Working from home is the dream for many employees. You can finally break free from the stress of traveling to and from work during rush hour. This setup also gives you the freedom that doesn’t usually exist within the confines of an office, and you can finally do away with dress codes. You have more time for self-care, family, and other hobbies without the guilt of being unproductive at home.
The list of advantages for working remotely goes on, but it’s not something that comes without a challenge. Transitioning to a work-from-home setup can be difficult if you’ve been working in an office setting your whole life.
If your company has recently adapted to the new normal, or if you’re planning to join a distributed team, start your journey as a remote worker the right way with these effective practices:
1. Invest In Essential Equipment
If your employer provides you with the necessary tools and gadgets to carry out your job, you’re indeed lucky. Otherwise, you have to be resourceful in creating your own workspace. You must invest in a decent computer or laptop and high-speed internet as they will be your primary tools for work.
Owning a reliable desktop computer or laptop is crucial. Being in a remote setup means working and communicating via email and online fax most of the time, so you must subscribe to the right software and services.
For online meetings, you might also want to consider getting a webcam, noise-canceling headphones, and speakers. Building a remote office on your own might make a dent in your savings, but it will all be worth it once you see its long-term benefits.
2. Map Out A Workflow And Stick To It
Some employers will let you choose your work hours as long as you meet the specified deadline and produce quality output. It might sound enticing to simply lounge around until you’re in the right headspace to do proper work, but it could become a habit that will ruin your work pace and productivity in the long run.
You must find your ‘golden hour’ or the time window within the day when you’re most productive. Some people start early in the morning, some late at night. The choice is yours, as long as you commit to it every day.
If you struggle with procrastination, make good use of the ‘eat the frog’ method. The ‘frog’ is the most important task on your to-do list. This method compels you to identify what this task is and to do it first. The idea is to deal with the most difficult task right off the bat, so you can start on a positive note and hopefully carry that out through the rest of your day. You’ll find it easier to work on smaller tasks once you’ve conquered the ‘frog.’
3. Be Proactive In Staying Connected
The biggest challenge for remote teams is communicating and collaborating in a virtual environment. There are many methods by which employers can effectively manage remote teams, but the employees must do their fair share of the work too. It can be as easy as utilizing the communication and project management tools your team uses. You can easily provide updates about your tasks, report your progress, ask questions, or check-in with your co-workers.
If you have something to say, don’t wait for your manager or teammates to reach out to you first. At the same time, let them know how and when they can reach you if need be. Always make sure you’re visible whenever you’re working, and encourage your teammates to do the same. This is helpful if your team works in different locations and time zones. Through this, there will be lower chances of miscommunication that could disrupt your team’s overall productivity.
4. Find Your Comfort Zone
Until a year ago, you might have thought of workspaces as warzones. Now, there has been an explosion of memes about working in PJs and not showering—and everyone finds them funny because they’re relatable. Working remotely gives you the chance to put comfort above everything else. This doesn’t mean being lazy, since it simply means giving importance to ergonomics.
Apart from investing in a comfortable desk and chair, you can create an environment that’s conducive to your productivity. Does listening to music help you think better? Or do you prefer complete silence? Do you like working in a bright, well-lit room? Or is it easier for you to focus in the dark?
Figure out what works for you and build your workspace around it. To keep things exciting, it might be nice to experiment or change things up once in a while. Instead of staying home, try working at a café or co-working space. However, you should follow all safety protocols if you’re planning to work outside.
5. Don’t Forget To Relax
Being at work doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun. You can start a virtual water cooler if your team doesn’t have one yet. This is a safe space where you can talk about things unrelated to work, just like how employees would gather around a water cooler in the office during break time. You can create a dedicated thread in your team’s messaging tool or create a separate group for more thorough discussions. Building a strong bond among employees is rather difficult if you’re not physically together, and this is an easy way to bridge that gap.
You should also pay attention to how you manage your time. When you’re working at home, the line between work and life starts to blur. Once you start checking emails outside of your work hours, it may become a habit that’s hard to break. That’s why it’s important to completely disconnect when you need to. Log off when you’re done, even if you feel like you should ride out your productivity momentum. Working at home may not be as stressful as working on-site, but it can still be overwhelming if you don’t decompress.
Making The Big Switch
Transitioning to a remote work setting is actually easier than it seems. The most important part is knowing yourself—your work ethic, adaptability, and self-discipline. Equipping yourself with the right tools and making important adjustments could shorten your learning curve in dealing with this new reality.