During this pandemic, more and more people are starting to be given the opportunity to work remotely, which generally means working from home. In fact, more people now do this than at any other point in history, and it is proving to be a real turning point, with an increasing number of businesses saying that they might never go back to the old office-centric way of doing things.
But if you are new to remote working, and you are wondering how to make sense of it all, you are not alone. Let’s take a look at some of the most important tips and tricks you might want to bear in mind if you are starting to get into remote working right now.
Setting up the Routine
For many people, one of the major early challenges of working remotely will be keeping to some kind of a routine. If you are not used to working from home, you might find that it is difficult to get yourself motivated, and to make sure that you are actually doing the work that is necessary in order to keep your job, and to make the most of the work that you do. So the important thing is to start setting up a routine as soon as you can, and do whatever you need to do to stick to it well and fully.
In doing that, bear in mind that there is such a thing as trying to do too much in one go. This is a common error that many newcomers to remote working make, and all it does is cause a great deal of burnout and stress. Instead, ease your way into it by starting out with some of the basic aspects of your job, and gradually building up until you are working full days from home. You’ll find you can get there easily enough if you work at it in this way.
Again, something that many newcomers to remote working find is that it’s hard to be motivated to actually work. Something about being in your own home can make that devil appear on your shoulder, and before you know it you are procrastinating for half the day. As well as the fact that this might put you in trouble with the boss, it’s also going to mean that your work is actually less satisfying, so that is something to bear in mind here too.
So how can you find extra motivation when you are working from home? One of the best ways is to simply break up the day into smaller chunks, and give yourself a reward for completing each section of time successfully, and doing all the necessary tasks in that period of time that you needed to do. Although this might sound simple, it really does work, and many people have found that they can get some more motivation this way. Do that and you are going to find working from home so much easier.
Keep Connected to the Workplace
Whether your company has moved everyone to remote working, or just some people, you need to find ways to stay connected to those other people, and – if applicable – to the office itself, if people are still working there too. Hopefully, your manager will have started to think about some of the things that you can do here, and you will simply need to follow along with those suggestions. But you might also need to think about them yourself, especially if you want to keep as well connected to your colleagues as possible.
Many of the best solutions are pretty obvious: you can use email, you can set up a whatsapp group and have a constant live chat going, and you can use video conferencing software like Zoom to have face-to-face meetings. Or your team might be using something like Microsoft Teams, which is a suite which has a number of these types of apps all together, with the option to share information and data across them all. There are so many options out there, and you should work together to see which is best for your particular workplace.
Some of these methods will depend on you having the right technology at home, and that this technology is as advanced as possible. One of your most important personal tools is probably going to be your cell phone, as you are likely going to be taking and making calls and texts on that, as well as whatsapp messages. You should therefore make sure that you have a phone that can do all that, and that it is capable of properly connecting to the internet, and receiving and making calls easily. Some people live in more remote places where this is more difficult than usual, so you might need to look into a cell phone signal booster for home from weBoost if this is the case for you.
However you actually do it, keeping connected to the workplace in this way is going to be an important way to keep you feeling part of a team. This can help to guard against a feeling of loneliness which many remote workers end up feeling, and it can also be a way to feel more involved, and feel like you are still back at the office.
Find Your Time
Something that will soon become obvious enough is that you probably have a golden time in the day when you tend to do your best work. It might take a while to discover when that is, but eventually you will find it, and when you do it’s a good idea to make the most of it. Generally you will be doing a lot more during that time, so planning your life around that could mean that you do the best work you can – and more of it – while still having a social life and plenty of rest. This doesn’t mean slacking off the rest of the time, just that you should be doing whatever you can to find that time and make it work.
Create a Home Working Environment
You are likely going to find it a lot easier to get down to work if you have a decent working environment to work with. That means somewhere where you are not going to be too distracted, somewhere which is likely to be quiet and free from too much else, and somewhere you can dedicate to your work. If you have a smaller home, you might find it difficult to create this dedicated home working environment, but generally even just having a desk in the corner of a room is better than nothing – and certainly better than working in front of the TV!
If you have a little more space, you might have the luxury to create a real home office, perhaps even with full soundproofing and other features like that. Or you could use a shed or outhouse, and work from there. However you are going to approach this, you will find that having some kind of positive working environment in your home is really going to help you to work harder, smarter and to enjoy the whole thing so much more.
Think About Additional Costs
People are often surprised to discover that remote working can bring with it some additional costs that you might not have expected. For instance, if you are going to use a co-working space then this is going to cost you something, even though it is a great way to get working some days. Or you might need to account for the fact that you need to buy more refreshments than usual. You might also find that you are using more electricity and gas at home, which is going to be something you need to work out reimbursement for. Thankfully, you can claim that on expenses, and you might also be able to work out a deal with your company if you are going to be overpaying in the meantime.
Throughout all of this, you should endeavour to ensure that you do not end up overpaying for things, otherwise you are going to be at a considerable disadvantage.
Treat It Like Going to the Office
Many people first make the mistake of thinking of remote working as more relaxed, and therefore less like something you have to really make an effort for. You can see where this feeling arises from, but if you want to still approach your work professionally you should make a point of treating it as though you are still just going to the office. In other words: get up, get dressed, and treat it like a real commute. Sit at your desk and pretend you are in the workplace. The more seriously you take it, the more you will get out of it, and the more your manager will realise you are still working hard.
Bear all this in mind, and you should find that remote working works out for you pretty well.