The recent and abrupt changes to our daily lives have proved to be quite challenging for many people. Stores have closed, personal shopping has mostly been replaced by Amazon, restaurants only allow takeout, nearly every aspect of entertainment have been closed or postponed, and even necessary businesses like supermarkets have restrictions on how many people can be inside at once. But not only have our personal livelihoods been affected, our work-lives have drastically changed. Those who are fortunate enough to have maintained their careers are finding themselves dealing with a sharp transformation in the way they work and must learn new methods to cope with these changes.
Working remotely from home has been growing steadily over the years and as of 2019, 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% have a full remote work force. Although more and more companies have been embracing remote employees over the past several years, when it is mandated and quickly sprung on a large portion of the team unsuspectingly, it can be a bit daunting to adjust. Going remote isn’t easy, especially when you aren’t planning for it.
Here are a few strategies that will help you adjust to working from home.
1. Calculating Communication
Remote workers must be better at communication than if they were working from the office. Communication is one of the most important roles within a work environment, so if distance in now playing a factor in communicating, then you must deliberately improve it in order to counteract the transition. You need to be clear if you need something and with what you are working on, otherwise, people can lose track of where the company is and what status it’s under.
Resolve issues quickly with a phone call if emailing or instant messaging methods are taking too long.
Promptly return emails, calls, and texts. People tend to be more aware of the time when working remotely, which means you need to be more responsive to missed communication. Whether or not it’s fair, clients and co-workers usually have higher expectations of those working from home.
2. Separate your Workspace
When your home is your office, it can be whatever you want it to be. But it needs to be a place of work. Setting your work space apart from your home space allows you to better delineate the two, and lets your brain know when it needs to be in work mode or home mode.
If you’ve got the room, then setting up your own office is ideal, but even if not, take a corner of a room just for work, where you go to do that and only that. Then the rest of the home is for rest.
It’s important to categorize other aspects of mental and physical health as well. Since you are inside your home most of the day, it’s also a good idea to stretch out and take quick breaks to prevent the feeling of claustrophobia.
3. Make a “Do Not” List
To-do lists are always a great, simple idea to stay on task, but when working remotely, a “do not” list can be just as useful. When you’re at home, you are always aware of the other household tasks that can be done, especially if there is any downtime.
Every time you think about doing something else that is unrelated to work or that could be a distraction, write it down on the list and save that item for a later time.
4. Plan ahead
Daily structure is critical for a remotely working team. Planning your day in advance will prevent the interruptions of unscheduled meetings and will allow for an effective use of time. Planning improves the time required for important internal communication and improves the quiet time remotely working from home gives so employees can be more productive.
5. Work visibly
When working from home, your coworkers can’t sit next to you and review or discuss work related documents. Having open documents that are editable by the team online facilitates collaboration and feedback. The seamlessness of all viewing these items online will improve time efficiency and greatly improve communication.
6. Set office hours
When the divide between work and home is no longer obvious due to them being in the same location, it’s easy to get confused when it’s work time or when it’s home time. If you forget to let your team know that you are no longer on the clock, it’s difficult to delineate when you are done for the day and when you are working. Setting office hours and adhering to them allows for a clear divide between home and work time each day and lets your team know when you’re available and when you aren’t.
Being required to work remotely from home isn’t easy, but if you maintain communication, structure, and routine, you should be able to manage the changes more effectively.