More and more people are finding themselves working remotely from home nowadays. Working remotely can be more productive, especially if workers devote their normal commute times to their work instead. This is true for both technical and nontechnical roles.
1. Buy the Best Equipment you can Afford
An ergonomic chair/desk setup is key to being comfortable. Experiment with a standing desk or a ball chair if you want to include getting a workout in while working from home. Make sure your office has a door so you can shut yourself off from the rest of the world as well. Tell your spouse, your kids, and your neighbors that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you are available to them. Pets should also be closed out of the office as well. No distractions.
2. Establish a Routine
Give yourself a routine, based on how you work best. I broke my day into two-hour swatches where I would complete tasks such as email, return phone calls, project work, etc. and revisit them every two hours. By getting into a routine, when you are interrupted by unscheduled activities, you know exactly where to pick up where you left off.
3. Work Offline to Increase Focus
If your company is using group messaging to stay in touch, the constant bells and whistles can be annoying if you’re trying to concentrate. For times when you need to focus solely on the task at hand, block your calendar off with a “meeting” and then set an away message to “in a meeting” and turn off the notifications for your messaging client. That way, it will be clear to coworkers that you are working, without being available to them from moment to moment. I don’t recommend setting any meeting for longer than an hour, but you could do it multiple times as day as on as you stay in touch between focus periods.
4. Be Yourself
Do you. One of the advantages of working remotely is that no corporate overlord is looking over your shoulder. Work in a way that makes you the most productive. Focus on the work at hand and meet (or exceed) your commitments. Unless you are on video chats, who cares if you are most comfortable in your pajamas?
5. Get Up and Move
To mitigate the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle, experts recommend simply standing up once every 20 minutes. Stand up and stretch, get a cup of coffee, and return to work. This increases blood flow to your brain and helps keep you alert (with or without the coffee).
6. Begin the Day With a Team Call
If possible, start your day with a team call where you set the day’s priorities and share any challenges that may need solving. Even if you’re not in a position to lead the team in this way, use the buddy system to call one teammate and check-in. That small bit of interaction does a lot for your morale when you’re working completely remotely.
7. Use Group Messaging
Keep a group chat open in your company’s messaging app. An active conversation can also serve to log what’s going on in the team, and allows easy access for questions. Make sure it doesn’t become “social hour” however. You’re still working after all, but having contact with all the members of the team can be very helpful.
8. Experiment to Find What Works for You
Everyone is different and ultimately, you’ll need to experiment a bit to see what works best for you. Music is a good example. Some people prefer to work in complete silence, while others may blast their tunes at earsplitting levels (just not while on a conference call, OK?).
9. Good Telephony is Important
The nature of your work may also dictate certain aspects of your remote routine. How much time you spend on conference calls will dictate how much you should spend on the proper telephony devices. There’s nothing worse than horrible phone sound quality when you’re in meetings 60% of your day.
Whether you’re working alone or with a team, working remotely can be very rewarding. We are often at our best when we are in surroundings where we are most comfortable. By keeping these tips in mind, you can create a comfortable environment no matter where you are working from (even the office).