Remote working or telecommuting has become a popular trend among employees in various industries. Working remotely allows employees to work from anywhere in the world with more flexibility and autonomy, saving valuable time and resources on travel to and from work. However, not everyone is cut out for remote working and it can be a challenging experience for some individuals. In this blog, we’ll discuss the best practices for remote employees on how to succeed in their work and meet the necessary expectations.
Establish a Clear Work Schedule
Establishing clear work hours is an essential practice that a remote worker must adhere to be productive. It’s important to remember that when working remotely, you may be in different time zones from your team, and you’ll need to communicate your working hours clearly. Try to establish a schedule that works for you and your team, and ensure you communicate your working hours in your status or out-of-office message so that it is clear when you are available and when you are not.
It is essential to have a daily routine to maintain that work-life balance, which means keeping to scheduled breaks throughout the day, eating meals at regular times, and creating a designated workspace. Having a routine helps to stay focused and productive throughout the day.
Create a Distraction-Free Workspace
Working from home means you have to be self-motivated and remain focused on your work. It’s best to create a distraction-free workspace in your home, such as a desk in a quiet room, and remove any distractions such as electronic devices, music, or anything that can take your attention away.
Ensure that your workspace is comfortable and ergonomic to avoid physical discomfort and back issues. It is also important to keep your workspace organized, decluttered, and clean to increase productivity and motivation.
Communication is Key
When working remotely, communication is crucial, so you must ensure your communication channels are clear and effective. Find out what the preferred communication channels are in your team, such as instant messaging or video conferencing, and ensure you are available on these channels throughout the working day.
It is important to have clear lines of communication with your team, and to use that communication effectively to stay informed and up-to-date on your work. You must also be clear with your team about your workload, deadlines, and project expectations, so that everyone is on the same page. Clear communication with your team will increase productivity and eliminate any errors or confusion.
Use the Right Collaboration Tools
Collaboration is key when working in a remote team, and you must have access to the right collaboration tools to ensure efficiency and teamwork. The right set of tools can simplify work processes and eliminate any barriers to collaboration. Tools such as Slack, Trello, Asana, and Zoom are popular collaboration tools that are widely used with remote teams.
Knowing how to use these tools effectively can significantly boost your productivity and ensure you’re working efficiently with your team. Collaborative software tools like Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, Dropbox or OneDrive can provide a seamless way to share files and work on documents simultaneously. Project management software such as Trello or Asana can help you manage projects and tasks, assign tag and categorize work, and set deadlines and reminders.
Set Realistic Goals
As a remote worker, it’s important to set realistic goals that align with your work objectives. Ensure that your goals are clear, measurable, and attainable, and ensure you work towards them daily. Setting goals can help you stay motivated and achieve success in your work.
Setting clear goals improves personal focus and provides direction on what to work on at any point in time. Clearly defined goals have a positive impact on one’s sense of accomplishment and can improve one’s sense of purpose on the job. You can use SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Taking breaks is essential for remote workers as it helps keep you energized throughout the day. Don’t underestimate the importance of stepping away from your computer and getting some fresh air or doing some light exercise during the day. Taking breaks can also help boost your mental health and maintain a positive work-life balance.
It is important to take breaks regularly, to maintain healthy work habits, and vary the types of breaks taken. Stretching or doing some light yoga can be done in between major tasks, while breaks for food, hydration or outdoors activities could be scheduled at specific intervals. The key is to take the time to rest and recharge.
When working remotely, you have to be self-motivated and accountable for your own work. Set small milestones for yourself each day and celebrate these achievements to keep motivation levels high. Being proactive and taking ownership of your work will definitely set you up for success in the long run.
Setting personal goals can help you maintain self-discipline and focus on the tasks at hand while ensuring that you work towards your short and long-term goals. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments and reward yourself when you’ve completed a particularly challenging task or milestone which can help to maintain momentum and motivation.
Take Advantage of Flexibility
Remote working offers a level of flexibility that isn’t available in a traditional office environment, so make the most of it. Take breaks when you need them, simply because you can, and don’t be afraid to adjust your work hours to suit your lifestyle. Having this level of flexibility can help make remote working a more enjoyable and sustainable option.
Flexibility is a key advantage of remote work. This can take the shape of adjusting your work schedule to accommodate different time zones, working on customized tasks, or even taking work trips that align with your personal schedule.
Invest in Yourself
As a remote worker, investing in your professional growth and development is essential. Attending virtual conferences and webinars, reading industry news and insights, and taking online courses can help you stay up-to-date with your industry and enhance your skills. Not only will this benefit you personally, but it will also positively benefit your team and work.
Investing in your professional growth and development can help you acquire new skills, increase your marketability, and enhance your productivity at work. This investment can pay big dividends in your career and income potential.
Maintain Good Health
Remote workers need to maintain good physical and mental health to support their work effectively. Be sure to keep a healthy diet, make time for exercise, take breaks throughout the day, and prioritize good sleep to ensure you stay productive and effective in your work.
Your physical and mental health is essential to your success as a remote worker. Finding ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as a regular sleep schedule, daily exercise, and a nutritious diet, can contribute to your overall wellbeing and work productivity.
Common Challenges Faced by Remote Employees
In addition to the best practices mentioned above, remote workers must be cognizant of the possible challenges of telecommuting. Below are some of the common challenges faced by remote employees, and tips on how to overcome them.
Isolation and Loneliness
Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can significantly impact an individual’s mental health and productivity. To cope with this, remote workers can seek companionship by attending virtual events, participating in team-building activities, and joining online communities. You can also seek regular virtual meetings with your team members or managers to discuss project objectives or updates, which can increase your sense of belonging and socialization.
Lack of Structure
Working remotely requires self-discipline and a structured approach to managing your work. A lack of structure can lead to inefficiency and decreased productivity. To overcome this, remote workers must establish a daily routine and stick to it. This includes setting a start and end time to your workday, scheduling breaks, and allocating time for specific tasks. Furthermore, using project management tools regularly can help you stay on top of all tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities.
Distractions are among the most common challenges faced by remote workers. Being at home may tempt you to do household chores, watch television, or engage in social media, which ultimately decrease productivity. To mitigate these distractions, establish a designated workspace to minimize potential distractions, wear noise-cancelling headphones, and turn off notifications from non-work-related applications during working hours.
Set boundaries with family members or roommates to request privacy and minimize distractions during working hours. It may also be helpful to invest in a comfortable office chair, desk or ergonomic equipment, and keep the workspace clean and organized to increase motivation and productivity.
Limited Career Growth Opportunities
Remote workers may face limited opportunities for career growth. To overcome this challenge, remote employees should create a professional development plan that includes setting career goals, identifying skill gaps, and seeking out relevant training or mentorship opportunities. You can also communicate your career goals with your manager and seek feedback on how to improve your work for greater responsibility within the organization. You can also be open to taking on new roles and challenging assignments that can enhance both your skill set and opportunities for growth.
Advantages of Remote Work
One of the most significant advantages of remote work is its potential for flexibility, which can allow for a better work-life balance. This advantage can help remote workers improve productivity, reduce stress, and promote a healthier lifestyle. Having the ability to manage work schedules, create personalized workspaces and customize work process can help remote workers optimize their productivity, health and overall work-life balance.
Managing Work Schedules
One advantage of remote work is the ability to manage work schedules to align with personal responsibilities and priorities. Unlike the rigid work structure of office jobs, remote workers have the freedom to allocate work schedules during their productive hours. This can help minimize distractions, increase productivity, accommodate unique family commitments or personal preferences, and reduce overall stress.
Building a Schedule to fit one’s lifestyle by setting specific work hours and take schedule flexibility into consideration is essential. Being self-disciplined and knowing when to log on or off, taking advantage of breaks or the time of the day best suited to work without distraction can prepare a remote worker to manage work-life balance.
Creating Personalized Workspaces
Having the ability to create a personalized workspace is another advantage of remote work. Some remote workers will allocate space for work only while, for others, their personal and work lives in one space. Whatever the preferred option, it is necessary to ensure that the workspace is comfortable, reduces stress and supports productivity.
Setting up a designated workspace can help minimize distractions and create a productive environment in the home. Consider investing in equipment or tools that enhance work quality, increasing productivity like ergonomic chairs and monitor risers to support good posture, remote keyboard to reduce potential computer related hand or wrist problems. Also, implementing good lighting or plant decor to allow for some natural feel to the workspace should never be overlooked.
Customizing Work Processes
Remote workers have the ability to customize their work processes and tools to suit their workflow, which can help increase efficiency and reduce stress. Some remote workers leverage technology tools to digitize note-taking, reduce manual inputs, automate repetitive work processes, track time and more. Adopting or integrating productivity tools like Google suite, Asana, Trello, OneNote, Slack and other tools that can help automate routine tasks, track progress and stay organized, can help enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
Also, scheduling or booking regular review periods with team leads or supervisors can help keep remote workers on task, receive feedback and ensure project objectives are met. With customizable processes, remote workers can work smarter, not harder, and are able to find a way to balance productivity, job-related duties and personal responsibility.
Remote work can be satisfying and flexible, and its advantages and benefits have been the subject of various research and studies showing that it can boost productivity, reduce stress, enhance work-life balance, and promote overall well-being. Remote work offers a degree of flexibility that can empower remote workers to design and implement their work schedules, create optimal workspaces, and leverage productivity tools for the improvement of work processes.
With the advantage of flexibility, productivity expectations still need to be met, but implementing best practices, creating a specific working routine, setting clear boundaries, and communicating effectively with fellow colleagues and management, can help maintain a balance in work and personal life.
While remote work has its challenges depending on individual circumstances, acquiring and maintaining refined skills and taking advantage of learning opportunities can help remote workers establish themselves as an essential part of the organization, provide opportunities for career growth, career progression and overall job satisfaction. Ultimately, remote working best practices for work-life balance can help remote workers thrive and successfully navigate through life while also being productive and contributing value to their employer.