Thanks to the pandemic, our generation got to be part of the world’s largest work experiment: remote working. While working from a home office was on the rise for nearly a decade pre-Covid, it quickly became the norm in just a matter of weeks.
Companies realized that remote work actually works. For the employee, however, it isn’t always easy to work from home. It is still work, after all. But the change in location can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your adaptability and outlook.
Let’s examine what working remotely looks like and how to do it successfully.
Working from Home
Working from a home office definitely has its perks (hello comfy lounge pants!) but also has its downsides. Take a look at any work from home articles written in the past year and you will see there is a spectrum of good, bad, and surprising consequences to remote working.
More and more, people are discovering the many upsides to working remotely. Some of these benefits include:
● Flexibility. Being able to work at your own pace, complete assignments during non-traditional work hours, as well as take breaks and days off when needed all contribute to the flexible nature of remote working.
● Financial benefits. Saving money on gas, commute time, car insurance, public transportation costs, plus on food and clothing costs is a boon to those who work from home.
● Focus. Having the space and freedom to focus on the task, free from coworker disruptions, and in-office noise can lead to better concentration. It can be easier to stay focused when you don’t have to deal with office politics or unpleasant interactions with fellow employees.
It’s only fair to talk about the drawbacks to working from home. Depending on your personality and work ethic, these can be minor inconveniences or major challenges. A few downsides include:
● Balance. Finding a balance between work and home duties can be difficult for some people. Lines can become blurred, and it is hard for some people to compartmentalize and prioritize what needs to be done and when.
● Energy. Working in isolation can be lonely. Remote workers don’t have the in-office energy and vibrancy of personal interaction with other people.
● Overworking. Because your work is always there and waiting for you, there may be a tendency for some folks to become workaholics. You may be tempted to sneak in some work hours on nights and weekends just to cross a few more things off your to-do list.
There are some unexpected pluses to working remotely. A few surprising benefits include:
● Better communication. Because communication is a priority, remote workers have found they make the effort to stay in touch. Companies have found that departmental meetings start on time and have almost one hundred percent attendance when meetings are on a video conferencing platform like Zoom versus in-person.
● Location independence. Not having to commute into the office means you can live outside a large city and further out in the suburbs where housing is more affordable. You can even make the move to a small town or another state.
● Pets. Spending more time with favorite pets has a calming effect, just ask our Chief Security Officer! When people work in a comfortable, peaceful environment it is helpful for boosting job morale, productivity, and satisfaction.
Effective Remote Work
When working from home, it’s important to establish some key things in order to remain productive and effective. Three essential areas are:
Foundational guidelines. Know what your employer expects from you. Can you set your own hours or are you tied to a 9-to-5 schedule? Are you required to work eight hours or can you stop when your tasks are done?
Functional workspace. Have the right tech equipment, fast wifi, and network access you need to complete your work. A designated private space can be accomplished with a foldable room divider and keeps your mind and body focused on work.
Minimal distractions. Disturbances like barking dogs, unsupervised children, and outside noises may require you to invest in childcare or noise-canceling headphones.
Five Tips for Remote Work Success
You can work from home successfully, whether it is full-time or a hybrid work situation. After getting clear employer expectations, being equipped with the right tools and technology, and setting up a functional home office, you are good to go, right? Almost.
Five tips to work from home more productively include:
Establish regular hours. Have a scheduled time that is considered your working hours and stick to it. Maintaining some kind of routine helps you to maintain a work-life balance, while allowing for some flexibility in scheduling.
Keep a beginning and end-of-work routine. Regular markers like taking a shower or having a cup of coffee can signal your brain that the work day is beginning. It’s important to have an end of day routine too, like turning off your computer or going for a walk, to allow your brain to disengage from work.
Take breaks. Schedule breaks into your workday and take them. Go outside, get some sunshine, have a snack, or listen to some music. You will come back to your work more refreshed, mentally and physically.
Communicate regularly. Talk with employers and bosses about any needs, training, or meetings that are coming up. Stay in touch with colleagues regarding projects, team building opportunities, or work social hours.
Set home rules. Be sure to set expectations with family regarding when you are available and when you are not. Spouses and kids need to know when to be quiet and leave you undisturbed.
With more people working from home, employers have discovered that remote workers can be as efficient and productive as they were when working in office. By incorporating a few tips and adhering to some guidelines, you can successfully work from home, too!