Spurred by COVID-19, Facebook, Shopify, and Twitter all recently announced that they will allow their employees to work from home indefinitely—and there’s a good chance that many other organizations in a wide range of industries will adopt similar policies. But if you’ve spent most of your career working in an office, how can you prepare to make what most assumed would be a temporary work situation into the new normal?
Setting yourself up for success requires not only new best practices but also a mindset shift. Read on for strategies on how to approach remote work in a more permanent way and perfect your results.
Commit Yourself to Remote Work
When companies first mandated having all employees work remotely due to safety issues related to the global pandemic, few expected their home office to turn into their forever workplace. But with the coronavirus still at large across the country and world, returning to the office is no longer the no-brainer it once was. Having noticed the effectiveness of their teams while working from home, many companies have decided to reap the cost savings and productivity benefits of remote work.
If your organization is among those that have extended their timelines for work-from-home arrangements or created new work-from-home policies, it’s important to begin preparing yourself and your workspace for permanency. For example, if you’ve been getting by working at the kitchen table or sofa, figuring you’d only be set up there for a month or two, then it’s time to make some upgrades that reflect a more formal commitment to remote working.
Invest in Your Comfort and Productivity
Occasionally working from home in short stints is one thing, but doing your job day after day from your domestic digs is a whole different ballgame. While you may have gotten by without having an ergonomic desk setup or the proper tools and apps when your primary place to work was still in the office, now you’ll need to be sure that you have everything you need to make your WHF experience both comfortable and productive.
This means thinking through your workday from start to finish and seeing what you need to recreate the type of work environment that you previously enjoyed in your company’s offices. For starters, consider the following questions about where you’ll work, how you’ll work, and what you’ll work with:
- Do you have a designated area to claim as your workspace—one that’s only for you and that you can reliably return to day after day?
- Do you have a proper ergonomic setup for your desk, computer, keyboard, and mouse?
- Are you equipped with the applications you need for video conferencing and virtual meetings so that you can easily connect with colleagues, clients, and vendors?
- Are there tools that you relied on in the office that you need access to at home to do your best work?
If your answer to any of the questions above was “No,” then consider making an investment in getting the tools and equipment you need to maximize your remote work success. Begin by asking your employer what remote work tools and resources they provide to virtual employees. Then, if there’s something essential to your WFH experience that your company doesn’t pay for, think about whether you might want to splurge for it yourself, recognizing that it’s a career investment.
Make Healthy Eating, Exercise, and Breaks a Priority
Office-based work generally makes it much easier to get your own needs met when it comes to taking breaks to refuel and get up from your desk. Simply needing to go to an office outside the home creates a natural segue from your personal life to your professional one, and most office workers have no trouble stepping away from their desks to take their designated lunch break.
But a work-from-home arrangement means that both your personal tasks and work for your employer must get done from your house, and many remote workers struggle to step away from their boss’s to-do list or pause from answering a constant stream of coworker emails. No one is there to remind you to have a snack, drink some water, or do some stretches instead of sitting for eight hours straight in your home office, so you need to remind yourself to do these things. If it helps, schedule daily breaks, lunch and snack times, and time to workout or go for a walk in your calendar rather than leaving these critical recharge sessions to chance.
Think About How to Get Your Social Needs Met
Working in company offices generally comes with built-in social opportunities. But working from home—particularly during a global pandemic when many businesses may still be closed in your area—can leave you feeling isolated if you don’t have a plan. If your workday currently consists of staying solo at your computer, see if you can schedule a daily video chat or call with a colleague or friend outside the office to exchange news and avoid disconnection.
Commit to the New Normal
Gearing up for a whole new way of working has many challenges—but you can also reap the rewards.
Want more tips on successfully working remotely?
By Robin Madell | September 17, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely
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