Written by Geruza Nzongo, Tenant Success Officer at HouseME, Smart Property Rental for Landlords and Tenants.
Reading Time: 5 Minutes
A few minutes after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of SA’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, my COO’s email came through.
Subject: Lock down implications
I skimmed through the body “Is there any way we can set you up to work remotely from home?”.
I got home that evening, my housemates and I had stopped high-fiving, because of COVID. We instead nodded at each other in greeting. I reached my room, my roommate was on our bunk bed, offered me her slap chips.
“No, friend. We need to talk”
I needed to have “the talk” with my roommate, housemate, landlord, and manager on the conditions I’d need to allow me to work from home productively.
Setting up an office in a house share required some collaboration.
Getting the co-operation of key stakeholders is critical for the success of any home office
This conversation was the easiest. HouseME has a COVID-19 policy in place and operational systems to allow employees to log various requests that assisted with the move from the office to our home.
Must-have items that have helped me work efficiently and effectively from home include:
- My desktop PC (don’t forget all your cords),
- My screens,
- An extension cord,
- WIFI dongle and
I wish I had known that before disconnecting the cords from the back of your desktop PC and monitor, you should take a picture of the back. This will help you remember which cords go where when reconnecting your PC from home.
Before leaving the office, update the software on your PC and download the mobile versions of all the desktop applications that you use at work. This ensures that even if you run into any issues on your PC, you’re still able to work from our phone.
You’ll probably need help transporting your work equipment home. You should communicate this to your manager early. Your office chair and desk will not fit into a Bolt (I tried).
So, because my office desk and chair didn’t fit into a Bolt, I turned to my landlord for help.
Landlords understand that your income source is a source of their rent, and they are generally supportive of tenants that need to work from home.
We’d looked around the house and converted one of the living room’s side tables to an office desk. We’d also managed to find an office chair and with that, I completed my home office set up.
Part of the conversation with my landlord involved my home “office hours”. This helped him have the conversation with the rest of my housemates around noise control.
We implemented an official house rule to only play music after 6pm on a weekday.
Having trouble with the speed of your home’s WIFI? Having high-speed internet is an essential part of working from home, so raise any issues you’re experiencing with regards to your connection’s speed directly with your landlord if you are in a shared environment.
My House & Roommates
Setting up your office in a common living area of a houseshare like the dining or living room area is a bad idea. You don’t want to compete with the sound of the television when you are in a meeting or on a call with a customer.
If your houseshare doesn’t have a designated study area, you’ll need to set up your office from your bedroom.
Position your desk where you’re able to receive natural lighting and keep curtains and windows open when working – the sun’s rays are energising.
Pro Tip: If like me your home desk is smaller than your work one, keep your desk free of “office supplies” by storing them in your cupboard.
What about me?
I’ve had an internal conversation with myself to keep my home-work routine as close as possible to the routine I followed when I had to go into the office.
So, I’m strict on the duration of my lunch, and have made a decision to not fit in any shows during this time either… as I would easily lose track of time.
Tips & tricks from our CEO
Working from home doesn’t have to lead to a decrease in productivity. If you’re not a Millennial and you want some tips for grown humans on ways to make the most of it, HouseME’s CEO, Ben Shaw, has some great advice in the video below.
How are you managing the wfh life?
If you have any tips and trick on improving wfh life, or if you struggling and need some help focusing, we’d love to hear from you! Simply comment below with your wfh story, even if you just need to blow off from steam!
Ben Shaw is the CEO and Co-founder of Proptech Company, HouseME, Winner of Seedstars World’s Best Start-Up Company in Cape Town.
To Sign up with HouseME as a Landlord or Tenant, Click Here.
HouseME’s Co-Founders, Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley.
- Header image by jcomp – freepik.com