How to Be Successful While Working Remotely
Guest post from 365 Business Tips contributing editor Matt Casadona on how to stay productive and reach your goals while working remotely.
With the COVID-19 pandemic not going anywhere anytime soon despite the fact that we have a vaccine, many people are still working remotely. In fact, experts expect to see more employers offering workers the opportunity to work from home since so many are reporting increases in productivity and employee happiness overall.
When you’re working remotely, there are more distractions that you’ll have to combat and challenges that you’ll be faced with, especially if your new environment has children, pets and spouses that seem to be around all the time. Success while working from home is certainly attainable. However, it will take a few simple steps to help get you there.
Tips for Successfully Working from Home
In recent years, many Americans have moved out of the cities and into the suburbs for personal reasons and cheaper costs of living. According to SmartMove, “nationwide rental vacancies hit 7.3%” in 2017. This is likely because people wanted to save money and get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. But moving into a house also gave them the opportunity to have a home office. If you’re living in an apartment, you can still work from home, but it might be a bit difficult without a dedicated space. If you want to move, you can use a rent comparison tool to help you find a place within your budget.
However, no matter where you’re working from, you can telecommute as long as you have an internet connection and the right equipment for your job. Here’s how you can be successful while working remotely.
Find the Best Ways to Communicate
There are tons of ways for you to continuously communicate and collaborate with your coworkers and managers while working from home. If you don’t need to chat with them constantly, and you’re not involved in any big projects, you may be able to simply email back and forth throughout the day.
However, if you’re in charge of a team, you might need the ability to communicate with everyone multiple times a day. You can use something like Slack to communicate during office hours or send group texts throughout the day. Communication is key. Many people have never worked remotely before and may be a little at sea when they’re not in the office surrounded by coworkers. Make sure to do weekly check-ins with your team to ensure they’re getting their work done and determine how they’re feeling.
If you don’t know how to communicate effectively with everyone on your team, you can create a template for how you’d like them to report in. There’s a template for everything from creating a will to questionnaires for employees, so do some research to find the best template for effective communication with your team or create one from scratch.
Set Up Your Work Environment
Now that you no longer have a desk or cubicle, you’ll need to create a new, comfortable workspace at home to facilitate productivity. You may have started working on the couch but soon found that the television was just too tempting and it hindered your productivity. Even if you live in an apartment, you’ll need a dedicated space for work only so that you can turn your brain into “work mode” whenever you’re in that space.
It’s okay if you have to push a table into a corner or use just a chair because you lack the space. Whatever your work environment looks like, make sure that you feel comfortable enough to spend at least eight hours a day there.
If you have any extra space, try to make the area feel as much like an office as possible so you can feel like you’re at work when you’re at home. This could be anything that helps you be more productive, such as taking your vision board from the office and adding it to a wall that you have in front of you during working hours.
Having a dedicated space for work will also help keep you stress-free when you’re not working. Bringing work into your home can make you feel like you should be working all the time, but creating dedicated spaces helps your mind separate work from other priorities you have at home.
Set Office Hours
To be the most productive, make sure that you set working hours for yourself. Your employer may require you to be available during business hours and act as though you’re at the office. However, some employers have become even more flexible and allow their employees to work any time of day as long as the work gets done.
No matter the case, it’s important that you consider your job role to make sure that you’re able to accomplish all of your duties each day. If your employer allows you to set your own hours while working remotely, send an email to your managers and coworkers with whom you’ll be communicating on a daily basis so that they know when they can expect to hear from you.
It’s typically best to set golden hours between you and your coworkers for communication. Ensuring that everyone is online during a set few hours can promote productivity and better collaboration since everyone can be involved.
Get Help (When Needed)
When working remotely, you’re going to make mistakes which could cost you your productivity. Luckily, with a remote workstation, you’re set up to make up for lost hours. If you find yourself unable to get all of your work done because of your new working environment, ask for help. You don’t have to hire a virtual assistant, but you can ask your spouse or even your children to help you complete tasks, depending on your job.
Remember, while they may be willing to help you once, you can’t expect your family to help you finish your work every day, so only ask for help when you truly need it. Also remember: most companies have confidentiality rules and expect YOU to be the one completing your work. If you outsource tasks to loved ones, make them menial ones such as making copies. And if you’re having frequent issues with your workload, reach out to your boss and coworkers.
Dress for Work
Yes, some days it is nice to wear your pajamas while you work, especially if your job has a dress code. While it may be tempting to ensure that you’re comfortable while working from home, it can inhibit your productivity. Your pajamas are leisure clothing that you wear when you want to relax, read a book or go to sleep. Your mind associates these clothes with rest and relaxation. On the other hand, getting dressed can help you become more productive because you can trick your mind into thinking that you’re going to work.
Maintaining your professional appearance is also necessary for Zoom meetings that everyone who is working remotely has become very familiar with. Employers still need to communicate with their teams, and video conferencing is the best way to do that while everyone is working remotely.
Wearing clothes that you would wear to work but not necessarily when lounging about your home can also provide you with boundaries between work and home. As soon as work is over, you can switch back to your comfy pants and watch television on the couch, but when you’re “at work,” it’s always best to look the part.
Enjoy Downtime During Your Off Hours
Finally, everyone who works from home knows how easy it can be to think of something they want to do for work and hop back online long after they’ve logged off for the night. But it’s important for your peace of mind and work / life balance to truly be “off” when you get off work.
Constantly working even during your downtime can quickly lead to burnout for remote workers (as well as upset your friends and family who want to spend quality time with you). Make sure to get your work done when you’re on the clock, and leave your “office” behind when you log off. Pro tip: a great way to accomplish this is to make quick notes in your phone about ideas you get during off-hours, so you can remember them when you’re back on the job.
For many people, working from home is both an attractive prospect but a bit difficult to maintain. From family to pets, there are a variety of distractions that can inhibit your productivity. But by using the tips above, you can be successful and happy while working in a remote setting.
This article is a guest post from 365 Business Tips contributing editor Matt Casadona. To learn about 365 Business Tips or to read more articles like this one, click here.
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