Working from home? 9 tips for first timers

March 31, 2020

Are you working from the home for first time? Working from home has become a popular alternative for many people, and now more than ever due to our social distancing efforts around the COVID-19 pandemic. In a survey done by Statistics Canada in 2008, 19% of employees worked from home, or around 1.7 million Canadians.

As technology in all sectors becomes more service-oriented, having access to good internet and a cellphone for calls may be all you need to be productive and successful from home. There are also some great benefits for working from home, most notably: having a more flexible schedule, zero commuting, and wearing sweatpants all day – if you want.

But with the freedom that comes with working from home, employees also need to maintain good communication with their bosses and co-workers.

Here are nine tips as you settle into a work-from-home routine that focus on effective communication with your employer and co-workers.

1. Schedule weekly 30-minute goalsetting calls

Schedule a recurring phone call for the morning of the first workday of each week with your supervisor. During the call, discuss the projects you will work on throughout the week. Together, set deadlines and establish goals for how much progress you intend to make.

2. Schedule weekly 30-minute review calls

Schedule these calls for the afternoon of the final workday of each week. During each call, review whether or not you achieved your goals for that week. If you did, identify the key factors that led to your success. If you didn’t, identify the challenges you faced and how you might overcome them in the future.

3. Send daily e-updates

Before ending work each day, send your supervisor a short email that gives them an update on which projects you worked on that day, how much progress you made, any highlights and successes, or challenges you faced that made progress difficult. Consider including a sample of your work, so that they can provide feedback and additional support, if needed.

4. Ask questions

If you ever feel stressed, lost or overwhelmed, call or email your supervisor immediately. They are committed to your growth and success and should always be happy to help! Also don’t hesitate to call or email if you are waiting on your their feedback before proceeding on something. A quick question or reminder can help speed the process!

5. Save your documents in the cloud

At the end of every day, make sure your important documents are saved in a way that your co-workers who need them can access them, such as your work’s cloud-based storage.

6. Don’t wait to reach out

Ask yourself: does my supervisor know what I am working on right now? If the answer is no, let them know. Also, let them know about any barriers or challenges that might be affecting your ability to work from home effectively.

7. Be on top of deadlines

Set any deadlines in your calendar and give yourself reminders throughout the week by flagging emails or tasks. If you don’t think you’ll meet a deadline, talk to your supervisor immediately. You can make alternative arrangements or find additional support to help you succeed.

8. Be creative to stay connected

You are still part of a team, even if you are far from the rest of your co-workers! Brainstorm creative ways to keep in touch, such as Friday afternoon call-ins, video lunches, and e-cards. It could even be as simple as reaching out to someone with a “Hi, how are you today?”

Bonus tip: Save the custom e-card cover below and upload it to 

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9. Make a schedule for yourself

Wake up, get dressed, and get ready to show up, even if it’s from home. Setting a solid schedule will help create a good working atmosphere.

What does working from home look like for you? Tag us and #MyGreenJob in your photos on social media!


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