In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, working conditions have changed across all industries. Nonessential businesses have been forced to close their doors to avoid spreading the virus in gathering places like bars and concert halls. In contrast, companies have sent people to begin working remotely, with only the most essential workers still on site. Many of the businesses now working remotely have never done so before. Workers around the world are struggling to adjust to this new reality we’re living. So, during the foreseeable future, while we’ll all be working remotely, here are a few tips to make the transition easier!
Location And The Home Office
One of the defining factors of avoiding COVID-19 has been the quarantine. Some countries require it, some of them only suggest it, but regardless, most of us are stuck at home for a while.
The first thing to figure out if you’re suddenly working from home is what is going to keep you motivated. While some do great work without supervision, others need accountability to keep moving forward. If you fall into the latter category, it’s worth testing some other methods to keep motivation at its best. Some make a checklist of tasks that need doing while others have consistent check-ins with their superiors to have a report to motivate them. This experimentation is a good idea if you’re new to working at home to find out what works best for you.
The environment is also a huge factor for those working remotely. Most office spaces, even orderly ones, have a degree of noise at all times. The newfound silence of home or, if you have family or others you live with, making far more sound than you’re used to, may be jarring. Thankfully, depending on the work you do, there are many solutions for this. If you have good enough headphones, you can rely on podcasts or music to break up the silence or drown out the noise.
Attitude And The Team
Keeping the home office in mind is essential when it comes to focusing and keeping yourself motivated. But this is only a small part of working remotely. The most important aspect is how you interact with your team as a whole. Having open communication with your entire team is essential. Many companies are now using services like Slack, company wide chat programs, to keep in contact with other members of their team.
Regular check-ins are wise for both productivity and camaraderie. It becomes, unfortunately, easy to feel disconnected when working remotely. Hopping on a video call periodically with your coworkers can dispel that feeling and still create an environment of teamwork. Though, when it comes to these types of meetings, try to bunch them up as much as possible. While meetings can be useful to battle back any feelings of loneliness, they can also become a distraction if you let them. Finding a similar balance compared to when you were in the office is the goal.
Another critical aspect of working remotely when keeping your team in mind is making sure you are available as much as possible. Without someone’s physical presence, it can become easy to put off responding to messages or even checking them altogether. This may feel like it’s not a big deal at first to you. But when you respond slowly like this, it can make time-sensitive work much more complicated for your team. It also creates more friction than necessary if no one feels like they can contact you. Even if you can’t respond right away because you are in the middle of another task, create a schedule for yourself for when you can check messages and emails.
Your Own Headspace
We’ve spoken a bit today about keeping yourself on task, but that’s not all that is important when it comes to your mind when working remotely. One of the greatest difficulties with not only working at home but also dealing with the current pandemic is finding the line between work and home life. Many people rely on the defined line between work and home by leaving their house to come into the office. When they don’t have that, some tend to go a little stir crazy.
One of the most important rules of working remotely is knowing when it’s time to step away from work and take time for yourself. When it’s time to stop for the day, you need to remember that you can indeed stop. You might get more messages, more emails, more notifications, but if they can wait, you honestly should let them.
If you let work consume you at all hours of the day simply because it can now that your home and work lives have blended, you will burn out far faster than you may think. No one should work 24/7, and those that claim they are won’t last anywhere near as long as they believe. The best aspect of working remotely is that you can do the work when you are in the right headspace to do it.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 many businesses have been forced into working remotely, and that change will inevitably cause a bit of friction for those not used to it. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however. Working remotely grants employees a great deal of freedom in their time and schedules, provided the work is still being done and you are still communicating with other members of your team. The most important part of this process will be finding where you can draw the line between work and home. With the quarantine in very different states throughout the world, it is likely that things will continue as they are now for a while longer. This is the time to master working remotely and enjoy the benefits while they are available!