How to Make Working From Home Work

Posted on April 13, 2020
Joy Washington

With nearly all states under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, many employees are working from home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Jeanne Maes, professor of management in the University of South Alabama Mitchell College of Business, shares tips about how to work best away from the office. And, Maes and Dr. Teresa Weldy, associate professor, offer tips for managers.

“One month ago, only about 5.3 percent of Americans worked from home.  Since then, companies and institutions around the country have moved or are currently in the process of restructuring workplaces for remote working,” Maes explained. “With the increase of telecommuting, organizations are looking for best practices for productivity.” 

Tips to better work from home:

  1. Create a dedicated workspace – preferably not a high-traffic area – and envision that you are going to the office.  Some have found it helpful to ‘dress for the office’ even if it is at home.
  2. Set boundaries with others in the house and with yourself when it’s time to stop.
  3. Select your peak time to work and be consistent with it, setting up a routine.
  4. Stay connected with colleagues for support.
  5. Keep an upbeat attitude.

Tips to help managers lead successful virtual teams:

  1. Be mindful of culture in making critical leadership decisions
  2. Model collaborative behavior.
  3. Support a strong sense of community.
  4. Define clear roles for team members.
  5. Practice mentoring and coaching throughout the organization. 

Dr. Jeanne Maes is a professor of management in the Mitchell College of Business at USA and ombudsperson to faculty for USA. A seasoned dispute resolution professional, facilitator, executive trainer and consultant, Maes’ area of expertise include communication skills, conflict management organizational development and change, partnering, team-building and leadership.

Dr. Teresa Weldy is an associate professor in the Mitchell College of Business at USA. Her research interests include training effectiveness and transfer, training evaluation, the learning organization, transfer and evaluation of training, learning improvement and assessment and business communications. Her teaching interests are in business, management, communications, and training and development.

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