Remote work certainly has its perks, but for many of us it also has its challenges. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the home office, discussing ways to adapt, and conquer—both as an employer and an employee. This is post two of the series. You can follow the rest of the series and read our past posts here.
Amidst the growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), much of America’s workforce is now working remotely. For many, this is a new—and occasionally difficult—transition.
While this may be uncharted territory for you, don’t worry! Over the past ten years, the remote workforce has grown, and there are an abundance of tips and recommendations to help you adjust and be the most productive. Read on to learn what you need to know about working remote:
You are adaptable
While you’re used to your office building, your commute, and your morning routine, remember that humans are adaptable creatures! Even for the most social among us, with a little discipline, you’ll master your productivity and workflow from home in no time.
Stick to a routine
Every morning, you likely have a routine: shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. While you may not be going into the office, this routine is still critical to your morning. For example, getting dressed and eating breakfast as usual rather than working in your pajamas can help you get in the right mindset for a productive day. Now, this won’t always be easy, but it’s important that you do your best to maintain this normalcy.
Create a dedicated workspace
While you might not be working in an office in the traditional sense, it’s still important to establish a dedicated space for working in your home. Whether that is a home office or at the kitchen table, your workspace should be in an area that is distraction-free and can help you maintain boundaries between your professional and personal lives.
Communication is critical
Without your daily interactions with teammates in the office, and without the ability to see and read facial expressions, the way you communicate must be more intentional and thoughtful than you may be used to. In addition to being unable to hear tone of voice, communication may not be as quick as an in-person conversation. As a result, the way you write your emails and instant messaging communications must be thoughtful. Add as much detail and context as you can, and make next steps or needs from others clear. Additionally, remember that when you write a communication, your tone may be misconstrued—even more reason to re-read what you write before you hit “send.”
Utilize video chats
When you’re not able to interact face-to-face, using video chat technology is important to keeping your office culture active and working together as a team. When you’re struggling to communicate in writing, a quick video meeting can often clear up any confusion. In addition, make sure you have a regular meeting with team members you work closely with. These should all take place via video conference when possible, allowing you the opportunity to keep each other in the loop.
Working remotely can sometimes take a toll on your work-life balance, especially if you’re working from home. Be sure that you get up every once in a while, and take small breaks. Go for a walk if you can, or just stand up and get a snack.
When working remotely, just as it’s important to maintain your routine, it’s important to stay organized. You may be logging into your company’s system remotely or storing files on your personal computer. Be sure that just because you don’t have your same system of organization that you have in the office, your organization doesn’t go out the window entirely.
Engage with your team regularly
In terms of office culture and morale, that morning water cooler chat is important! Be sure to check in on your teammates, say, “good morning,” and share your life with them. Just because you’re working remotely, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with your coworkers.
Focus on your results + share wins
Managing a typical 9-5 schedule is definitely a bigger challenge when working remotely, and everyone will have a different experience implementing that. However, regardless of your hours, the most important thing is that you accomplish your goals for your work on time. Additionally, it’s important to share those accomplishments and wins with your team; this way everyone stays motivated and focused on achieving goals as one.
When you’re working remotely, you’re given a lot of accountability and trust, and you’re faced with a difficult challenge. Remember that in line with clear communication, honesty from all parties is important. If you don’t understand something, ask. If something isn’t working, tell your supervisor. And if you’re struggling with your productivity, be honest with yourself. You’re responsible for your own work, and it’s critical that you exercise discipline with yourself to get your work done.