Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

10 tips for SMB work-from-home newbies

Working remotely may be a necessity rather than a choice right now, and it may be an unfamiliar experience for employees at small and midsize businesses - but you can make it work.

Businesses of all sizes are adjusting to new ways of working and enabling virtual collaboration among co-workers, customers, and partners. It’s a particularly important move for smaller businesses, where face time and agile team environments are the secret sauce for speed, creativity, and success.

SMB IT solutions.jpgWhile larger companies often enable some employees to work from home, small and midsize businesses don’t always have the IT resources and infrastructure to do the same, making the work-from-home experience unfamiliar for employees at SMBs. I have actually been working remotely for over ten years now, so I’d like to share some best practices and tips I’ve learned along the way to help you - the remote employee - improve your effectiveness as a remote worker during these trying times.

1. Keep defined work hours and communicate them to your work team, as well as your household. For instance, I keep hours of 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. to sync with my team in Texas, who are two hours ahead. I am at my desk and ready to go by 6:00, so I can maintain alignment with their work schedule. But don’t forget to consider that the stress of long hours can weaken your immune system – something you really don’t want to happen right now, so be mindful of how long you are working.

2. Give your children defined "education hours" if they’re at home right now. Provide a place for them to do their learning, as best you can. Let them learn to be somewhat self-sufficient during your work hours, as their maturity levels allow.

3. Dress for success. Don't come to virtual work in your pajamas. Dress as if you were heading in to the office. This is a mental preparation, and your mindset paves the way to a successful day.

4. Define a work area separate from your other living spaces, if possible. Make sure everyone in the household understands that it’s a different zone and respects it as such.

5. Protect your eyesight. If you have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at home, connect those to your laptop or docking station. Laptop screens are too small for most of us, as are their keyboards and track-pads. If you can afford to do so, connect two monitors side by side. I frequently have one for open projects and another for tracking email and video conferencing, which greatly aids productivity.

 6. Let your colleagues know where you are. If you’re away from your desk for an errand or the like, let your manager and reports know. For instance, if someone is looking for you and reaches out to your manager when they can’t reach you, your manager will likely feel a lot more comfortable if he or she knows that you’re away and can communicate when they can expect you to return. Plus, it gives your colleagues the feeling that you’re engaged and working efficiently. Trust me here.

7. Stand up, stretch and move around every now and then.

8. Be ready to ditch a poorly performing Internet Service Provider. Your network needs to be able to support your remote work needs reliably and with sufficient upstream and downstream bandwidth. Don’t get stuck with poor service.

9. Use only company-approved instant messaging and virtual conferencing applications with co-workers. If unsure, ask your IT support.

10. Eat.  Don’t forget to feed yourself.  Your brain (and your stomach) will thank you.

 I hope these ideas help you as you find yourself working from home. Don’t forget - technology can help you stay connected and we are always ready to lend a helping hand in this difficult business environment, so just let us know how we can help you.

Learn how HPE is helping customers, partners and communities combat COVID-19.

Mark Simpkins
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Related links

Security checklist for working at home via Enterprise.nxt
Rapid shift to working from home creates new IT challenges via Enterprise.nxt

0 Kudos
About the Author


Mark is the marketing manager for the Small and Midsized Segment here at HPE. He blogs on topics of interest that can help our SMB servers and solutions customers and partners.