As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread through communities around the world, many folks have been forced to remove themselves from the office, self-quarantine, and work from home. If you’re not used to a remote work arrangement, this may be a tough transition.
Keep reading to learn our top 10 remote work tips to help you work from home (or wherever you happen to be) more successfully.
10 Work From Home Tips
While we all hope to see the coronavirus peter out as quickly as possible, the 10 tips listed below will help you make the most of your forced remote working situation.
1. Maintain Professionalism
Our first tip is to maintain professionalism. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you should forget to shower and dress in an appropriate manner, turn in shoddy work, or neglect company policy. Do yourself (and your company) a favor and continue to treat your job with the same level of respect that you always have.
Not only will this help you make the transition from the office to your home more successfully, it will also enable you to smoothly switch back to an office environment when the COVID-19 pandemic is finally behind us.
2. Create a Schedule (And Stick to It!)
One of the first mistakes new remote workers make is not creating a schedule. It’s easy to think, “I’ll get to that project later,” when you work from home because you usually don’t have a company-issued clock-in time to adhere to. But this way of thinking only leads to procrastination.
Instead, develop a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Are you a morning person? Get up early and begin your day before the sun rises. Are you a night owl? Save your work for the PM hours when you’re most productive.
As long as your schedule doesn’t violate company policy, we encourage you to create a daily plan that suits your working habits best. Then maintain it to the best of your ability.
3. Pay Attention to Your Environment
Where you work in your home can have a dramatic effect on your success as a remote worker. Create a permanent working space that’s quiet and free of distractions. For most people, this means not working at the kitchen table where you can easily be disrupted.
If it fits your workflow, set up a work-time music playlist. While everyone is different, most people work best with ambient and/or cinematic tunes, i.e. music without lyrics. This is because lyrics can be distracting and pull workers out of flow.
You might also consider getting out of the house from time to time. While we can’t recommend working at a coffee shop or coworking space at this time due to the virus, consider working at a local park (away from other people, of course) if you can — even if it’s only for half an hour or so. Your time outside will likely rejuvenate you.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
If you’re not used to a work from home arrangement and you have a family and/or roommates, it’s important to talk with them and set realistic expectations for interaction throughout the day. Let them know that constant disruptions break your concentration, lower your productivity levels, and keep you from doing your best work.
Then set specific times of the day — your lunch break, for example — to socialize and connect with the people you live with.
This rule goes for team communication apps (we’ll talk more about these in a later tip) as well. When you need to get important work done, log out of email, turn off Slack chats, whatever you need to do to ensure you aren’t interrupted.
Why is this so important? Because studies show that it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus one’s mind after an interruption.
5. Prioritize Team Communication
Communication is always important. Companies that communicate effectively are 3.5x more likely to outperform their competitors. For new remote workers, team communication may seem difficult. After all, you can’t simply stop by someone’s desk for a quick chat.
That’s why you need to prioritize communication when you work remotely. By making sure your team can reach you, updating colleagues on your progress, and working hard to craft clear, easy to understand messages, you’ll boost communication at your company, work more productively, and ensure you don’t miss a beat as you work from home.
6. Invest in the Right Technology
When it comes to crystal clear communication, technology is here to save the day! There are loads of apps that will help you stay connected to your colleagues while you work from home and avoid COVID-19. Some of the more popular ones are:
- Slack: Slack is a top communication app for many teams because of its easy to use text, voice, and video chat features. Conversations can be grouped into different channels for better organization. It also has a handy searchable history feature that enables users to quickly find information from past chats.
- Zoom: Zoom makes video conferencing a breeze. Up to 100 people can join a standard call and participate in group meetings with HD video and audio. Users also aren’t restricted to the number of meetings they host, even on Zoom’s free plan. Lastly, Zoom includes handy features like in-meeting polls and text chats, meeting recordings and transcripts, and attendee analytics.
- CleanPix: CleanPix is a digital asset management solution that allows teams to easily store, organize, locate, and distribute important brand files like company logos, videos, and images. While CleanPix isn’t a communication app, it will help your remote team share documents quickly, easily, and securely — something most communication tools won’t allow you to do. Get started today for free and check it out for yourself.
An investment in the right apps (like the three mentioned above) will make your work from home time much easier and more enjoyable.
7. Take Regular Breaks
When you create a work schedule and environment that facilitates productive work and limits distractions, it can be easy to lose track of times and work for long stretches without breaks. This generally isn’t the best way to operate because it can quickly lead to burnout.
Instead, we suggest taking regular breaks throughout the day, just like you would were you working in a traditional office environment.
A break will allow you to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, interact with a friend or family member, and otherwise enjoy your day more fully. Because of this, breaks also help improve productivity because they freshen the mind. Don’t forget to take them!
8. Set an End-of-Day Time
When your home is also your office, it may be tempting to work at all hours of the day — especially if you have colleagues in other time zones who send you messages at 11pm local time. Working non-stop is another way to burnout quickly.
When you create your work schedule, include an “end-of-day” (EOD) time. Then commit to honoring it unless you absolutely can’t. If you have to meet a deadline, feel free to work extra hours. However, once the project is done, reinstitute your EOD.
This policy will ensure your remote work arrangement is always productive and enjoyable.
9. Join a Support Group
Those who are new to remote work might miss the constant social interaction that an in-office arrangement offers. That’s why it’s so important to have a support group, i.e. a group of other remote workers who can socialize and discuss the good and bad of working from home.
If you only plan to work from home until the coronavirus scare passes, you might not need to join a dedicated remote work support group. Instead, you might just need to take time to socialize with friends via phone calls and video chats.
Whatever you decide to do, take time to engage with other humans on a regular basis. The interaction will help ward off loneliness.
10. Enjoy Yourself!
Finally, do your best to enjoy yourself as you work remotely! Working from home, or wherever you happen to be, is an amazing luxury that many people would love to have. The ability to set one’s own hours (company policies permitting), work in a more comfortable environment, and gain some level of autonomy is awesome — take advantage of it!
Make the most of your time as a remote worker. It might not last forever, and, if you’re like most people, you’ll probably miss it when it’s gone.
Work From Home Effectively
Hopefully, the novel coronavirus pandemic will get resolved quickly! But until it does, use the remote work tips we outlined in this article (listed again below for your convenience) to improve your work from home arrangement.
- Maintain Professionalism
- Create a Schedule (And Stick to It!)
- Pay attention to Your Environment
- Set Realistic Expectations
- Prioritize Team Communication
- Invest in the Right Technology
- Take Regular Breaks
- Set an End-of-Day Time
- Join a Support Group
- Enjoy Yourself!
And don’t forget about CleanPix! Our digital asset management solution will help you quickly and easily share important brand files and documents with your team — no matter where in the world they happen to be. Start your free trial today.