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Business professor shares tips on staying productive while working from home

Advice for working from home

INDIANAPOLIS – Many employees are now operating under a work from home (WFH) policy, which means some people could be left parenting, teaching and working.

Craig Caldwell, associate professor of Management at Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, specializes in organizational structure and development.

Caldwell says there are five things to keep in mind as you navigate this new WFH normal.

The first is supervisor support between him or her and the employee.

“For your supervisors to really know, embrace and embolden you to work from home and what that means from you. Maybe a slight delay with being able to reach you,” Caldwell said.

The second is the distance from work. Caldwell says research shows the harder your work commute is, the more productive you’ll be working from home. It’s important to think about your situation and what can be done with the time spent not commuting.

The third is tech support. According to Caldwell, larger companies will have numbers to call 24/7 for WiFi or set-up questions. For companies that don’t have that, Caldwell advises communicating what your home set up looks like so everyone is on the same page with what you’re working with.

It could be a good time to ask for the technology you don’t have or suggest a company subscription to a time management app.

The fourth is the nature of work.

“For knowledge-based work, such as finance or marketing, those functions can be productive from home for several months if both parties are committed. For other types of work, my guess is they will switch or implement cleaning and sanitizing guidelines, before shutting down the company,” said Caldwell.

The fifth is family support.

Employers need to understand that employees aren’t always productive at work and the same will be for at home. “It’s OK to take a laundry break or care for those familial duties,” Caldwell added.

Still, he says children in the house need to be on board.

“It’s going to be, mom or dad is home, that’s great, I can just walk in whenever I want,’ so it’s probably about having a conversation around how this is going to go for awhile and setting parameters on when I can be interrupted and when I can’t,” said Caldwell.

He also says its a great opportunity to have lunch with your kids and help with that e-learning, but it may mean getting up before they do to get an hour of work in.

Caldwell adds that in order to protect your mental health, put in place your own office hours.

“I’m no longer at the office, even though the office is right there,” Caldwell said.