Remote work is possible – and now even necessary – for more and more people. No matter if going remote is a conscious decision or compulsive step, it has a lot of advantages. But home office does come with great challenges as well.
Even though – according to statistics – employees are more productive when they work outside of the conventional office, they tend to have a better work-life balance and save money on everything from commuting to lunches, they’re also more vulnerable to several factors.
Working longer hours and switching off properly at the end of the day, communicating with teammates when you’re not face-to-face, loneliness and isolation, distractions and work-home interference are just some of the challenges a remote worker might face.
Here are our tips and hints on how to get the most of remote work and be efficient even if you are working from home.
Have Your Own Home Working Spot
Have a dedicated working spot in your home that allows you to work undisturbed. Ideally, it is a separate room, but it can also be a small desk or a corner, which is dedicated to your computer and work materials only. Having your own working spot can help you separate your work and private life as well. If you cannot have a fixed desk, a floating working space will suffice – all necessities for working at home in one box, so you can easily set up in any room of your home depending on the schedule of the rest of the people in your household.
Once you have your workspace to work at home, get rid of anything that might be distracting. Having your weight-lifting kit, television or other household items by your desk might easily draw your attention from work. Also, it is worth to discuss and set expectations for the people you live with. Let them know when you can and can’t be disturbed, set clear guidance with children as well.
Define Your Home Working Hours
Consider your day like any other workday. Define your working hours or adjust it to your company’s requirements, and then stick to it. For example, make sure that you start working at 8 AM in the morning and call it a day around 5 PM in the afternoon. If it is not possible, define slots, but keep them as fixed as possible (e.g. 10-11:30 focus work, 13-15 meetings time). Very important is to define the finish time! You can adjust your hours later to be more efficient, and also helps you to avoid making a habit of stretching out your working hours. If you need to adapt to partner and children, communicate to find the way to align schedules.
Create a Daily and Weekly Schedule
Once you’re ready to go, start by creating a schedule. It will help you plan your day, remain focused and get the most from your work, while managing home responsibilities as well. Create a list of the tasks that you need to do and place the ones that need the most focus at the times of day you know work best. Make sure to include regular breaks and decide when your day will end. Also, consider having some offline time to help remove distractions when you need to focus.
Clarify the Ways and Frequency of Communication
Communication and interaction are probably the greatest challenges of remote work. Therefore it is of crucial importance to mutually clarify expectations with your manager, team- or project members on how much communication they want from you, in what frequency and what details they’d like you to share. Same needs to be set with family members. Technological solutions like Zoom, Skype or other communication tools help to support daily interaction, many of them, free of charge. Make sure you are not available everywhere and all the time – chose preferred communication options and define who and about what can reach you there, how often you check this particular channel (e.g. e-mail every 2 hours, WhatsApp hourly, phone every 30 mins). Always on means no focus!
Have an End of Working Day Ritual
One of the benefits of commuting is that on the way back home we can switch off from work, clear out our mind and be more ready to relax. If switching off is a challenge for you, an end of working days ritual can be a great help. Close your day with reviewing the tasks that you managed during the day, and make a list of the remaining ones. It is worth to create a to-do-list for the next days, keeping your priorities in mind. End your day by turning off your computer and – though difficult – try not to check your work emails on your phone. If need be, simply disable e-mails on the phone and put the computer in a locked drawer. Your rest is as important as the work you put in.
Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be lonely or isolated. Creating daily habits like regular calls and huddles with your team members or using video calls instead of phones can help you remain connected even though you are not sitting in the same room. And who said that sometimes you can’t get together for an informal chat or drink your coffee after lunch while all of you are online.
THERE’S MORE TO WORKING FROM HOME
Although we all do it, it is not self-explanatory. Many people experience great difficulties in actually following the myriad of rules about working from home. The devil is hidden in the implementation – carefully selecting, committing and taking steps to better home office working. We will be glad to accompany you or your people on this journey using our Efficiency at Home training programme, which is customised fo remote delivery. Find out more here or directly reach us via form or call below.
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