Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses made the transition from in-office workers to working remotely. For some people this change was easier than for others. But regardless, it looks like many businesses believe the pros of remote workers outweigh the cons and aren’t going back anytime soon.
So how does that affect you? Maybe you enjoy working from home, or maybe you don’t. In any case, here are 7 tips for how you can make the most of your new remote work situation. It’s not all bad, we promise ;)
1. Make a Schedule
Probably the most important tip is this: Make a schedule and stick to it. Daily routines are imperative when you need to be the manager of your own time. If you are not intentional with your time, you will find it slipping away from you and you will lack the productivity to accomplish your responsibilities. Don’t forget to also plan out your morning and evening routines that will get you to work both on time and in the right frame of mind.
2. Set Boundaries
It’s so easy when working from home to let your home-life and work start to creep together. One way you can preserve your work-life balance is to set boundaries, both physical and mental. If at all possible, set up some kind of office that is dedicated to work. Also don’t forget to communicate your boundaries with those you live with, whether that’s a roommate or your family. The more productive you can be while at work, the easier it will be for you to “come home” at the end of the day.
3. Take Intentional Breaks
Studies show that prolonged periods of focus without breaks leads to a decline in productivity and an increase of mental fatigue. Taking intentional breaks during your workday is so necessary in order to stay focused, energized, and motivated. Use apps like Pomodor, a web-based timer that notifies you when it’s time to take a break and tracks your productivity.
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting out of the house either. We all need Vitamin D, so take one or two of your break times every day to walk around the neighborhood or sit outside on your porch.
4. Communicate with your Team
Communication is essential when working from home, so it’s better to over-communicate than deal with misunderstandings that are the result of a lack of communication. Thankfully, technology allows us to have “face-to-face” conversations through Zoom and FaceTime that make understanding each other easier.
Also, don’t neglect in-person interaction with your team if possible. Schedule a time to meet up either at the office or at a coffee shop and talk shop or just enjoy hanging out. These personal interactions are so important for the unity of your team and your own social health at work.
5. Take Sick Days
When working from home, it can be easy to just plow through the work day when we’re not feeling well. We may come to work in our pajamas and take a break to nap when we are unable to focus. But the reality is that on the days when we are sick, we are probably not working productively, and our company will suffer for that.
The better option is to use the sick time that’s available to you. It’s there for a reason, and you will be more useful to your team when you are rested and back to full health. If you are self-employed and do not have paid sick time, don’t forget that getting rest could still be worth more than missing out on a day of work. Your health in the long run is more important for your business than the tasks you could accomplish in one day.
6. Stay Positive
It can be easy to get down on yourself for getting distracted for a few minutes or to become frustrated with a coworker who does not have the best email etiquette. Ultimately, staying positive is the key. Cut yourself some slack (especially if you are new to working from home.) It’s an adjustment for sure, and it may take some time to learn how to be your most productive and efficient self without the affirmation and accountability that you are used to in the office.
Be sure to cut your team some slack as well. Communication is more difficult when it’s not face-to-face communication, so some things may fall through the cracks or get lost in translation through your screen. Remember your common goal, and work together to accomplish it.
7. Enjoy the Perks
Although working from home has its challenges, it also has some serious perks. Your schedule is more flexible, you have the liberty to customize your work space (no more freezing your rear off under the office AC unit), you save time that you would have spent commuting to work, and not to mention the money that you can save in gas and food.
So enjoy it! Try that new bread recipe that requires you to tend it every hour. Enjoy the extra time playing with your kids. Whatever your new work situation, make the most of it, and enjoy living your life to the fullest with whatever situation you’ve been dealt.