house. So, pick a place, and make it your office for the day. It can be your kitchen table, your living room coffee table, or even your extra guest room. Whatever you choose, make sure it is quiet, clear of as many distractions as possible, and somewhere that you have room for your laptop, phone, books, or whatever else you need. Once you have that designated "work space" for the day, you will know that if you are in that space, you are working.
- Make up a To-Do list: When you are at the office it can sometimes feel like there are endless tasks that you need to accomplish. When you are working from home, the first thing you should do is map out a clear plan for the day. What are the tasks that absolutely have to get done? What are the things you can work on from home? Write out this as a checklist and hang it up in your work space. It will help you focus throughout the day and keep reminding you and your brain that it is a real work day.
- Take your breaks: Do you normally take a lunch hour? Great! Do it at home too. Take your lunch hour, your coffee breaks, etc. Anything to help stick as close to your normal routine as possible.
- Don't be too hard on yourself: After all, this is a day working from home. Is it going to be exactly like working from the office? Absolutely not. Can you spend the day working in your sweatpants? Yes! That is one of the great bonuses of taking a work from home day. Just be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish for the day.
At the end of the day, what is important is that you get done what you need to get done and that your company doesn't lose a step. By making some small adjustments you can help make sure that happens, even when you are working from home.
I hope everyone out there stays safe and warm today!
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Two days ago, I had a really interesting conversation with a colleague of mine about company culture, and it got me thinking.
The discussion started with him asking me a question- "Do you think that all companies are like ours?" He was referring to the internal relationship that the employees here at Network Depot have with one another. Not to pull the curtain completely aside, I will let you know (for the sake of this blog post) that the internal company culture at Network Depot is one that is a great mixture of fun and productivity. We all work hard here, and we also like to have fun and joke around with one another.
I answered his question very simply- "Yes." But the truth is, whenever you are talking about company cultures, it is rarely simple.
Is it just me, or is the holiday shopping season getting a bit overloaded this year?
First, there's Black Friday, which apparently now starts at 8 PM on Thursday. Then there's Small Business Saturday, and then Cyber Monday. And of course, everything is extended for a weekend or week-long sale. Basically, starting during Thanksgiving, you have all these retail stores telling you that you need to go and buy things, and they are giving you the incentives to do just that.
We all know about Black Friday, that day after Thanksgiving when you can get the most amazing deals of the year at retail stores. But, how many of you have ever heard of Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express. It is a day where you are encouraged to "shop small"- visit your local retail stores and restaurants, and show your support for small businesses by shopping at them.
Network Depot is definitely a supporter of small businesses. Aside from the fact that our clients are all small and medium-sized businesses, we know just how important local shops are to their communities. In fact, during National Small Business Week we even wrote this blog post, "7 Things We Love About Small Businesses".
Now, we're not against all the wonderful deals you can get by shopping on Black Friday (that is, if you have the patience to brave the lines and the crowds), but we wanted to encourage you to get out on Saturday too, and to show your support for the small businesses in your neighborhood. So here are a few reasons why small businesses are so important:
Working from home is getting much more common these days. People enjoy the flexibility, they feel they have more time to be productive, and it helps employers cut down on costs. But, working from home does mean you need to be concerned about different things. One of the big worry points should be your internet connection and speed at your house.
Since working from home likely requires some type of connection, whether it involves remoting into your machine at work, or accessing your files through a cloud storage program, your internet is the major player in making it happen. So, if you have trouble with your internet at your house, working from home may not be a possibility for you.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons your internet connection at your house might be having trouble supporting you when you try to work from home: