Remote work has gained immense prominence in recent years, but it hasn’t always been the norm. However, as technology continues to improve, more and more businesses are adopting work from home policies, either in part or entirely. Remote work provides many benefits, including flexibility, increased productivity, and lower costs for businesses.
At the same time, remote work does have its share of challenges. Employees who work from home can feel isolated, communication can be difficult, and distractions from home life can easily interfere with work. Additionally, remote work creates boundaries that are not necessarily as apparent when working in an office set up.
To adapt to this environment, it is pivotal to follow certain rules that will ensure success from home. This guide highlights the dos and don’ts of remote work to help you stay productive and avoid common pitfalls.
Do Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
When you work from home, it’s essential to have a dedicated workspace that is designed to meet your needs. This space should be exclusively for work and at the same time, needs to be comfortable, clutter-free, and well-lit. A dedicated workspace helps to establish a boundary between work and home life. This setup can help to ensure that you stay focused and disciplined during working hours.
Do Stick to a Routine
One of the major advantages of remote work is the flexibility it offers, but it can also lead to procrastination or lack of disciple. Establishing schedules and routines that are similar to office hours will help maintain productivity and promote discipline while working from home. A routine sets a structure to the day that ensures that you get enough done in time while using the rest of the day for leisure activities.
Do Communicate with Your Team
Communication is essential when working remotely. Stay in regular contact with your colleagues and managers through email, video conferencing or instant messaging services. Start every day with a quick check-in with team members to better understand each other’s priorities and plan accordingly. Also, make sure to ask any questions and get clarification on work-related matters since remote collaboration can be a little tricky. Advanced technology tools have made remote communication easier than ever, and everyone should take advantage of them to improve work performance.
Do Prioritize Your Work
One mistake that most employees make when working from home is procrastination. The ability to work independently, without supervision, can create a sense of complacency. It’s important to prioritize tasks and ensure that important tasks are completed first, projects assigned are handled efficiently and completed to meet deadlines. Make sure to have a to-do list to stay on track daily. Here, short-term and long-term strategic planning is key to delivering great results.
Do Take Breaks Frequently
A work-at-home day can become monotonous, and mental fatigue sets in quickly. Taking frequent breaks can help to improve productivity as well as boost mental and physical health. Take breaks from work and indulge in activities such as taking a stroll, doing some exercises, or meditating. Small movements help to increase blood circulation and clear your mind, which enhances productivity and sharpens your focus level.
Don’t Let Distractions Distract You
Distractions are one of the main reasons why working from home can be challenging. Distractions can come in various forms, including social media, phone calls, and household chores. Other family members or pets can also be a distraction, making it harder to concentrate on work. When working from home, it’s important to limit distractions as much as possible. Create a work schedule, eliminate disruptive apps or notifications and use noise-cancellation headphones to block out background noise.
Don’t Assume Everyone Has the Same Schedule
Many people working remotely often have the assumption that everyone they work with has a consistent work schedule. However, remote teams can have different schedules, and employees may be in different time zones. Coordination and noting when a team member is available is thus vital. Ensure that you ask for availability before scheduling work meetings or any collaborative projects. This way, efforts dovetail, communication is smooth, and it’s easier to work as a team.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
When working from home, it’s easy to forego healthy habits in favor of convenience. Things such as skipping meals, staying sedentary for long periods, and sacrificing sleep can harm your health and productivity. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, take time to stretch, and engage in some physical activity. The regular exercise will improve not only physical health but mental health as well. Maintain a work-life balance to avoid burnout and stress that can damage your mental health and work performance over time.
Don’t Ignore Your Mental Health
Working in isolation can cause feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Remote work leaves a lack of physical interactions, and this can cause workers to feel disconnected from their colleagues. Make sure to establish communication with colleagues regularly, and ask for assistance when you need it. As mentioned above, taking breaks when stressed is also helpful.
Don’t Let Work Take Over Your Life
Creating work-life balance is especially important when working from home. Working from home doesn’t mean that you should work all day and night, nor does it mean that you must be available 24 hours a day. Don’t let work consume your personal life. Take time to unwind and dedicate time to do things you enjoy such as spending time with family and friends, or pursuing a hobby.
Remote work is becoming increasingly popular among businesses and organizations, especially during global events. However, having a successful work from home set-up is not just dependent on internet speed and power supply. This setup would be incomplete without following specific rules and guidelines. The dos and don’ts of remote work outlined in this guide can help to ensure that you make the most of your time working remotely while avoiding common pitfalls. Remember that maintaining discipline, communication styles and regular exercise, along with other practices, are ultimately key to success while working remotely.