October 8th, 2020 in Productivity
With the current pandemic, remote work has become more common. Offices remain closed or open at a limited capacity. While working from home seems easy, there are some tricks and tips you should follow to maximize your working capacity. The key is to try and mimic the office environment within the comforts of your own home.
A dedicated workspace is important for promoting productivity. Not everyone has access to a spare room to convert into a home office, however. Avoid working in frequented areas, such as living rooms and kitchens. Also, avoid areas that are primed with distractions, such as televisions and gaming systems. The more you can isolate yourself, remove distractions, and create an “office” feel, the more productive you will be.
If possible, carve out a temporary workspace on the dining room table. Alternatively, place a small table in a bedroom to use as a temporary desk. Have your computer, laptop, or tablet charger within reach. Also have your phone charger close by.
Make sure to have all your office supplies, such as notepads and pens, beside you so that you do not have to search for them during a meeting or call. If you have to clean up your workspace at the end of the workday, place all the supplies in a bin or box for convenience. Keep your workspace organized even if it is temporary. Use an agenda to keep track of due dates, meetings, and any other important dates. If you do not have access to a whiteboard, and you want something more predominant than an agenda, attach a calendar to the fridge.
It is difficult to find a solitary space with partners, children, and other housemates all within the house. Having a dedicated workspace will help you feel more organized. Use headphones to reduce some of the background noise. If you need to do a meeting or a call, try your best to isolate yourself in your bedroom, in the basement, or even outside if the weather permits it.
While not everyone doing remote work will work standard business hours, you should avoid communicating with coworkers outside of your predetermined working hours. With instant communication methods, it is easy to be tempted to answer emails and messages at all hours of the day. Constantly being in touch with work will make you feel burned out. Working from home makes you more susceptible to these fallouts.
For example, say you keep your working communication hours between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Do not answer your work communications before 9:00am and after 5:00pm. Since you are not commuting to and from an office, you need to impose that start of day and end of day at home. Inform coworkers of these hours. When you receive a work communication outside of those hours, remind yourself that you can reply to it later. You need to ensure that you have a work-life balance for remote work to be effective.
One of the most difficult things about doing remote work is having a communications and file sharing plan. Emails and cloud-based storage are the most common ways to communicate and file share with your coworkers. However, these are not the only options. Using a virtual workspace will allow you to communicate, file share, and organize tasks all within one platform.
Make sure that everyone is on the same page. Where will files be shared? How will meetings be scheduled? What tools will you all use to communicate? Figuring out the answers to these questions will make your remote work experience that much smoother. When you work from home you can no longer talk and show things to coworkers in person. You and your coworkers have to figure out a system that allows you all to collaborate on files together.
It is not a stretch to say that remote work will increasingly become the new normal. Creating a dedicated workspace, maintaining working communication hours, and having a communications and file sharing plan in place will make you more productive. You need to bring some of the office mentality into the home while still enjoying the comforts of home.