Working from home? Here are some tips

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Millions of people across the country are making the switch to working at home due to the coronavirus. Some will see it as a welcome change, while others may be worried about getting anything done.

Mark Benke with Alaska Communications has been doing it since 2003. He said it's not only possible to get your job done, but a lot of people may even find themselves being more efficient than they would be at the office.

For those making the switch, Benke said they'll probably react one of two ways.

"At first it's really easy to work too little, because you're distracted or, much more often, you work way too much without realizing it," he said.

He said that a lot of people who start working at home will end up using time spent commuting or chatting with coworkers getting to their tasks. Thus, he said it's easy to work way more than necessary.

For that same reason, he encourages taking breaks. Exercise is key for people working from home according to Benke. That goes double when the state is also under hunker-down orders.

He suggests that Alaskans should take advantage of still being able to go outside, while still respecting social distancing.

When starting a work at home day, Benke said you want to dress for success. While it's tempting to get paid for working in your PJs, he said it's better for your mindset to be dressed to work.

He added that video conferencing is becoming quite common with so many people working from home these days. It doesn't look good if you're not dressed for your part when your boss or client wants a quick video meeting.

Although, he said it's okay to tone down the professionalism a bit for comfort. For example, he said wearing shorts isn't going to ruin your productivity.

If you're trying to get work done, he said you need a place in your home to sit down and do it.

"I have a dedicated office, but it could be a spare bedroom, or a kitchen table," he said, "but whatever it is, it's the same place that when you're there, you're at work."

With a spot to work set up, he suggests working the same hours you would be if you were going to work.

Many people are faced with the additional challenge of having spouses and children at home that may end up being distracting. He said they should try to set some boundaries.

"It's all about communicating with your loved ones, and saying, 'hey, mom and dad are working and when I'm here you need to leave me alone," he said.

After establishing a new routine, where you're working in the house, and when you're going to get things done, he said communication with your boss and coworkers is essential. However, keep in mind that you're not going to see much of those people for a while.

"Pick up the phone and call people," he said, "Email is a passive form of communication. What I mean by that is you lose tone and inflection and such. Because of that, people often misunderstand."

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