Remote working has reshaped the labor market over the years, providing employees with flexibility in their work hours and giving companies access to a larger talent pool. Remote working has become the norm especially over the last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study conducted by Buffer, 99% of employees would like to work remotely at least some of the time, while 70% of professionals work remotely at least once a week. Remote work has several benefits, including reduced office cost, improved work-life balance, and access to a wider pool of talent. However, different challenges come with working from home, ranging from distractions to poor internet connection. In this article, we will look at some of the best practices remote employees can use to achieve their full potential and improve productivity.
Set up a designated workspace
Working remotely enables you to work from anywhere as long as you can access the internet. However, to be productive working from home, it is critical to have a designated workspace that is exclusive to working. The designated workspace will help keep distractions at bay and will provide a conducive working environment. This workspace should be free from personal belongings that may cause distractions or make you feel like you are still in a relaxing mode. The workspace should be a comfortable working environment, including good lighting, a stable internet connection, and all the necessary equipment required to work efficiently.
Effectively communicate your availability
One of the significant advantages of remote work is the flexibility of working at your own work pace. However, this flexibility comes with a price — interruptions. When working from home, friends and family members may interrupt you during your working hours, causing a lack of focus and lost productivity. To avoid such interruptions, it is essential to define your working hours and effectively communicate with friends and family members about those hours. Set boundaries and ensure that everyone in your household treats your work hours as they would if you were in a traditional office setting.
Establish a routine
Working from home can affect your work-life balance if you do not have a clear routine to balance your work and personal life. Establishing a routine can help you manage your time effectively and stay productive. A daily routine can help regulate your sleeping patterns and manage your workload correspondingly. Your daily routine should distinguish between your work and personal life. Indicate your personal activities, such as meal times or exercise hours, and ensure you incorporate them into your routine.
Effective communication is critical for remote workers to maintain a strong connection with their colleagues and their employer. Remote work can create a feeling of isolation if communication is lacking between employees. Use communication tools as frequently as possible to stay connected with colleagues and relay necessary information.
Time management is critical in remote working because it is easy to fall into the trap of procrastination or overworking. Time management tools can increase workflow efficiency by tracking your activity and maintaining focus in your work hours. The Pomodoro technique is a great time management tool that helps to break work hours into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. This technique enables employees to keep track of their work hours and keep their focus on a particular task for the duration of the 25 minutes without any distractions.
Working remotely can lead to a blurred line between work and personal life, resulting in overworking and burnout. Taking breaks is crucial in maintaining productivity levels because it helps to reduce stress levels and improves overall mental health. Breaks can help employees recharge their energy levels and come back to work with a clear and re-invigorated mind. You can take short breaks to stretch, exercise or take a walk outside.
Embrace a healthy lifestyle
Working remotely means freedom in terms of work environment and schedule, which can lead to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and unhealthy living. Employees who work remotely should prioritize taking care of their mental and physical health to remain productive. You can incorporate exercise into your daily routine for a healthy lifestyle. You can engage in indoor exercises if the weather is poor, go for a run or walk, or attend a gym. Employees should also maintain a balanced diet and avoid unhealthy eating habits.
Invest in technology
Remote workers rely on technology to perform their responsibilities effectively. Investing in technological tools such as laptop, printer, scanners, and other essential equipment will help ensure employees can perform their work duties efficiently. Proper internet and data storage systems are also vital in maintaining smooth workflow operation. Investing in noise-cancelling headphones with a microphone or any other tool that helps reduce background noise during virtual meetings can improve the quality of communication among colleagues.
Attend company events
Remote working can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection, which can reduce productivity levels drastically. Attending virtual company events or team-building activities is essential in creating a sense of belonging and connection among the employees. Such occasions help recreate office culture virtually, and it also enables remote workers to socialize with their colleagues.
Remote workers, like office-based workers, need feedback on their work performance to maintain better productivity levels. Managers should conduct regular check-ins to check on their remote staff and provide feedback on the projects or tasks done. Regular feedback helps remote workers understand their roles and stay accountable for their work performance. Therefore, help remote workers appreciate and understand their job roles better and work towards improving their productivity levels.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way we work and communicate, with remote work becoming the new norm for many businesses. Remote work provides employees with the freedom to work from anywhere, enabling a work-life balance that traditional office-based work does not offer. By embracing these ten best practices, remote workers can stay connected to their colleagues, maintain their productivity levels, and improve their job satisfaction.
Remote work may have its challenges, such as managing distractions and maintaining a daily routine, but with proper planning and communication, employees can enjoy the perks of working from home. In addition to the best practices mentioned above, employees must maintain open communication with their team members and management, ensuring they are on the same page and avoiding any potential issues that may arise.
As the future of work continues to evolve, remote work will undoubtedly play a more significant role in the way we work. Employers should provide the necessary resources and guidance to help remote employees achieve their full potential and maintain the same level of productivity as traditional office-based work.
In conclusion, remote work is here to stay, and remote workers must embrace these best practices to maintain their productivity levels and job satisfaction. With the right approach and mindset, remote work can provide a fulfilling work experience, increased job satisfaction, and improved work-life balance.