Like many of you, we’ve been working remotely the last several weeks. And the transition has been relatively smooth. There are, after all, some advantages to working from home, as some of you are discovering.
Research suggests that increased job satisfaction, performance and commitment to your employer are a few of the positives that come from working remotely. But there are disadvantages, as well.
Sometimes, working remotely can lead to a sense of isolation—even when times aren’t so uncertain. There are less opportunities to share information, too, and the boundaries between work and home can become blurred.
Let’s look at a handful of helpful tips for working remotely.
Create Your Space
It’s a good idea to set up a designated workspace when working from home. If you’ve got kids, a partner or even a four-legged friend or two, try to create your space in a room where you can shut the door. And you might even consider a “Do not disturb” sign.
This’ll help you get into a regular workday routine, focusing on the tasks at hand. And it can prevent potentially embarrassing intrusions during video calls and meetings with coworkers—who knew poodles barked so much during the weekday?
Set Your Routine
Along with creating a designated workspace, be sure to practice some of your normal routines. It’s tempting, especially if you live alone, to want to sleep in a little longer, rolling out of a bed a few minutes before it’s time to login. But don’t give in.
You’ll have an easier time adjusting if you get up in time to wash, comb your hair and put on something other than pajamas. It will help you maintain a sense of professionalism. And your coworkers, should you see them via video, will appreciate it, as well.
And allow time for breaks. It’s best if you can plan them for the same time every day. Breakfast and lunch are important, of course. But take 15 minutes every few hours to get up and walk around. It’s spring outside, and although we’re all practicing good social distancing, take a little time to get out, even if it’s just on your front step. Your brain and creative juices will appreciate the fresh air, songbirds and sunshine.
Set Your Limits
It’s important to know when to call it quits for the day. Research shows that remote employees tend to log more hours than the average officegoer. Perhaps time just gets away from us, as we’re not having to try and beat rush-hour traffic at the end of the day. Or maybe it’s just tempting to try to get ahead on projects. But set your limits, and stick to them as much as possible.
We know these are unprecedented times, so issues may arise that require more hours from you here and there. But do your best to adhere to your usual clock-out time. This will help preserve the boundaries between work and home that are so important to maintaining mental wellbeing and keeping you healthy.
Keep the Lines Open
One of the disadvantages from working from home is that many of us miss out on the more personal means of communication we usually take part in. No one’s meeting at the proverbial water cooler or passing each other in the halls these days, though we hope to be again soon.
If your company is on some sort of communication platform like Microsoft Teams, collaborating and keeping in contact with each other will be a snap. They’re great for chat, calls, storing and sharing documents and taking part in video meetings. Just be sure to be extra responsive and keep your workmates posted on your status, whether that’s letting them know you’re done with a project or that you have to step away from your work area for a few minutes.
If you’re not on one of these platforms, be diligent about checking email, voicemail and texts frequently. If you haven’t already, talk with your coworkers about the best ways you can all be reached.
And don’t be afraid to reach out to your company’s IT specialists when you’re having tech issues. Today’s technology is great, when it works. But we all know it doesn’t always perform the way it’s supposed to. So give them a heads up early when problems arise. Small glitches can get worse. And even if the problem is on your end, they’ll likely be able to offer expert guidance to help you fix the issue.
From all of us here at Infinite Energy, we hope these tips are helpful and that you and your loved ones are safe and well.