With Covid19 having reduced most of the countries around the world into some form of lock down, remote working has now become the new norm. For years people have been calling for remote working, and emphasising its benefits for employees. Now it has been thrust upon us, we have thought of some key tips for working from home.
Determine if remote work is right for you
At this current time working from home is not something you are going to have much control over. However usually considering if remote working is right for you is a good thing or not will be somewhat of a key decision. People still prefer face to face meetings as well as seeing their colleagues on a daily basis.
With all that is going on platforms such as skype and zoom have seen such an increase in use so that people can still be connected to their work colleagues. Working in certain industries can be difficult to work remotely, however it appears all industries have had to adapt.
If you have never worked from home before then having a look at these key tips for working from home may help you to really set yourself up to be successful.
Schedule meetings and work hours in chunks
Removing the distractions that you have at home is always going to be the hardest element of working from home. Friends calling, family wanting you to do things or even just popping out the house, all the aspects of life you can avoid at work.
Preparation is going to be the best thing to help you. Scheduling calls and meetings in chunks, and also daily help to keep you focused. Scattering calls mean you may find yourself moving away from tasks to complete some of the daily life tasks you have.
Those who tend to work remotely do work outside of work hours. This is because it can also be hard to turn off if you have your desk/work area in your home. Many will therefore schedule times in the day when they are ‘offline’. Scheduling offline time in your diary, and also your work hours will help you to stay focused on tasks.
Over communicate with everyone
Whether you work for a local, national or an international company you need to be able to communicate with the other people within your company. Checking in regularly is a great way to make sure communication is always at a high level, and you can work more collaboratively. Communication is the hardest challenge when working remotely, as you are not able to walk to your colleagues desk, or your bosses desk to have a chat about a project.
As we will discuss later in this article, video calling is going to be super important. But other ways to communicate would be through a whats app group, or even a slack group. Great ways to keep track of messages, and also track back if you are not able to respond straight away.
A main misconception for many is that over communicating will annoy your colleagues. When in actual fact it helps to keep projects moving well, voice opinions if you are having a great or bad day and even communicate your diary. Keep the communication fluid.
Have a virtual coffee chat with your colleagues
When beginning to work outside of the office, it can sometimes be hard to gain valuable insights to where your colleagues are on projects or tasks. You may also find that when talking on large video chats, some people become quiet and slide into the background as they feel nervous.
One way to overcome this is to set up virtual coffee chats with the people you are working with. Coffees, lunch, dinner, anything you want to do. Via skype or zoom though! Do not always have coffee chats about work, sometimes it’s nice to socialise with your work colleagues and just chat about other things. This creates that work ethos and team connection even whilst working from home.
Create an efficient working space
Working in your bed, or even in your kitchen may make you want to work or better yet sleep! Now don’t get us wrong, sleep is great but we do not think your boss is going to be very happy. Where possible you need to create a work space which is away from the main living parts of your home where you can not be distrubed. Having a home office is the ideal world.
Prepare for video calls
Working remotely, video calls are always going to be the main way you will see your fellow colleagues. Most will have at least one video call a day. You will need to consider your working environment, make sure it’s well lit and you have a good internet connection.
Don’t forget to take breaks
Your normal nine to five job will normally allocate in a one hour lunch break, or time to pop out and get a coffee. In actual fact you probably spend around 20%-30% of your day away from your desk. However working from home, it is easy for the day to pass and you do not take a lunch break, or time to get a coffee.
Schedule this time into your diary as ‘offline’. As mentioned before, you may find your working day becomes longer when working from home. So make sure you take that time to grab a coffee, have a good lunch or even sit in the garden and read the newspaper.
Working from home is going to be the new normal for months to come before anyone is allowed to return back to work. Using some of the tips above will mean you are able to remain productive, on task and ultimately still maintain a high level at work. Off the back of this, you may find that your work adopts a more flexible working arrangement moving forward.
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