If you have a home office, you’re one of the lucky ones. If you have a quiet place to work in when you are at home, then you are one of the lucky ones. Maybe you just prop your laptop on a kitchen table, between meals. Perhaps you just commandeer a spot on the floor that competes with the sprawl of children’s toys.

Beyond those constraints, you also need technology. Precisely what technology you need is governed in part by the kind of job you are required to fulfill, and in part by the technology available from your “mother ship.”

Strategic Systems Group (SSG) has had a remote model in place for years, so we understand the requirements and the constraints.

Technology for Working at Home

It starts with having an up-to-date (preferably Windows 10) device loaded with basic up-to-date software such as the Microsoft Office Suite or Office 365, running on a high-speed internet connection. What else? It depends on your role, but here is a list of some must-have and some nice to have items:

  • Hardware beyond your primary device
    • Printer, scanner, fax (black and white and color)
    • Smartphone
    • Headset
    • Wireless chargers
    • Thumb drives
    • Monitor(s)
    • Wireless mouse and keyboard
  • Software beyond Office
    • Adobe
    • CAD/CAM
    • Graphic design tools
    • SnipIT or similar tool
    • OneNote
    • Virus protection
  • Secure access to
    • Your company’s CRM and ERP
    • Phone and meeting conference services
    • Your company’s network
    • Shared files

Of course, there is more. In an ideal world, there is always more. But start with the above and build from there. The longer you work from home, the more you’ll realize the full extent of your need. Ask your company for what you need. Say please, and thank you, too!

New Challenges

If you are not accustomed to working from home, it can be challenging in the beginning. It definitely takes a while to get used to it. Suddenly, there is no daily social interaction with your colleagues. You can’t just pop into a colleague’s office or peek over the wall of your cube. This can create a feeling of isolation. You might even feel untethered. Your day can feel lacking in structure. You need to learn how to create your own structure. You are spending a lot more time on the phone and/or on email. You may even be spending a lot more time in your pajamas!

Some people find that they gain weight when working from home because the refrigerator and the snack cabinet are all too available. In addition, you may have had a great routine that included going to the gym on your way home from work. Now, you have to leave home just to go to the gym, and that is harder to do. So some of your good habits are falling by the wayside.

The Silver Lining

But, the good news – the proverbial silver lining in all this – is that you are also spending a lot less time commuting. You are spending a lot more time with your family. Your 8-hour day does not have to be 9:00 to 5:00. In many cases, it can be the hours of your choosing. Perhaps you are a night owl, and you would prefer to work late at night. Maybe you are not a “morning person,” and getting to work by 9:00 am has always been a problem for you. Well, that problem has just been solved!

For better or worse, you have to worry less about your appearance. You will probably find that you are spending less money on a business appropriate wardrobe. Because every day is casual Friday!

Best Practices

As we mentioned above, Strategic Systems Group (SSG) long ago adopted a remote model. Based on our own experience, we would like to suggest a few best practices for successfully working from home, for creating the kind of structure that most of us do need, and for establishing good work habits.

  • Choose a wake-up time that suits you best and then stick to it.
  • Start your day with a shower or an exercise routine that serves two purposes:
    1. It gets your blood flowing
    2. It gets you out of your pajamas
  • Prioritize your tasks and projects each morning.
  • Schedule meals and short breaks as part of each day.
  • Reward yourself for sticking to your schedule.

And remember to get up, stretch your legs, walkabout for a bit of exercise to give your brain more oxygen and your body more energy. And you’ll soon get acclimated to this new normal.

We Can Help

We are committed to “doing our bit” during these troubling times, helping in any way that we can. Contact us for more information. Call SSG at 310.539.4645 or email us at info@ssgnet.com.

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