In light of recent Government guidelines, many of us have been asked to ‘work remotely’, where possible. ‘Remote working’, or ‘working from home’, can be a new and sometimes, alien practice for your average office worker, who is used to commuting and working for a set amount of hours at a designated office space.
If your employer has asked you to work remotely, you can follow our guide to ensure you remain engaged and stay on track with your work.
1. Set a designated work area
Finding a place to work remotely is an important step you can take to set yourself up for success. If you are working from home, choose a spot that you can work from every work day. This could be a spare bedroom that you’ve turned into a home office, a desk located in the corner of the living room or even the dining room table. However, you should try to stay away from working in your bed or on the sofa, as these areas are associated with relaxation in your brain, and could negatively impact your productivity.
You need to make sure your workspace functions efficiently for you and your work style, treating your remote workspace the same as your office desk. Make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day, an area where you can focus and do your best work.
2. Plan and test communications
To ensure that you aren’t left out of the loop, make sure to schedule regular meetings and communications with your team, supervisors and managers. It can be easy to feel disconnected with what’s going on in the office, so remaining engaged with your colleagues is key. Communications can include the following:
- Virtual meetings
- Phone calls
- Instant Messaging
- Regular emails
3. Make sure your network and work programmes are protected
Working remotely introduces another set of potential cyber security risks. Make sure you speak with your manager about cyber security and strategies you can use for mitigating the risk of a cyber attack while you are working from your home.
4. Dress like you’re going to work in the office
The way you dress has been proven to affect you psychologically. Although working remotely in your pyjamas may sound appealing, the practice of doing so can put you into a more ‘relaxed’ and ‘casual’ mindset. While you do not need to dress up in business formal attire if you are working remotely, you should take the time to shower, brush your teeth and get ready for the day. Aim to dress in comfortable, but not casual attire.
5. Avoid distractions and stay on task
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is accountability. Without co-workers or managers nearby, it’s easy to become distracted and fall behind on work. Remember that working remotely can be a benefit, and that it will become apparent if you are not putting in the same effort into your work at home as you did in the office.
Stay focused on work throughout the day to maintain consistent productivity. Avoid online distractions as well. Limit the time spent on email, social media and websites unrelated to work. Set a timer on your phone or computer if necessary.
6. Evaluate yourself periodically
To ensure that you remain as productive as possible, be sure to conduct regular assessments on your output. Things to include in your assessment could include the following:
- How long am I spending on tasks? Can I optimise this?
- Am I meeting all my deadlines?
- Am I feeling connected with my co-workers? If not, why not make use of screen-sharing and teleconferencing software to not only collaborate, but to mimic the social environment of an office.
7. Remember to take breaks when you need to
Just like you are encouraged to take breaks while you’re in the office, remember to allow yourself time throughout the day for quick breaks. If you need a short break to gather your thoughts, try walking around your home, stretching, or making a snack or meal.
If you need to take a longer break or socialise, plan time in your schedule for this. A major advantage of working remotely is having flexibility. However, before you take an hour or two out of your day, make sure to communicate and check with your manager so that you remain compliant with your workplace’s policies.