If you can work at home, you have to work from home. For many of us it's fine to work from home, but you have to watch out for social impoverishment.
If it takes too long, productivity may decrease and there may also be an alienating effect. You have fewer social encounters and less spontaneous conversations at the coffee machine.
Human contact is very important in employment relationships. As face-to-face contact is not or less possible at the moment, digital tools offer an alternative. It is important to continue to meet your colleagues on a regular basis, even if not in person.
Accept that working from home is not the same as working at VU Amsterdam
Don't set the bar unrealistically high for yourself or your colleagues. Especially if you are at home with several people, you will have to be accommodating with your daily schedule and agenda. You don't have all the things you need at hand. It's a bit like camping. Focus on the things that work, and - just like camping - practice makes perfect.
Try to work together and maintain contact with your colleagues
Send a spontaneous email with compliments, make a phone call to catch up and use group apps with colleagues. Be aware that it's nice to have (informal) contact with each other sometimes.
Make sure your workplace is peaceful and orderly
Make arrangements at home. For example, arrange times when you don't want to be disturbed or when you’re on the phone.
Make sure you have a good work plan
At the office you can see what colleagues do and when they arrive and leave. You don't have that at home. Make sure you set up clear tasks, make a distinction between 'regular' and 'necessary', and demarcate your time. If necessary, make priorities for work in consultation with your supervisor. Also keep in close contact with your colleagues to fine-tune your work.
Take regular breaks and use time management
The advantage of working from home is that you have less distractions from colleagues. You can work more effectively. The downside of having no distractions at all is that a decent break and sufficient variety are missing. So, take a break between calls, take a break for tea/coffee, have lunch somewhere else in the house and walk away from your workplace every hour. Or take the GoodHabitz Time management
Ensure a good balance between work and private tasks
When working from home, it is tempting to do private tasks in between. You figure you can catch up with work later. That flexibility can be an advantage, but before you know it, you are also busy in the evenings, and work and private life are mixed. Homeworkers usually make more hours. If they do something during the day that is not directly work-oriented, they tend to compensate for those hours more than office workers. Employees also often work longer hours at home because they do not want to damage the employer's trust. As a result, it can be more difficult to get away from work.
Make sure you keep the usual work routine
If you start work at 8:00 hrs, do the same at home. That'll give you structure. Also end your workday clearly and make a plan for the next day. If something didn’t get finished, plan it again to ensure a healthy workload. Make sure there is a good balance between work and private tasks: When working from home, it will be tempting to, for example, do domestic tasks in between. The ability to concentrate quickly decreases as a result of distractions and interruptions. It appears to take about eight minutes each time before you return to the same level of concentration.
Make sure you keep sufficient contact with your colleagues and supervisor
(digital) Technology offers many possibilities to stay in touch with each other. For supervisors: organise moments for consultation and let employees clearly known when this will take place, for peace and clarity.
Take good care of yourself
It seems that we often take better care of ourselves at work than at home. This is a unique opportunity to make the best of the situation. Experiment with the work routine and working hours where possible and drink your own coffee as you like it.
More information about porpose and wellbeing in times of corona, visit the VUnet webpage Working & Corona