The global pandemic has forced many employees to shift to remote working, causing a significant increase in the number of people who now work from home. According to a study conducted by the Global Workplace Analytics, 4.3 million employees in the United States work remotely at least half of the week; that figure indicates a 140% increase over the last decade. Working remotely has its benefits, but it also poses challenges that can affect productivity and morale.
One of the crucial aspects of remote work is maintaining a balance between work and life, while still meeting productivity expectations. Working remotely presents new challenges, such as isolation and poor communication, which can lead to a lack of motivation and decreased productivity. Therefore, in this long-form blog, we have outlined ten best practices that remote employees can follow to achieve success and balance in their work-from-home life.
Set Up Your Workspace
The first step toward a successful remote work experience is having a comfortable and ergonomic workspace. You are going to spend a considerable amount of time in your workspace, so it is crucial that it is your perfect fit. Thoroughly analyzing your workspace can help you to identify the necessary modifications or add-ons that will help you work comfortably.
One of the vital factors to consider is the furniture; you will need a comfortable chair, desk, and a monitor to make working for long hours easy. A block monitor helps reduce eye strain which is a typical problem faced by remote workers. You should also make sure you have proper lighting in the room so that you do not stress your eyes or have any discomfort.
If you have a small workspace or share your workspace with family members or roommates, you can opt for noise-cancelling headphones to shut out distractions. Lastly, ensure that your workspace has a stable Wi-Fi connection that will allow smooth communication during virtual meetings or messages.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Remote work is potentially isolating, and it is very easy to slide into the habit of working for long hours without taking a break or engaging in other activities. It is essential to establish clear boundaries between work and personal time to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Boundaries will help you avoid burnout and help others understand that you have specific working hours on which they should respect.
To ensure productivity and healthy limits, you should set up a designated area where you work, usually a little distance or a separate room from where others live, to create a distraction-free environment. You can also set up specific work hours and stick to them, as you wouldn’t want your workplace to invade your leisure time. And once the working hours end, take the initiative to turn off your work devices such as phones or computers, and engage in other activities.
Stick to a Schedule
For remote work to be successful, you must stick to a schedule. A schedule will help you understand the amount of time you need to dedicate to work, breaks, and other activities. When creating a plan, you should consider the time when you are most productive and alert. For instance, if you are more alert in the morning, you can start work early then take a long break in the afternoon.
Aside from setting up a schedule, you must track your time to ensure that you are not spending more time than necessary on non-productive work. Use a timer to schedule your work, set regular breaks, and then stick to it. Take this break to move around or stretch, just like you would while at work, it helps rejuvenate your energy and avoid burn-out.
The critical element of remote work is organization. You must keep track of your work, which includes your schedule, deadlines, and documents to avoid failing on critical projects or missing deadlines. You must prioritize and complete important tasks while remaining flexible enough to tackle surprises.
By utilizing a digital planner or a task-management tool, you can keep track of your daily, weekly or monthly tasks. You can also create a to-do list, highlighting the high-priority tasks you need to complete in a given period, which will help you become more productive. Another essential organizational aspect is keeping your workspace neat, orderly, and clutter-free. Ensure that you save your documents in organized folders and back up your data for safety.
- Communicate Effectively
Working remotely can make communication more challenging since there is no physical proximity between coworkers. Hence, ensuring effective communication among colleagues and supervisors is critical for remote working.
It would help if you established communication guidelines that state how and when to communicate, the frequency of interaction, and the response time to messages. By doing this, you avoid any misunderstandings and expectations you and other coworkers might have.
To ensure efficient communication, you can use email, instant messaging apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype. Consider using tools that allow you to keep track of time, making communication more productive.
Another important aspect of communication is participating in team meetings or voicing out your ideas and concerns. This creates a sense of teamwork and shared responsibility that encourages growth among team members.
Self-care is an essential aspect of remote work that all remote workers should prioritize. Working remotely can be more stressful, and there are higher chances of isolation and less social interaction, which can lead to anxiety, burnout or decreased morale.
Therefore, you must prioritize your well-being; set aside time for physical exercise to keep your body healthy and refreshed. Take frequent breaks and engage in activities that help you feel rejuvenated, such as walking or grabbing a cup of tea. Ensure that you eat healthily and keep hydrated during the day.
Setting goals is another essential aspect of remote work. Goals will help you remain focused and motivated during work. Make sure that the goals you set are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
It would be best to break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones that you can achieve within a specific time frame. You can also break the goals down into short-term (daily/weekly) or long-term (quarterly/annual) goals.
Regularly revisiting your goals will also give you a sense of progress and accomplishment, which is essential when dealing with long-term projects.
Continue Learning and Developing
Remote work presents a significant opportunity to learn and develop new skills that can improve your overall productivity and advance your career. Take advantage of online courses, webinars and other professional development opportunities to enhance your skills and stay up to date with the latest trends in your field.
Furthermore, joining online communities or network with other remote workers in your field can help you stay connected and learn from other people’s experiences. Reading industry blogs and magazines can also expose you to the most recent topic in your field.
Stay Positive and Focused
As a remote worker, maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way in improving your productivity and effectiveness. You should focus on the benefits of remote work that lead to your development, and you find a better work-life balance.
You can also keep yourself motivated by setting small milestones and celebrating them when achieved. Another effective way to maintain focus is by having a daily routine that will help maintain your focus and productivity, which in turn will benefit your overall professional development and growth.
Remote work is by nature isolating, but as a remote worker, you can fight isolation by staying connected to your colleagues and supervisors. By staying connected, you are building a support system outside of typical work activities, which helps you create meaningful relationships.
Virtual meetings, online networking or team building activities, can be beneficial in building a sense of community within your team. This way, you are building relationships that can help build cooperation, trust and encourage growth within the remote team.
Remote work is gaining popularity in many industries, and it’s becoming increasingly vital to develop skills and techniques that ensure success as a remote worker. When you work remotely, having an organized and comfortable working space, setting boundaries, sticking to a schedule, effective communication, prioritizing self-care, setting goals, learning and developing, staying positive and focused, and staying connected, will go a long way in achieving success in your remote work journey.