The coronavirus has caused many businesses to trial remote working during this global health pandemic. How this is handled in the next few months could change the future of work forever.
Tech giants Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon have each implemented remote working policies for many or all their employees worldwide. The COVID-19 Coronavirus is hastening a trend already in effect – there’s been a 159% increase in remote working since 2005.
For many organizations, the Coronavirus outbreak has triggered an anxious trial run for remote work on a grand scale. But the reality of working this way requires adjustment – for employees and managers.
Following these tips for working remotely will help employees stay focused and healthy while away from the office.
Employee working from home tips
Working from home will be an appealing prospect for many employees.
There’s no commute, fewer interruptions, and a comfortable, quiet environment. But adjusting to remote working is often not as easy as anticipated.
Here are some tried-and-tested working remotely tips and tools.
1. Create a productive workspace
Find (or set up) an uncluttered area with plenty of space. Ideally a separate office or spare room, but a dedicated area of another room could suffice.
You could use your bench as a makeshift standing desk, sit at your dining table, coffee table or breakfast bar. Whichever it is, ensure it has good airflow and an even temperature throughout the day.
If you don't have a home office or desk, ensure you are moving around and taking stretches as your set up may cause stiffness or pain.
Invest in a good comfortable chair – this will be worth its weight in gold when you’re spending all day in it!
2. Structure your day
Fostering a sense of normalcy is important. Create a daily ‘to do’ list and follow this as closely as possible (you can find your ideal "to do list" app here)
Set fixed times for speaking with colleagues on shared projects – don’t just do this ‘whenever’ - ensure it is booked into calendars so people don't forget!
Allocate times of the day for different tasks, depending on the type of job you have. For example, if you’re a content writer, segment the day into different blocks of time for writing and others for planning or thinking (use your calendar to block out time).
3. Start strong
Starting with a win is a great way to kick start your remote working day. Focus on completing one task, however small, before 9 am each day. This helps establish a sense of accomplishment and embeds a positive mindset for the rest of the day.
This is a key reason why 65% of workers feel they are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace.
Follow the tips below to make your day more productive:
4. Minimize distractions
Despite the absence of colleagues, your home is just as full of potential distractions – the pile of dirty dishes beside the sink, the errand you need to run, social media notifications on your phone or the kids playing in the next room (if they’re home from school).
Stay productive by minimizing these distractions or remove them altogether.
Wash the dishes before you log on for the day, so as to not break your train of thought later.
Add the errand to your daily structure so fulfilling it doesn’t impact on the rest of your day.
Institute a system with the kids where if you’re wearing headphones, they’re not allowed to interrupt you.
5. Stay connected
The feeling of social isolation is one of the biggest drawbacks of working from home – however enticing the solitude and quiet may seem at first.
The value of those coffee chats and personal conversations are rarely recognized until they’re absent. It’s so profound that more than half of the volunteers in one remote working study felt so isolated that they changed their minds about wanting to work remotely at all!
Fortunately, today’s digital workplaces make maintaining connections with colleagues easier than ever.
Make use of video chat, collaboration tools and team messaging. Set up a channel just for group chats to emulate those water cooler discussions.
Have coffee chats during the day to discuss things like the TV shows and movies people are currently watching. Share tips and tricks for making the most of working from home.
Encourage staff to share pictures of their pets, office set ups, meals or baking in this channel.
You could even conduct a virtual pizza party, where everyone gets together and eats pizza at the same time on a video hangout.
6. Keep healthy
Working from one place all day without the usual breaks that arise from being in the office can make us physically inactive.
Being like this day after day can negatively impact your health.
It’s important to follow good health practices while working from home – regularly stand up and stretch, take breaks away from the screen, eat well and drink plenty of water.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has made working from home more important than ever. For remote working employees, following a few key tips will help them stay both productive and healthy during these difficult times.