So Now You’re Working From Home…

Most of you are probably working from home by now(for those who aren’t I’d just like to say Thank You, you are appreciated). For those working from home, and especially supporting those working from home, this post is for you. This is less of an instructional or guidance post and more insight into what I’m doing to be as productive as I can from home and still support those who, now more than ever, need IT support.

First things first… I get up, get dressed and ready(just as if I was going to work, and most important have my first cup of coffee. Then I punch in, setup my browser tabs, apps, and phone(complete with headset) and get settled in to work. It might sound cheesy but getting up and ready gets my brain into work mode and makes taking that first call a bit smoother. Keeping somewhat of a routine can help too, sure it’s a new normal, but for me it helps keep things flowing.

Everyone’s gear needs will be different depending on the situation. Take me, I work for a k-12 school, so I have the gear for it. This includes, my personal laptop, work laptop, Chromebook, iPad, dock, extra monitor, my cell phone(with earbuds), and noise cancelling headphones. Now I also have a Logitech headset w/boom mic in the rare case I need to do a meeting on the computer(most of my work is done via phone and remote support tools).

Keeping down distractions is another key. Unfortunately I don’t have a room to use for a home office, however my wife has been AWESOME in helping keep the kiddos happy and semi quiet. If you have a spouse that’s also home with the kids be sure to work out time for each of you. In my case my wife is home without work till work re-opens, so she’s been taking on much of the kids learning and other kid duties. Since we don’t have the space for a home office I’m really making use of my noise cancelling headphones when possible(ie not on a call or wrestling kiddos). I usually put on a podcast or music, this helps keep down distractions and allows me to focus more on work.

Getting out and about is also helpful, which isn’t easy given the current restrictions in place. Fortunately where we live getting out for exercise, provided you’re not loitering or congregating, or using publicly shared equipment, is restricted. Apart from the occasional family out with kids there aren’t many folks out on the street, and those who are are being mindful to practice “social distancing”. For myself I’ve taken the opportunity to get out on my longboard to commute, when needed, to different sites and get some fresh air in the process(again practicing appropriate “social distancing”). This helps me think and also helps me not feel like being at home=work. It also helps since I normally spend 50% of my time out and about answering tickets at work, even more time out and about on projects when school is out.

Getting up and ready for work, keeping a schedule(of sorts), keeping a workflow, and reducing distractions are what help me be more productive while working from home. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is doable… for now. I’ll try and put up a few pictures, or perhaps a YouTube video, of my home office and how my daily workflow goes. If you’re interested in my repair videos I’ve started working on check out SaltyOldGeek on YouTube.

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