by Doug Tedder
Date Published April 30, 2020 - Last Updated December 10, 2020

My colleague, Deborah Monroe, recently contributed a fabulous article about how to make working from home work. If you’ve not read it yet, please do so now.

Really. I will wait.

Okay, now that you’ve read Deb’s great insights, I wanted to share with you some crowdsourced tips for working from home that I’ve collected over the past two weeks. These tips aren’t presented in any particular order (well, some of them are). As with any advice or guidance, please adopt and adapt to meet your situation.

  • Have a secret stash of chocolates. Or Cheetos.
  • Invest in a great microphone and headphones. Not only will this help you hear clearly and be heard, it will also help with blocking out any background sounds.
  • Play great music. If you’re going to have some background sounds, it might just as well be some great music.
  • Set and stay on a schedule. Start and end your workdays as if you were going into the office. Work in 90-120-minute blocks, then check for email or take a break (even if that break is a walk to the mailbox or getting a breath of fresh air). “Turn off” work at the end of the business day.
  • Set ground rules. Since others are home, too, set ground rules regarding workspace and quiet times. Also work from a room that has a locking door. While we are WFH, having privacy at times can be crucial.
  • Make lunch an event. Maybe it will be “Taco Tuesday.” Maybe it will be “What is green, fuzzy, and growing in our refrigerator?” Whatever you call it, have fun with it, clear your mind, and enjoy some connect time with others in your house.
  • Wear a "work-appropriate" shirt/blouse. Really, is there a need for explanation here?
  • Since you are working from home, it’s okay to wear your bunny slippers or flip-flops during the day. It’s also okay to wear sweatpants or your pajama bottoms. It’s even okay not to wear pants. But if you do decide not to wear pants, don’t stand up during video conferences.
It’s okay to wear your bunny slippers.
Tweet: It’s okay to wear your bunny slippers. @dougtedder @ThinkHDI #WFH #servicemanagement #servicedesk
  • Stand up frequently when you’re seated at your WFH desk. But only if you're wearing pants.
  • Have a commercial-quality chair. Let’s face it, sitting at the kitchen table on those chairs that came with the kitchen table gets uncomfortable after a few hours.
  • Conduct weekly trivia contests. This helps fill in the now missing social aspects of working at the office and helps with team morale, camaraderie, and bonding.
  • Do not multitask. (You really never can multitask anyway.)
  • Have a good dog. Or get a good dog. Take your dog for a walk during a break. It will be exercise for both you and your dog (win-win), plus it will give you a chance to relax and get some fresh air. Cats, on the other hand, leave something to be desired. For example, you can’t walk your cat.
  • Leverage cloud-based collaboration and sharing platforms. Helps make WFH as easy as possible.
  • Marry well. It helps to have a sysadmin/network technician/other IT professional in the house. If you don’t have an IT professional in your house, I’m sorry.
  • Do turn on your camera. We need to see each other’s faces. It’s okay if we see the dog, the kids, or the SO.
  • Do not schedule back-to-back video/teleconferences. You will never get to stretch your legs or go to the bathroom (and the latter situation would be embarrassing).
  • Pick a place from which to participate in video conferences, and stay in that place until the conference is over. In other words, don’t move your laptop while on the VC; we don’t want to see you in the WC.
  • Have a second monitor. A single screen gets very crowded very quickly, doesn’t it?
  • Have a great internet service. Nothing spells frustrating like an Internet connection that is c-h-o-p-p-y.
  • Invest in a reliable VPN connection. Keep the creepers out.
  • Stay human. Be human. Be intentional about connecting with your coworkers. Ask about well-being. Offer help as you can. Empathize.
  • Double-check that you are *not* muted (you probably are). Also, double-check that you *are* muted (you probably aren’t). You know the difference.
  • Leave some space for unscheduled things. WFH presents a whole set of variables that you typically don't have to deal with in the office: deliveries, help with homework, the home phone ringing. It will happen.
  • Find the room with the best view outside. Make that your WFH office. Experience what it's like to have that office with a view. (Inspiration for when you go back to the office?)
  • Have meaningful work to do. Don't just make up things to do. This is the opportunity to look for improvements or fix those important things that never seem to come to the top of the “to do” list.
  • Use a tool like Trello to organize and plan your work. This helps with focus, provides you with a sense of accomplishment when moving tasks from "to do" to "doing" to "done." Plus, you’ll have crazy Kanban skills in a few weeks.
  • Give yourself time to relax. Try not to leave a task "undone." It will stay on your mind.
  • Agree with your team to have "meeting blocks" and "working blocks." Don’t meet during working blocks; don’t work within meeting blocks.
  • Establish an office pool for when we go back to the office. (Sorry, the “12th of Never” is already taken.)
  • Most of all, have a sense of humor. Take a deep breath. We are all dealing with the unusual and the strange. But we will get through this together.

Doug Tedder is the principal of Tedder Consulting, a service management and IT governance consultancy. Doug is a recognized thought leader whose passion is helping and inspiring good IT organizations to become great. Doug is an author, blogger, and frequent speaker and contributor at local industry user group meetings, webinars, and national conventions. Doug holds numerous industry certifications in disciplines ranging from ITIL®, COBIT®, Lean IT, DevOps, KCS, VeriSM, and Organizational Change Management. He was recognized as an IT Industry Legend by Cherwell Software in 2016, and is one of HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. He is a member and former president of itSMF USA, a member of HDI, a contributing author to VeriSM, and co-author of the VeriSM Pocket Guide. Follow Doug on Twitter @dougtedder or visit his website.

Tag(s): supportworld, workforce enablement, workforce enablement, people, coronavirus


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