How to Handle Remote Working and Still be Productive
The last few days have been one story after another of companies, big and small, moving to a remote work plan in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We definitely have not heard the last of it, and no one is really sure about the longevity of these plans. If you are one of these workers that has been thrust into remote work life, here are a few tips to help you with the adjustment.
Get Dressed – Leave the Jammies for Sleep
If you are not used to working from home and think this sounds ridiculous, hear me out. When you look good, you feel good, and when you are in your PJ’s you want to sleep. Starting your day by getting yourself ready is a great start to a productive one. And, this is by far one of the easiest ways to keep from getting into a slump!
Find a Workspace, And Make it Your Own
If you are constantly floating around from space to space there is a high likelihood that you will find yourself scattered and feeling unprepared. Decide where you will work, tidy it up, and make yourself at home (pun intended!). You can even add some props to make it feel like your very own home office.
After you have found yourself a workspace, the next part is to do a quick inventory of your equipment and supplies. Gather the things you will need – chargers, extension cord, pens, notebook – think about the things you use everyday in the office. You will probably need those things at home!
Do a Tech/Communication Check
Beyond making sure your internet is up to par, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you are poised to work. Find out if your company has expectations for using a communication app or tool, and make sure you know how it works. If you are someone who relies heavily on an office phone, look into call forwarding, or change your voicemail message to have people call you on your cell phone.
If your workspace is not conducive to talking on the phone or video conferencing, then come up with an alternate plan. If you need quiet or privacy it’s best to know in advance the best place in your home to get it. Oh, and while you are at it…check what is behind you that will show up when you are on a video call.
Know Your Company’s Expectations
Are you expected to be available certain hours? Are you required to have your video on for conference calls? These are just a few of the considerations, but there may be much larger ones that involve IT Security and Client Privacy. Be in the know!
Take breaks, and Definitely Stop for Lunch
Working remote has a whole new set of issues when dealing with boundaries. No one can (or should) work all the time, so drawing a line in the sand will help. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day, then you realize you have been at your computer for way too many hours straight. Use strategies like Time Blocking and make sure to schedule in your lunch or other down time.
Shut Down When the Workday is Over
Easier said than done. You don’t want to get stuck in a rut where you feel like you are always working. Again, this comes back to setting boundaries, and that means shutting down for the day. Turn off Slack, close your email, and make a conscious effort to be done until the next day.
Get Some Fresh Air, Go for a Walk, and Engage with People
Isolation is a real concern for remote workers. It’s important to make sure you are being intentional about engaging with people outside of your work environment. Make a standing lunch date with a friend who is also working from home; unless you need to be quarantined…in which case, not a great idea!. Go for a walk in the afternoon to get out.
Be intentional about engaging with your work friends online, and on video or the phone. Chances are they may be feeling isolated. Get creative and come up with ways to still embody your company culture when you are not all under the same roof.
Having a healthy relationship with your work-from-home job (temporary or not) comes down to practicing good habits and having a focus towards self-care. If you have other difficulties or challenges adjusting to this change, speak up. Let your employer know what you need. Chances are someone else may be having the same struggle.
Share your own tips in the comments below.