Due to COVID-19 pandemic, most companies are making the switch to remote work.
Going remote, however, isn’t as easy as you might think.
It’s a difficult transition for everyone, whether you’re an employee looking to improve productivity, manager looking for tools to better run their team, or a job-seeker looking for a remote position.
To help make the transition easier for everyone, we compiled this guide!
here’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get started with the essentials of working from home:
Working From Home 101 – Everything You Need to Know
Until recently, remote work, for most people, seemed like all sunshines and rainbows.
At the same time, from an employee perspective, the benefits include:
- Better work-life balance.
- Increased productivity and focus.
- Less stress.
- Avoiding the commute and unnecessary office politics.
- Saving money.
However, as you probably recently noticed, remote work doesn’t mean you’ll just be hanging out in your pajamas all day, chilling at home on your laptop and looking at cat videos in between work.
It’s actually a lot harder than that.
Some people thrive while working from home. And others, not so much.
To actually work effectively from home, you’ll need to be:
- An excellent communicator. It’s one thing to talk with your team in real life, and something completely different to keep in touch with them occasionally through chat.
- Be comfortable with working alone.
- Be able to maintain a healthy work-life balance and have good time-management skills.
- And have the strong work ethic to actually get things done instead of lounging around all day.
Which is why we created this guide: to help you adjust to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic (or to find a new remote job, if your industry is going through layoffs).
So, let’s get started!
10+ Essential Remote Work Tips
For those used to going into the office every day, remote work can take some adjustment.
Here are some tips to keep in mind and make the most of the situation:
1) Establish your workspace
A personal, dedicated workspace is key to working from home.
As fun as it might seem to lay in bed all day with your laptop – you won’t get a lot of work done that way.
By setting aside a personal workspace, you can better get into ‘work mode’ whenever you sit down.
Just make sure your desk is organized, clean, and no one else uses it.
Avoid the couch too and get yourself a real desk. Working from a couch or bed will make you sleepy, tired, and not so productive.
2) Eliminate distractions
Distractions come in many shapes and sizes.
Your loud barking dog. Flatmates. Or just the constant need to check your social media feed every 10 minutes.
This is going to largely depend on your personal environment.
So, it’s important to minimize distractions and plan ahead.
Some solutions might include:
- Investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
- Telling your friends, family, or flatmates that you won’t be available until 5 pm.
- Getting a browser extension that blocks your most visited time-wasting sites.
- Setting aside a dedicated lunch/snack break.
The idea is to try and emulate your office environment, so that you actually feel more like at work.
3) Sign out and turn off all non-work related notifications
Social media, personal emails, and any other distractions, all those can go.
It’s easier than ever to get distracted when working from home.
So, make sure you sign out or just turn off your personal devices completely.
And similarly, sign out of and turn off notifications for work-related emails and messages once your work is done too.
4) Set a schedule
Here’s another popular misconception about remote work:
You wake up whenever you feel like it, grab a snack, watch the latest episode of your favorite show first, AND THEN, you start working.
Wrong on all accounts.
If you want to be productive, and still finish work by 5pm, you’ll need a clear work schedule.
This way, you’re effectively turning work into a habit, which will then help your mind and body adapt to the new working environment.
And hey, at least you won’t have to get up early to make the commute.
5) Track time
Want to make sure you’re sticking to your schedule? Start tracking time!
There are plenty of free apps that allow you to do this, and then, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of each day by the hour.
This is a great way to get an overview of your personal productivity when working remotely.
And as a bonus, you’ll also know if you’re wasting any extra time on social media, and if so – on what sites, when, and how.
Now, you’ll know which sites to block and how to get more things done.
6) Dress for work
But wait, isn’t the whole point of remote work that you can do it from your couch while wearing pyjamas?
Sure, that’s the common stereotype with remote work
But if you want to be more productive, taking the time to put on ‘work clothes’ can be a huge psychological boost.
Look at it as part of your self-care routine, and then, once your work is done, feel free to change back into the sweatpants.
Also, if video calls are a part of your job, no one will want to know what your pyjamas look like.
7) Plan ahead
Do you know what you’re going to be working on tomorrow? Next week? Next month?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of short-term thinking when working remotely.
Especially during a crisis.
While you can only plan ahead for so long, doing some long-term planning will only stand to benefit you.
You can use:
- A personal notebook.
- Google calendar.
- Daily or weekly to-do lists.
- Other communication tools to set up and schedule meetings in advance.
8) Choose what works for you
Here’s the thing with productivity hacks when working from home:
Everyone works differently.
Some people prefer to work in intervals of 25 minutes (AKA Pomodoro technique), while others prefer to zone in with work until they’re done.
There is no one-size-fits-all time management technique that will skyrocket your productivity.
Instead, you should try a few tactics, and see what works best for YOU personally.
9) Set and stick to your goals
Remote work, by nature, tends to be goal-oriented.
A lot of time, there will be no one looking over your shoulder to see if you’re actually working.
Because of this, some people struggle with motivation and finding the willpower to get work done.
To avoid this from happening, make sure you set clear tasks and goals daily. This way, you’ll be sure to maintain optimal levels of motivation when working remotely.
10) Set clear communications
If you don’t regularly work from home, you can expect some bumps in the road when going remote for the first time.
To ensure the transition is smooth, it’s key you have clear communications with your manager and colleagues.
For this, choosing the right project management and communication tools is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
We’re going to cover the tools section more in-depth below.