Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the companies are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. That means many of us are dealing with a new challenge: working from home for the first time, full-time.
For some people, working from home means fewer distractions and greater productivity. But not everyone comes into this category. For some, working remotely can be quite a challenge with countless distractions, punishing hours, and high stress.
If you’re falling into the second category, No Worries! You aren’t alone, especially when many employees are now being asked to work from home for the first time. I’ve compiled a list of essential tips for working remotely to help you do great work at a work-from-home structure.
Essential Tips for Working Remotely
1. Be Easy on Yourself – Shifting to work-from-home can be a huge transition. So, you might feel lonely, isolated, anxious, stressed, unmotivated, or on the other hand, you might feel more relaxed, energized, or productive. It’s all OKAY and normal to feel these emotions. We need time to get used to any transition in our life, so try to be easy on yourself and give yourself time to get used to the new normal.
2. Schedule Your Breaks – Try to get up from your desk and stretch your body every hour or so. Walk around your home while talking with your colleague on the phone. Move to a different place to eat your lunch for 30 minutes. Taking small breaks throughout the day and moving your body allows you to refresh and increase your productivity when you return to your work.
3. Set Your Work Time – When working from home, people tend to work more because it’s harder to “leave” work. But, if you overwork eventually, you’ll burn yourself out. Therefore, set your “Work” hours and communicate regarding your work hours with both your colleagues and family. It will help you stay healthy and productive.
4. Set Ground Rules – Discuss the hours you’re working from home with your family members and the ground rules during those work hours. Anything can interrupt you, like a dog barking in the background of a client video chat. Therefore, be proactive to avoid these kinds of situations. Setting ground rules help you to reduce noises and other distractions around your workspace.
5. Give Importance to Ergonomics – When working from home, use the most comfortable chair with back support. Sitting in a straight wooden chair for a long time is not suitable for your health. It will impact your backbone health. Therefore, consider investing in a comfortable chair to make your work from home more comfortable and healthy.
6. Overcommunicate – When you’re working remotely, make sure to communicate with your colleagues constantly. Share the necessary things that your colleagues need to know. Especially if you have multigenerational teams, always make sure to maintain constant communication with them.
7. Know Your Company’s Remote Work Policies – Your company HR department probably has guidelines or handbooks on working during a crisis, including remote work policies, procedures, and expectations. So, before you get into work-from-home, read those guidelines and get to know your company’s work from home remote work policies.
8. Set Rules for Team Check-In – Do you want your team to check in with you first thing in the morning? Want them to send a daily or weekly update on what they’ve been working on? Setting ground rules and guidelines for your team check-in will help you avoid misunderstanding, and you can smoothly keep the work on track.
9. Watch Your Project Progress – While working remotely, the team needs to be proactive and be ready to progress on longer-term goals. For instance, you can send a daily email to your team with a list of projects that have advanced that day. This etiquette will help you keep your projects on track and maintain a smooth workflow.
10. Resolve Issues with a Quick Phone Call – Emails and other written communication methods are prone to misunderstandings. When you sense any miscommunication happening, quickly pick up your phone to resolve issues through instant phone calls.
11. Promptly Reply to Emails and Calls – People tend to be more conscious of time when working remotely. A colleague might find a three-hour response time to an email much too delayed when they picture you sitting at your home workstation the whole day. If a colleague is too pushy about responses, have a one-on-one conversation about your expectations and timelines with them.
12. Have Casual Communications – Even if you’re working remotely, you should check in with your colleagues when you start and end your day. Try to follow the same rituals and habits you use to maintain in the physical environment to keep the relationships and normalcy.
13. Follow Your Company Culture – Try to keep things aligned with your company culture. Even though working remotely does drastically change your interactions with your colleagues, you can still make sure that the little things you do in the office continue: Like sending Good morning texts, check-in messages, or chatting about your family, or anything else you would normally do by the lunch break. These little things help you reduce your feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
14. Use Video Calls – To avoid feeling lonely and isolated, use video calls to connect with your colleagues more humanly. I know that video calls are not comfortable for everyone, but the little discomfort can be worth the benefit of seeing your colleagues’ faces. Video calls help us to build relationships and meaningful human interactions.
15. Get Feedback on Remote Work Environment – Last but not least, if you are new to the work-from-home culture, ask your colleagues for regular feedback on how the remote work environment is working out. Gather feedback from your colleagues on what is easier and more difficult when working from home remotely to help you improve your work-from-home situation.
For those new to the work-from-home structure, the above-listed tips will help to make their remote working more effective. Make necessary adjustments and be kind to yourself; eventually, you will get used to the new reality. I hope this post was insightful, and I firmly believe you’ve already applied a few work-from-home tips that I mentioned above. If you have any questions or, other tips for working remotely, Let me know down in the comments which one was your favourite and why?