Due to COVID-19, a great portion of the U.S. workforce has been forced to transition to remote work. This transition has not been smooth for all workers due to the difficulties that come from working from home. Working from home might seem easy, but you must take into consideration that you are expected to produce similar results to your efforts in the office while dealing with distractions at home. After taking into account virtual meetings, doing your regular workload, attending to things at home, an 8 hour workday can quickly turn into a 10-12 hour workday. It’s important to learn how to optimize working remotely, so you keep up with your workload and find a work schedule that works for you. Some recommendations for working remotely include:
Follow company protocols: First, it’s important to learn about and apply your organizations’ protocols while working remotely. This is important because you need to be aware of any firewalls, network security features and other cybersecurity guidelines you need to abide by when working remotely. This can prevent cyber attacks on your devices and it will protect your organizations’ data. Make sure to ask your supervisor if there’s anything you need to install on your computer prior to working remotely.
Set a routine: Setting a schedule or routine while working from home is crucial for your productivity and sanity. Routines enable you to have boundaries for work, so you are not working 24/7. This is easier said than done, especially if you have kids at home when you’re working. Creating a tentative schedule that includes things like the times you work, when you eat lunch, etc. will prevent you from spending all day in front of your computer without getting work done. There are different calendar and scheduling tools you can use to help with this.
Communication: Having open and transparent communication between you and your work team is crucial to succeeding when working remotely. It’s important to know what communication protocols you use when working remotely. Whether it’s email, Slack or Zoom, choosing a medium that facilitates communication in your team can make your work much easier. Also, it’s crucial to alert or mention any difficulties with projects right away. Depending on the time zones your team works in, it might take hours or a day before the right person can get back in contact with you.
Eliminate distractions: Dealing with distractions is often the hardest part of working remotely. During your normal office hours, family and friends generally understand that you are busy and they should contact you after you finish work. With remote work, nearly everyone in your life starts to assume you’re accessible at all times and that can make work very difficult. Turning off your phone, letting friends and family know your boundaries and optimizing your workspace can improve your productivity and workflow exponentially. Without distractions, you can accomplish a normal workday in a fraction of the time.
Some other recommendations include:
- Taking breaks
- Exercising daily
- Invest in quality headphones
- Dress for work