While lately, many of us are adjusting to this new world of remote work, remote working is not a new concept. Many individuals have worked from home for an extended period before COVID-19. While some find that they enjoy the flexibility of working from home, some may have difficulty getting into the “remote workflow”. If you would like to become more comfortable with the concept, here are a few tips to help you adjust:
Create your own space. It is important to have an area that is comfortable but also promotes productivity. Working from your bed may lead to more sleep than work. Working from your living room, where there may be multiple distractions, may also minimize the amount of work that you may be able to complete at one time. If you don’t have a designate “office” space at home, consider ways that you can create as office type space for yourself. Maybe it is a table where you always keep your computer. If a particular type of music helps you get in work mode, have your playlist on deck. You may also want to make sure that you have all the equipment that you need to do your job. Make sure that you keep your physical comfort needs in mind as well. Invest in chairs or padding, often known as ergonomic furniture, to ensure that you are sitting comfortably while working.
Know your troubleshoot team. Since working remotely often means using technology, you’ll want to know who to contact if your equipment is not working well to prevent any additional work time missed. Knowing the availability of staff that you may need to talk to outside of meetings can be helpful as well. Consider sharing your calendar and schedule with staff and requesting that they share theirs with you so that you know the best time to reach out to someone if needed.
Take breaks. Working from home can be draining for some. Take a moment to go for a walk, workout, or even sit on your porch for a minute. Physical activity and fresh air can help your mind and body energized and prepared to work. Keeping your schedule as consistent as possible can also be helpful-try to log in and log out at the same time as you would if you were in the office.
Create a new norm for lunch. Since you know that you are going to get hungry at some point, try to make your lunch before the workday starts so that you don’t have to worry about spending time trying to figure out what you are going to eat during your lunch. If you are trying to eat healthier, prepping your lunch can also help you avoid ordering take out or delivery every day. Also, if there is a coworker that you usually eat lunch with at the office, invite them to do lunch virtually. Or if you would prefer to do lunch with a partner or children, set up a lunch gathering for the family. For many, being in the office meant socialization, which often helps us make it through the workweek. Skype that coworker or text them throughout the day so that you can have that social support.
Get dressed. Yes, it can be very tempting to work with no pants on when you know someone is not going to see you. However, getting dressed can be a motivation for you to work. Getting dressed can get your brain into work mode since your mind already associates certain things with preparing for work, such as putting on clothes and logging into your computer. Staying in your regular work preparation mode can also make it easier for you to re-adjust to getting ready for work when you return to the office in the future.
Working from home brings unique challenges; however, many of those challenges can be overcome by setting a consistent schedule for yourself. Remember that breaks and socialization are still important, and can actually increase productivity when used as a “work booster.” If you find that something worked best for you in the office, try it at home and adjust it as necessary. Remember, the key to being productive is learning what works best for you and implementing it. The more that you can explore that, the more productive you can be, whether working in the office or at home.