Working Remote is Here to Stay
Simply seeing the word COVID-19 comes with an onslaught of emotions these days, from worry to frustration. With much of the world on lockdown initially, people are still encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. However, there is a new landscape to navigate for the seasoned career professional and the novice. The new work-from-home lifestyle is most likely here to stay.
Whether due to coronavirus or because you’ve managed to snag a remote-based job, you’ll need to establish new routines and habits to make working from home a success. Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when and where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. Here are some tips to help navigate the remote workday and improve productivity.
Tips to Improve Remote Workday Productivity
1. Set and Keep Regular Hours
Set a schedule, and stick to it. Having clear guidelines for an at-home workday helps many remote workers maintain a work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility. There are times you’ll need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to factor those hours in and don’t shortchange yourself the added hours.
2. Create a Routine—Start of Day
Deciding to sit down and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine to transition from being home to working from home is another. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to begin your workday? It might be making a cup of coffee and taking the time to peruse the headlines, or go over your gratitude list. It might be returning home after a jog. Or maybe getting dressed (wearing pajama pants or sweats is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others) establishes a sense of workday productivity. A routine can be more powerful than a clock to get your mindset ready to start each day.
3. Create a Dedicated Space
Dedicate a desk or area for only work use. Create a space with supplies and materials at your fingertips set up for productivity. Then, when you are in your dedicated space it’s work time. When your laptop is on your lap and you’re on the couch that’s personal time.
4. Set Ground Rules
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children home for school while you’re working, they need clear rules and their own dedicated space. Times like these require organization and communication.
5. Schedule and Take Breaks
Know your company’s policy on break times and take them. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. Your body needs to move. Plus, the fresh air and natural light will do you good.
- Take little breaks every 10 to 15 minutes. Take a walk. Weed the garden. You get the picture. Use a reminder alarm if needed.
- Get up and stretch at least every hour, more frequently if possible. Reach up, arms over head, take a deep breath in. Exhale slowly and fold forward as if there is a hinge at your hips (do not curve your back), and try to touch your toes. Hang forward and take a deep breath—in and out. Inhale slowly, with a flat back, as you return upright (do not curve your back). Then repeat the cycle at least 3 times. Read our blog post on Office Ergonomics—Better Health and Productivity for more info.
6. Show Up to Meetings
Certainly, you’ll take part in video conferences and conference calls, but be sure to speak up during the meeting, so everyone knows you’re on the call. A simple, “Stay safe. Great to connect today.” at the close of a meeting will go a long way toward making your presence known.
7. Socialize with Colleagues
Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socializing, give a few interactive experiences a try; you still need human connection.
8. Communication is Key
Working remotely requires you to communicate like never before. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Communicating during times of prolonged distance requires repetition. Joke about how you must have mentioned your upcoming vacation sixteen times already, then mention it again. Did I mention, communication is key?
9. Stick to the Routine—End the Day
Just as you began your remote workday with a routine, create a habit that signals the end of the workday. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do, or maybe it’s time for that evening cup of tea. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.
- Create a dedicated workspace
- Set a routine—stick to it
- Take a stretch every hour
- Communicate with others
- Stay connected
Perhaps you know of someone else just starting out or looking for some help with their IT needs, as well. Please don’t hesitate to call or pass along our information. Give us a call today. (256) 513-8206