Working from home (WFH) for a growing number of employees now means rolling out of bed, strolling over to a kitchen table, and turning on the laptop. No more commute, no more business attire. This is the emerging trend facing many employees.
Working from home comes with a lot of perks; the freedom to set your own hours, dress however you want and take care of personal tasks while you work. But, working from home can also be distracting and disruptions can take up much of your time.
The benefits of enabling employees to work remotely have been accepted increasingly. Some people have been working remotely for part of their work week but that in expected to increase over the next few years.
Research has found that working remotely can boost employee productivity, improve work/life balance and foster better mental health (not to mention reduce pollution from commuters).
Higher productivity has been repeatedly cited by professionals who work remotely.
If you’re used to going to an office and interacting with people every day, working from home can create a massive shift in behaviour, thoughts, and feelings that can cause anxiety and isolation. To stay focused, you need a strategy as well as a routine. Whether you’re working remotely one day per week (or more) or full-time, it’s important to ensure that you are set up to be productive. This includes having a designated workspace with the right technology; ways of dealing with kids, pets, and other potential disruptions; and a schedule that allows for the social contact and stimulation that ordinarily comes from being in a workplace with others.
Here are a few tips to help you:
- Develop a Morning Routine: This could be the same routine you would follow if you were actually going to the office.
- Setting up your Workspace: It’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work.
- Know the ground rules: Find out if your employer requires a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? Which tech tools will you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats? It’s important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication. Do trial runs so you are able to work out any problems that might impede your work.
- Avoid Distractions: Try to maintain a quiet arear for work and ensure the people in your home to respect your working space so that you can focus without distractions.
- Schedule Breaks: Ensure you schedule regular breaks to allow for a good work-life balance. Respect your company’s policy on breaks; however, if you need to take more frequent breaks, do so when needed. It’s important for employees to take regular breaks, for example, to avoid sitting at a computer for too long. Having breaks throughout the day ensures mental clarity and increases the calibre of your work.
- Walk around the block: Taking a walk or simply getting a breath of fresh air is important for productivity.
- Communication: You will most likely be isolated while working from home so make sure you communicate with your co-workers and/or boss; check-in with each other and share news. Remember, words can be lost in translation over text/email and can easily be misinterpreted by others, so reach out by phone or video, when you need to communicate complex issues.
- Ask for Help: Working alone all day can be difficult. If you get stuck on a given task, reach out to a colleague or friend for help.
- Use Video-Calling and Apps: Speaking face-to-face is better than by text/email, so use video apps to check in with your manager or co-workers. This fosters a higher level of productivity and better flow of work.
- End of Workday Routine: Develop a system that signals the end of a workday for yourself and your family. It’s also a great way to signal the start of something fun; reconnecting with your family/friends, a personal hobby, a favourite podcast, or a walk in the park. These are all great ways to decompress from your workday.
- Relax: Maintain regular hours, stick to a schedule, and create a great working environment, but you also need to be positive and have fun; take a break, take a breather, smile. Take advantage of the freedom to work from home!
- Plan social time: It can start to feel a little lonely after a few weeks at home, staring at the same project for long hours. Be ready for that, and try to schedule some time to connect with the outside world, like a lunch date, a video chat with a friend, or maybe an exercise class. Do things to stay mentally and physically active outside of your working hours; this could include things like cooking, exercise, watching your favourite TV programmes or other hobbies.
- Working from home and childcare: If you are looking after children, talk to your employer. Your employer should be sensitive and flexible towards the situation and may be able to agree to a more flexible home working arrangement which could include: working different hours, reducing work targets and being flexible about deadlines where possible.
The benefits of working remotely include the freedom to choose. Here’s how you can improve your life and still remain productive while working from home:
- Work and live anywhere: You can pretty much set up shop anywhere with a WiFi connection as long as you are able to finish your work at the same high-quality level and communicate with their core team as needed.
- Flexible work hours: Remote work allows you to remain productive during the hours you feel the most innovative. That way you can plan for the right amount of task time, and accommodate basic needs such as childcare, health and wellness.
- Eliminate commuting: Long commutes negatively impact everyone involved; employees, their families, and even their employers. Eliminating the commute to and from work will save much needed time to spend doing the activities that you love.
Ultimate Edge Communications offers flexible work arrangements including provisions to work from home for full and part-time staff.