Work From Home Guide for First-Time Remote Workers
The COVID-19 crisis has forced many companies to require their staff to start working from home. Approach this challenge with a plan in place, and turn it into an opportunity for growth. The post Work From Home Guide for First-Time Remote Workers appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.
We’re currently in the midst of the greatest remote work experiment in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to quickly adapt to new work setups that allow for greater social distancing. While it is not a big adjustment for remote work converts such as myself, it can be somewhat challenging for those trying this arrangement for the first time.
Even before the current situation around COVID-19, remote work has been on the rise. A released prior to the coronavirus pandemic found that 50% of employees globally worked remotely for at least half of the week. This has been matched by a similarly positive trend in employee preference when it comes to remote work. The same study found that when faced with similar job offers, 80% of employees would refuse the offer that didn’t offer a flexible work option.
All of this means that whether you’re ready or not, remote work is here to stay. The logical question now becomes how can you not only survive in this new reality, but thrive. Luckily, there’s an abundance of collective knowledge on remote work gained by early adopters. Read on to find some practical tips and tools that will help you make the most of this situation.
Establish a routine
Perhaps the biggest challenge to adapting to a new work arrangement is finding your routine. Humans find comfort in the familiar, so until you become used to working from home you’ll likely feel out of place.
We all have our office routine, usually revolving around peak productive times, meetings and down time for things like lunch and coffee. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can’t recreate something similar.
My team has had a flexible work setup for years, so I’ve gained some experience in this regard. Here’s an example of the type of routine I encourage my team members to create for themselves when working from home:
Morning exercise—It’s important to take into account the reduction in your own mobility while working from home. Previously you may have walked to work, climbed some stairs, left the office to get lunch, etc. Compensating for this is important for your physical and mental health.
Get dressed for work—There’s a general principle that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. In the context of working from home, just because you can spend all day in your pajamas doesn’t mean you should. In order to set the right tone for yourself, take the time to prepare yourself for the day just as you would if you were going to the office.
Breakfast and personal time—Maintaining healthy eating habits is always important, but never more so than when working from home and practicing social distancing. Breakfast is also the perfect opportunity to do something for yourself: catch up on the news, read a book, just look out the window, or anything else that brings you joy.
Create a plan for your workday—Taking time in the morning to outline your tasks and goals for the day is a great way to maintain focus. This is also something you can share with your colleagues to keep them up to date and informed.
Work smart—Hunching over your laptop for eight straight hours will not lead to your most productive work. When you feel that you need a break, take one. In the office you would find ways to clear your mind and stretch your legs, so do the same here (more on this below).
Finish work at a set time—Working hours are working hours, and this shouldn’t change just because you’re now living at “the office.” Set a clear end time for your work every day. Of course this can be adjusted in certain cases, as in the office. However, sticking to strict working times can create an important separation of your work and your personal life.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the feeling you’re always connected. Too often people get up, turn on the computer, begin working, and don’t stop until late in the evening, putting in much more than an eight-hour day. Partly this comes from a drive to “prove” you’re working, a mindset that you should try to overcome as you become more comfortable with remote work.
Just because your home has now become your office you shouldn’t feel obliged to be available during all waking hours. In fact, now more than ever, it’s important to take time for yourself in order to maintain your physical and mental health.
Set clear working hours, with the appropriate amount of breaks, and stick to them! You’ll be doing no one any favors if working from home leaves you drained and unmotivated. Not to mention that your productivity will certainly suffer if you don’t set aside time for yourself.
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Find ways to interact in person
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the loss of human-to-human connection that you find in the office. You’ll quickly come to value, and miss, those in-person interactions. Humans are social beings, and we need to feel connected. In fact, shows that 19% of remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. That’s why when working from home it’s crucial to find ways to interact in person.
My team carves out time at least once a week to hold in-person team meetings using video team communication software. During these meetings we have a rule that everyone has to use their camera, and we take time at the beginning to share updates about ourselves. These meetings help us reconnect and reduce our feeling of isolation at home.
Find the right tools
I’ve purposefully put the discussion of tools last, as the previous points are the most important. Too often people hope for a technological solution to a human challenge. Using the right tools can certainly help you feel more connected and increase your ability to collaborate. However, tools are a means rather than an end, and it’s much more important to nail down the points above before considering technology.
With that said, there are some broad categories of tools that can help you and your team stay in touch and maintain productivity. Your choice will depend on many factors, including your current setup, your team’s specific needs, the size of your team, the size of your budget, etc.
Keep in mind that many businesses are offering extended trial periods or deep discounts in order to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something to look into when doing your research.
Team communication solutions
Moving to a remote work setup means that your team will need to consider how to stay in touch. There are plenty of options on the market, from instant messaging platforms to video conferencing software. Your choice will ultimately need to reflect your team’s specific needs, for example, whether you need to keep in constant touch and be able to collaborate in groups, or you do most of your work individually.
Here are a few examples of tools to help orient you in your search:
: A remote conferencing service that’s gaining a lot of attention during the current crisis for its work, educational, and social uses. Zoom offers a range of tools for online meetings, chat and collaboration.
: A communication channels-based IM platform, Slack allows you to structure your communication by teams and topics. There’s also the ability to integrate an unlimited number of apps, which can help streamline your remote communication.
: An integrated collaboration platform that provides meetings, chat, and storage features. Microsoft Teams is a good choice if you’re looking for a more comprehensive collaboration solution for your remote work.
Organization and productivity apps
Staying focused and on task is difficult in the best of circumstances. Without the structure that an office environment provides, it can become even more difficult. There are a range of apps developed to help teams stay organized and productive. From time tracking and scheduling software, to project planning and workflow organization, there’s an app for pretty much every need.
Here are some different apps that you can check out:
: An appointment scheduling app that helps to streamline your appointment making and calendar management. Calendly is a good choice if you’re managing multiple meetings and engagements while working remotely.
: A project management software that allows you to break down and visualize larger workflows into individual tasks with assigned owners. Trello is a good option if you need help structuring larger projects.
: A time tracking app that allows you to keep track of your time and analyze where it’s going. Toggle is one of the many tools that will help you better manage how you’re spending your time when working remotely.
Dealing with change
Change can be scary, but oftentimes we develop the most in situations when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zones. Suddenly being forced to switch to a home office setup due to external factors is just such a situation. By approaching this change with an open heart, open mind, and of course, a good plan, you can turn a challenge into an opportunity for growth!
About the Author
Post by: Nikola Baldikov
Nikola Baldikov is a Digital Marketing Manager at , a secure instant messaging software for business communication. Besides his passion for digital marketing, Nikola is an avid fan of football and loves to dance.
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The post Work From Home Guide for First-Time Remote Workers appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.