Remote working is the new black for many non-digital companies. For agencies like WAAT it is native to us as we work with a team that is scattered across different time zones in the world. The companies that are catching up now because of the pandemic were not necessarily prepared and neither were their employees.
It can be overwhelming to work from home for the first time but no need to panic: here’s a list of 5 things you need to consider when working remotely. Going at it the right way enables you to enjoy it because you get to redesign your lifestyle in ways that can be beneficial to raise a family, improve your mental health and live in places with reasonable rent and cost of living.
Dedicated office space
Make sure to find a designated place in your home where you can install a nice desk, an ergonomic chair and all the work related equipment. It’s very important to have a space where you won’t be distracted during your working hours. Keep this place clean and organised, just like at the office.
The right tools
This might seem obvious but it surely can make all the difference: a good wifi connection, a working camera, noise cancelling headphones, an additional monitor - all the right equipment to make sure that everything is smooth sailing. Even minor hiccups can cause you to lose your focus so it’s better to anticipate this and get everything you need to avoid this.
Planning and focus
Implement a daily routine to jumpstart your day, that’s how you avoid crawling behind your computer 5 minutes before your video call while still wearing your pyjamas. Take the time to exercise, do some mindfulness and have breakfast. While going into work mode, plan out what you’re going to work on that day so you know exactly when you will need to focus and maximise your productivity potential. Want to know more about tracking your time and productivity? Here’s an article on how effective time tracking apps can be. (previous article)
The tendency to over communicate while remote working is actually a challenge that needs to be addressed. It’s important to not fall into the trap of trying to answer all your instant messages and emails every 5 minutes. Keep your colleagues and managers in the loop with your daily tasks, and your communications, short and to the point. This allows you to actually use the rest of your time to get the job done.
It is recommended to find a designated colleague that you can speak to if needed, so you don’t feel alienated or alone. Dr Thuy-vy Nguyen from Durham University did a study of the effects on solitude, and brought to light that when working remotely for long periods, mental well being and team-bonding is often overlooked. Hence why it’s important to find a good balance between communicating for a purpose and communicating as a way to release some tension and get back to work after.
Allow yourself to breathe and take breaks during your workday. When working at an office you get to walk to the coffee machine or the printroom and disconnect for a few minutes. Your productivity during the day can fluctuate and that is completely normal, just know when to take a second to touch down. For instance, taking a break from your screen every 20 to 25 minutes is recommended and it can have a positive effect on your workflow. Keep in mind that everybody works differently so you need to do what works for you.