How 7 Useful Tips to Help Remote Workers Cope
Written by Casey Botticello
Remote work is not a new concept. Data from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that, in 2019, about 3.4% of the U.S. workforce was already taking part in fulltime or partial remote work.
Since the COVID-19 breakout, however, a whopping 88% of organizations around the world made it mandatory or optional for employees to work from home (WFH), according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. This means millions of people who usually traveled to their employers’ workspaces have had to quickly adjust their professional lives in order to work from home. If you are among those who have had to ditch the company cubicle for a home office or cozy corner in your home, it is possible you may feel out of sorts.
If there are kids or other family members around, it can be even more difficult to keep focused and maintain creativity. Yes, remote work does come with its challenges, but there are obvious benefits to look forward to. Not sure how to make the most of it? In this article, you will learn seven remote working tips to help you make a seamless transition from the corporate office to a fruitful WFH experience.
1. Pick a suitable workspace
Whether you are confined to your small apartment or have several rooms at your disposal, the spot you pick for remote work can affect how well you do. You need a cool spot in your home where you feel comfortable and that is not cluttered. Try not to work from your bed or sofa. Have a suitable work desk and chair in place that you can set up to feel like a small home office if you don’t already have one. Also, ensure there is adequate ventilation and that the lighting is suitable for reading and virtual meetings.
2. Keep the communication going with the team
Now that you are working from home, you won’t have the opportunity to sit in a staff meeting and hash out ideas for a new campaign or discuss strategies with staff. But this is not the time to slack off on communication. Instead, you need to communicate with the team even more. Check in with team leaders and managers to go over tasks assigned to you. If you are in charge of a project, provide regular status updates on the progress being made. Provide additional information to team members when and where necessary. Take time out to say “Hi” to co-workers over Skype, Zoom, etc. Share new ideas with the team and ask for feedback. The more you communicate with your team, the more seamless it will be working from home.
3. Invest in suitable WFH tech
Working from home can be frustrating at times when the technology fails. From the internet signal being low to having a slow computer, remote work can easily be plagued by tech problems that make it impossible to get work done. There are quite a few apps and websites that can test your internet speed to see if you need to upgrade to a faster service. You should also audit your devices’ capabilities in terms of processor speed, RAM size, and storage. Does your laptop have a high-quality HD webcam suitable for video calls? Would having a second screen make it easier for you to carry out certain tasks? Is your keyboard and mouse comfortable enough for daily work? These are all important considerations that can affect your ability to work remotely. Another good investment for remote work is a noise-cancelling headphone, which helps to block out background noises when you are on important calls or need to listen intently to work-related au
4. Take regular breaks
It is easy to get caught up in a task that has you stuck to one spot in front of the computer for hours. This can have negative effects on your physical health. In addition, 37% of remote workers responding to a survey said taking regular breaks helped to boost productivity. It is a good idea to take breaks once per hour to stretch the legs, get fresh hair, and redirect focus. Setting an alarm on your phone or clock will help to remind you every hour to take a break.
5. Set boundaries
Because you are now at home, friends and family members may feel they can now pop up anytime they please. People living with you might also think you can give them attention whenever they need it. If you allow either scenario to play out every day, it will certainly affect your ability to be productive and do your work properly. It is important to let the people in your life know that you are still at work even though you are at home, so your time and space still need to be observed and respected. If you have kids, talk to them about why you can’t be available all the time and why they need to keep things down. Hire a babysitter to help you out if you have to. Let friends know when are suitable times to come see you. Setting these boundaries will enable you to do your job just as well as you would in the office, or maybe even better.
6. Take care of yourself
Working from home can quickly blur the line between working time and leisure time. The way to combat this is to maintain your usual leisure and self-care activities that you practiced before you started working from home. If you used to meditate/do Yoga in the mornings, go to the gym after work, relax in front of the TV after dinner, etc., when you used to go out to work, you can set aside the corresponding periods of time for the same activities. In addition, you should make time for social interaction, which is also important to your mental wellbeing. The point is, self-care should not be compromised now that you are working from home. Schedule your work day to ensure you are also paying attention to your body and mind.
7. Focus on the benefits
Remote work can feel strange, especially for the first month or so. Moreover, it is easy to feel isolated if you are used to being around plenty of people in an office environment, but now have to be cooped up at home, alone, or with people who can’t relate to your work activities. However, there are many positives to working from home that you can focus on. These include the huge savings from not having to take public transportation or purchase fuel for your car, or buying your daily dose of coffee from Starbucks. Not having to prepare professional attire for daily wear can also save money and time. If you have a spouse and/or family, remote work also allows you to spend more time with them. By focusing on these perks of remote work, it will become easier to cope with the change.
Remaining productive in a home environment where there are distractions such as Netflix – and no supervisor looking over your shoulder – can seem unlikely. However, putting the tips above into practice can lead to a successful experience when working remotely.
And who knows? You may even find new opportunities to make money online and generate new sources of passive income.
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