Remote working as a concept is not new but it gained more traction in the last year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Many organizations have extended the remote working period while others are following a flexible work culture. The past year has shown us well the benefits and challenges of remote working. Every remote worker faces unique challenges and distractions that are hard to avoid. Also, it is difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance while remote working.
Global Workplace Analytics believes that 25-30% of the workforce will remotely by 2021.
While a considerable time has passed since this began, working remotely and acing it definitely takes some doing. Even if we have done this for a while, there are certain tips to create higher impact and boost productivity. At this moment, remote work is not just a benefit but a key component of business continuity plans for many organizations. As a result, it is extremely important to be functioning at optimum efficiency levels to reach the productivity benchmark set by the organization.
- Follow a regular work schedule
To try to avoid getting stuck into work 24/7, it is prudent to follow a set work schedule. This sets a routine and minimizes distractions. Devising set work hours helps in being productive, is good for mental health, and also staves off burning out. Decide what your regular work hours will be and communicate the same to your supervisors and colleagues to avoid any animosity or confusion. Following this will ensure that your co-workers are aware of when you are available for meetings, work tasks and sets a clear demarcation between your work hours and personal time avoiding any overlapping of sorts. This is great for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as well.
- Communicate actively
In the remote working culture, it can become quite possible to become lost in the absence of proper communication and directions. Use the tools at your disposal like email, video calls, chat, phone calls, etc to stay in touch with colleagues, conduct meetings, share work status, among other tasks. Understand how often and when people would like to hear from you and follow those preferences. Respect boundaries and communicate proactively to ensure the smooth running of organizational functions. Initially be ready to over-communicate to get tasks done and keep the management in the loop. Remote working does not mean cutting off from colleagues but can be equally fun and engaging leveraging the modern tech tools and software available. Ensure that everyone is on the same page by documenting conversations, and clearly spelling out the deliverables.
Since 2020 people have been meeting by video calls 50% more since COVID-19.
- Have a home office setup
At our workplaces, we have designated workstations dedicated to working efficiently in our own space in the office. However, when at home this is often not possible which hampers productivity to an extent. Having a dedicated workstation helps people to be in the right mental space that is needed for productive output. Placing the laptop at the right place, having essential work tools handy, getting an ergonomically supportive chair can make a huge difference. To avoid any technical snags, ensure that you have a robust wi-fi connection, or shift your workstation closer to the router to have an uninterrupted internet connection. Find a space where you can work with minimum distractions and have maximum productivity.
- Be familiar with collaboration tools
Telecommuting has grown 115% in the past decade.
(State of Telecommuting)
The rapid increase in remote work has also led to the adoption of collaboration and video conferencing tools like Slack, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and file-sharing services Google Drive, One Drive, DropBox, etc. These apps and tools are great for collaborating with colleagues and get work done especially in this remote working situation. Familiarizing with these tools goes a long way in ensuring a smooth work process. In today’s age, acquainting oneself with digital tools is an added advantage and a much-needed asset. It may seem a little intimidating initially but once you are well acquainted with the functioning of these tools, you’ll realize that work has become much easier.
- Take breaks
While working from home, it becomes more difficult to have set break timings when you can unwind for a while. Working continuously without breaks can hamper health and also leads to poor productivity levels. If you are someone who has a habit of not taking breaks, set alarms to remind you to take occasional breathers. A small break or a quick walk refreshes the mind and makes a worker more effective or efficient. Working continuously for long hours can have an ill effect on health and minimizes productivity. Having set time-off on the other hand boosts efficiency levels and is good for your body and mind. Refresh, reboot, re-focus.
After COVID-19 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
- Dress for office
Resist the urge to stay in your PJs all day and instead dress up for work. Getting dressed up in the morning not only makes you look professional for video calls but also puts the brain in “work” mode. Resist the temptation of staying in your PJs and instead dress up for a casual workday. It shifts the mindset and makes the environment seem more energetic. Making these small changes to your routine makes the day more fun and reduces the dullness of remote working.
- Know when to “log-off”
With work from home scenarios, schedules can often get muddled up if you don’t demarcate your schedule carefully. As the world is becoming increasingly connected, it is important to know when to log off and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Even while working remotely, one should work set hours to gain maximum efficiency and maintain a healthy balance. Communicate your timings to your co-workers, finish your tasks on time and update your colleagues about your work status to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Setting the standard that you are available 24/7 sets a wrong precedent leading to unwarranted expectations. Such a practice may prove to be detrimental in the long run.
Globally, 52% of workers work from home at least once every week.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote working practices around the globe and according to experts, it is here to stay, with many organizations opting for a flexible work schedule. Employees who are acing remote work and showing maximum output and productive results are going to be more in demand and be an essential part of the future workforce. Meet deadlines, exceed expectations, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and strike the right balance to ace remote working. In conclusion, be flexible, adapt quickly to changing circumstances, keep fostering good habits, follow work etiquette that enables you to work successfully from home.
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