Work-from-home might have been a requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, but remote work has since proven its benefits to both companies and workers, and it is here to stay. As more and more employers transition to a flexible operating model and organisation structure, the capacity to remote work is now expected of many employees. Here are six work-from-home tips to help you prepare for the future workplace!
Designate a Conducive Work Space
In an ideal setting, you would have a spare room at home that converts easily into an office. But if you are trying to make it work with limited space, design an allocated space to simulate an office environment. Think bright (or natural) light, a study table and sturdy chair, a nearby charging socket for your laptop, and easy access to all your work documents.
To minimise distractions, refrain from spaces entangled with personal engagements, such as working in a room with pending laundry on the bed or setting up your laptop in the kitchen, where you are likely to check in with the refrigerator every 15 minutes. If there is no way of setting up a conducive workspace at home, you might want to find a quiet café or rent a co-working space or meeting room to work from instead.
Prioritise Quality Technology
With endless online meetings and documents in a shared drive, having a decent internet connection where you work remotely is crucial. You don’t want to risk losing all the latest changes you have made to your work or being disconnected during an important conference call. Speaking of which, now’s the time to master the art of video communications!
Maintain Regular Hours & Schedule Work Breaks
Get into the routine of a consistent work cycle and create clear boundaries to help you keep distractions at bay and stay on track. Set a clear schedule and guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day to help you maintain a work-life balance and avoid having work hours bleed into your private time.
Don’t forget your breaks. If you work for a company, know the policy on break times and take them. If you are self-employed, schedule your own breaks, including time between work to stand up and move your legs or look away from the computer screen. Taking micro-breaks can help increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, allowing you to remain productive throughout your workday.
Communicate & Coordinate with People in Your Space
If you are living with family or share a space with another adult working from home, communicating and coordinating with them and creating boundaries can help avoid potential clashes and unnecessary stress. Set some ground rules around knocking on your door and let them know you need quiet during a specific time frame when you are due for a work phone call or need to concentrate on an upcoming presentation.
It is easy for communications to be lost in translation, especially in remote work settings. To err on the side of caution, you might want to over-communicate, be more detailed than before in your explanations, or even repeat yourself. You can joke about how you might have mentioned something before, but you want to bring it up again, in case it was forgotten or misinterpreted the last time you talked about it. Don’t forget to add a positive tone to your messages, especially emails. An exclamation mark in the right place can make a significant difference!
Socialise with Colleagues
It is easy to fall into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind” when working remotely. Schedule regular check-ins with your colleagues via a group chat or a simple online catchup now and then. Not only does staying in touch with your co-workers help you stay abreast of work updates, but it also helps boost team morale and productivity. Finally, acknowledge that it takes discipline to perform a full-time job remotely and to balance productivity with self-care. Just like during the pandemic, extend the same kindness and understanding to one another, as you never know what the other person is going through in life and their home work environment.