Over the past few weeks, there has been a monumental shift from in-office to remote work. More people are working from home than ever before, many of whom have little to no experience working outside of an office or corporate structure. As if the unfamiliarity of remote work wasn’t enough – many are working from their homes while their partners and children are also home. As you work to get your bearings in this era of telecommuting and remote work, there are some simple strategies you can use to maintain high levels of productivity and satisfaction.
Make space for yourself
With school closures and remote work taking over the traditional corporate experience, you will most likely be working from a full house. Kids need entertainment, dishes need to be washed, and dogs need to be let out. You will face more distractions, which is why you should establish boundaries that help you separate your work life from your home life.
Create a makeshift office space in your bedroom, the kitchen, any room or corner that can be closed off to limit unnecessary “traffic”. Finding a space with good natural lighting, and seating comfortable enough for an 8-hour workday will help keep you alert and productive. Create a schedule with your household to help keep the day regimented, giving yourself enough space and time to perform your duties.
Establish a routine
One of the best ways to stay focused is to train your brain and follow a routine. If possible, keep your work from home routine close to your in-office routine. Wake up around the same time, change out of your pajamas (sweatpants ARE acceptable remote work attire), and log on at the same time each morning. Maintain clearly defined work hours and take breaks during your usual break times to stay in a productive mindset.
Maybe you’re used to punctuating your day with water cooler talk or socializing in the breakroom. Social engagement and communication with your coworkers don’t have to stop with remote work. Take advantage of video chats, instant messaging, and teleconferencing. If anything, communication with your peers and supervisors is more important now, to ensure the work you’re doing is properly prioritized and executed. Check in regularly and reach out when you need to.
Check your tech
Technology is what makes remote work possible. At the end of each workday, make sure that all of your technology – phones, laptops, tablets, and wireless headphones, are charging for another full day of work. If something isn’t working as it should, reach out to your company’s IT department immediately so you don’t experience any disruptions in your workday. Check your tech to make sure you have everything you need to do your job to the best of your ability and if you don’t, reach out.
Give yourself time to rest
Remote work can make it easy for some to blur the lines between work and life, allowing the workday to bleed into personal hours and vice versa. To avoid burnout, don’t forget to rest. Take your scheduled breaks, and when your workday is complete, log off until your next shift. The world is facing troubling times, and it’s just as important to stay rested and healthy as it is to remain productive.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the new challenges remote work presents, but with these strategies and a little time to adjust, you’ll be ready to handle whatever the day throws at you.