In 2020, more people than ever started work from home. And it all happened so fast! Employers and employees didn’t have much time to make a plan and really think about how to properly shift processes, company culture and teams to a digital workspace.
If you’re reading this article, it might mean that you’re new to working from home. Perhaps your company switched to remote work because of the pandemic, or you found a remote job. You’ve probably also noticed that you need to change your habits a little bit if you want to maintain your productivity while working from home.
First of all, you need to figure out how to set boundaries between your personal life and work. When and where can you work so you won’t have to deal with too many distractions? What about office equipment? Professional development? Chatting with coworkers?
Luckily, you have us to help you! Here are our seven tips on getting the most out of remote work.
Maintain a Regular Schedule
Work out a schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. Many people who work from home find that having clear rules about when to work and when to stop helps them keep a good work-life balance. However, one of the best things about working from home is that you can be more flexible.
Sometimes you’ll need to work late or start early, either to attend a conference that requires you to adjust to a different time zone or because you have a personal engagement. When this happens, make a point of wrapping up earlier than normal or sleeping in a bit the next morning to compensate.
There are lots of apps that can help you stick to your schedule, and they’ll even show you when you’re most productive. Let’s say that the app shows you that you’re most productive between 10 AM and 12 PM. Try to avoid scheduling meetings during this time window and focus instead on the most demanding tasks on your to-do list.
Create a Morning Routine
When it comes to getting yourself out of bed each day, a routine can be more effective than an alarm clock. Your morning routine should signal to your brain that you’re about to start work. It could be something like making yourself a fresh cup of coffee and taking a look at your to-do list for the day. Or it could be coming back from a jog or walking your dog and taking a shower.
You just need a sequence of habits that gradually get your brain ready to focus and tackle a new workday. And it doesn’t have to be strictly morning. Maybe you work in the evening. Any pre-work routine will do.
Set Ground Rules
Unless you live alone, you’re also going to have to set some ground rules with the people you’ll be sharing your working space with.
If your kids are learning from home or coming home from school while you’re working, they need to know how to behave.
Perhaps you don’t have kids, but you live with your SO, and they also work from home. Then you need to discuss how you’re going to share the space and the office equipment. You’ll also want to talk about meeting times and quiet times.
People in your social circle need to know that just because you’re home, it doesn’t mean you have unlimited free time to do domestic chores, babysit or receive guests.
With so many companies switching to remote work, it’s a great opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit security vulnerabilities. And as you would expect, they’re doing their best to take advantage.
When you work in an office, you’re protected by your company’s security system. Once you switch to remote work, things get trickier. Your employer has probably already talked to you about this since they need to comply with data protection requirements. You can learn more about this by visiting DataBreachLaw.org.uk.
As a general rule, you should avoid using your personal computer and public Wi-Fi to carry out work-related tasks. When you use your personal devices or public Wi-Fi, you are exposing your company to a security breach. We know that being able to work from Starbucks sounds appealing, but your company can end up having to pay hefty fines and losing its reputation, while you might lose your job.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Need
This varies from company to company, but as a remote employee, you might be able to get your employer to provide you with equipment and even contribute to your energy and internet bills.
You might not get a new desk and chair, but you could get a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer and laptop riser. Companies nowadays usually have a budget for home office equipment. You’ll also want to ask about the terms regarding this equipment, like how to handle outdated equipment and who will pay for return shipping.
If you just started working remotely, ask about break policies. You usually get an hour for lunch and two more 15-minute breaks. When working at a computer, it’s important to get up from time to time and move around so you can get your blood flowing. You also need to give your eyes a break.
>When people started switching to remote work, many managers were concerned that their employees would become less productive because they’d do their laundry or watch Netflix on company time. The opposite happened. People started working overtime. This was partly because their managers wanted to make sure they didn’t slack off, so they increased their workload.
You need to protect your time. Set “in office” hours and discuss your boundaries with your employer.
Enjoy the Perks of Remote Work
As we mentioned before, remote work usually gives you more flexibility. Some companies let their employees choose their own hours as long as productivity levels stay the same. This can be a huge perk when you have things you need to take care of in your personal life, like running errands, going to a fitness class or dropping your kids off at school.
You also save time by not having to commute. And the money you save isn’t just from gas. You’ll save on car maintenance, ordering lunch or wearing out your professional wardrobe and having to buy new items. These things add up.
You can also use your lunch break for other things. Perhaps eating your lunch at your desk isn’t particularly appealing, but it’s worth it if it means you have time for something else like going for a walk or sorting something out without having to take time off from work.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.