More and more employees are working remotely, but remote work comes with its own set of challenges. Here’s how to work remotely while maintaining your productivity, clear communication, and work/life balance.
Set Up Work Space Separate From Living Space
If you wake up in the morning, reach for your laptop, and start checking emails from bed, you’ll be in for a bit of trouble down the road. Treating your living space like work space will eventually make you feel like you’re always at work.
So, set up a space at home as dedicated work space. If you don’t have a home office, you can always turn a surface like your kitchen table into work space everyday by setting up your computer, phone, and other tools. Remove everything when you’re done and it’s no longer work space. You can also use a prop, like a candle or bobblehead. When the bobblehead’s out, you’re working. When you put it away, the space goes back to living space.
Dress for Work
Some people can wear sweatpants and get work done. Power to these people, but most of us aren’t like that. Getting a bit dressed up for work, even when you’re working remotely, can boost your productivity and help you focus. Why? Psychology. Having that little ritual in the morning helps you put on your game face, so to speak.
Set Hours (And Make Sure People Know Them)
Maybe you’re a workaholic and you know if there’s more on your to-do list, you’ll just keep at it. Or maybe you’ve let people come to expect an immediate response from you, no matter what time of day it is. Or maybe you’ve started working later and later, since there’s no reason you need to be up at the crack of dawn.
Having no set hours is the path to burn out. Figure out what hours you want to work and stick to them. Also, ensure that other members of your team know when they can expect to easily contact you and when you will be unavailable.
Track and Disseminate Accomplishments
When you work outside the office, it can sometimes be difficult for your supervisor, co-workers, or clients to know what exactly you’re up to. That’s why it’s important to let them know. Keep people informed about what you’re working on, when they can expect it to be done, and what you’ll be doing next. It’s especially important to keep your supervisor informed about what you’ve accomplished, since it’s not like they can see you working away in a cubicle every day. Document what you do and make sure people see it.
You don’t want people to feel like you’re out of reach when you work remotely. Make sure that you respond to messages in a timely manner, even if that message is, “Thanks, I’ll get to this next week.”