Working remotely is a gift and a curse. For professionals with busy households, the idea of taking work home is an opportunity for disaster.
But the number of people working remotely has grown by over 91 percent in the last decade. Follow these 10 tips for working remotely to remain productive and connected to your team throughout the day.
1. Use a Surge Protector
Protect your tech while working from home. In the office, you have a dedicated department making sure your computers and office equipment remain safe in the face of a power surge.
But at home, you’ll have to take the necessary steps to make sure all your computing equipment and devices are connected to a surge protector. Surge protectors can help prevent physical damage to your computer if lightning strikes nearby.
Physical damage to a computer can be irreversible meaning your work for the day, or year could be lost if you don’t properly protect your devices from electrical threats.
2. Set Boundaries With Family
Saying ‘no’ might be hard at first, but just because family members can see you doesn’t mean you’re available. Say no to taking your sister to the airport or picking up your friend’s sick kid from school.
Protect your time by saying ‘no’ when family members ask you for help because you’re working at home. Your employer still expects you to devote company time to company activities.
3. Turn off Alerts
Your social media channels work hard to make sure you know everything your friends and family post throughout the day. To be productive working from home, you’ll have to work twice as hard to avoid social distractions.
Turn off any Facebook or Instagram notifications that come to your phone. Silence text message alerts and aim to check email only from your computer.
Hiding distractions help to keep your mind on the task at hand. Give yourself a break mid-day to check missed messages so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
4. Check-in Often
Overcommunicate with your team while working remotely. This helps everyone feel connected and avoids the chance for things to slip through the cracks.
Check-in before and after meetings to make sure your team understands its action items. Ask questions in multiple ways to make sure you understand what project expectations are to make sure you don’t waste time going down the wrong path.
Missing deadlines while working remotely can make it appear you’ve been off-task instead of that you simply misunderstood a deliverable.
5. Clean Your Workspace
As the saying goes, ‘a clean desk is a sign of a messy drawer.’ Even if you only straighten up the clutter on top of your work surface, you’ll feel more focused and alert throughout the day.
Clean up as you snack to prevent a buildup of trash and napkins in your work area. Limit the number of cups in your area by keeping a refillable water bottle on hand that keeps your beverages cold.
6. Don’t Forget to Eat
When you prepare for work in the morning, packing a lunch or planning to eat out are two easy options that allow you to maintain a tight lunch schedule. But when working from home, you can easily forget to plan out what you’re eating for the day.
Cooking a new meal each day or driving to your usual lunch destination can be time-consuming. Pack dinner leftovers in meal prep containers for easy reheating the next day.
Have premade salads or pasta dishes on hand in case you don’t cook dinner the night before or want a lighter lunch option.
7. End Your Workday
No matter whether you’re working from home or cottage country, the end of the workday can sneak up on you once you’ve gained momentum.
Start and end your workday at your usual times to avoid burnout. It may be tempting to ‘get ahead’ by working longer hours at first, but over time you’ll find that your professional like is infringing on your ability to do simple things like run errands on your off time.
8. Use a Focus Timer
Working from home with young children around can be a challenge. Instead of trying to do your workday continuously for hours on end, set up a focus timer to complete the day in bite-sized chunks.
For example, devote 45-minutes to each work session with 15-minute breaks in between. This gives you time to interact with your child as needed to prepare snacks, answer questions or deal with any problems that happen around the house.
9. Solve Conflicts by Phone
If any issues arise with your coworkers throughout the day, call to resolve the issue by phone. Emails, Slack and text messages can lead to further misunderstandings that fester when you aren’t able to speak face to face.
The best way to quickly resolve the issue and move on is to make a quick phone call to connect with your team. Follow up the conversation with an email confirming how you plan to move forward.
10. Make Time for Small Talk
Water cooler conversations are a time to make personal connections with coworkers and managers. You miss these important moments to emotionally align with your team when you work remotely.
Make time every day to check in personally to share thoughts and ideas with your team. Ask about their child’s soccer game or anniversary plans for the coming weekend.
If you have an instant messaging system through your employer, consider requesting a channel for casual updates and announcements so that everyone can feel connected while outside the office.
Tips for Working Remotely
One of the best tips for working remotely is to remember your company culture. You want to be aligned with group dynamics even if you’re alone for weeks at a time.
This means checking in with your coworkers about work and non-work related projects throughout the day. For more information and tips, check our blog for updates.