Working With the world population at an estimated 7.9 billion, close to 5 billion people have to work or study from home. With these figures, you would think that the world economy, as a result, would collapse, and rightfully so. Numerous economic analysts are in fact in agreement that we are heading into one of the worst economic contractions in human history, only comparable to the Great Depression in the 1920s and the aftermath of World War II – unless we adapt to this situation.
And adapt most of us have, as working from home has been the saving grace of so many businesses, not to mention entire economies from a total shutdown. Moreover, if done right, working from home cannot just save companies, but allow them to profit. With operating expenses lessened because offices and shops are closed, companies can actually make themselves fiscally strong. Thus, with remote work looking like it’s going to be the norm, how can we maximize it to make it work for our companies? What are the best practices in remote work that will exploit it to its full potential?
Establish a routine
When you go to work, you have a routine that you have established for the days, months, or years you have worked in your company. You get up, commute to work, arrive in the office on time, turn on your laptop, review your emails, have your coffee, get your meeting, have your lunch, do a lot of work, then go home. The same should go with your work from home arrangement. By establishing a routine of what you should do at a certain time, everyone’s (including yours) expectations are set, you get on the grove at work easier and faster every day, and you develop good habits that make your work more streamlined, simpler, and easier.
As remote workers, our “commute” is often only a couple of steps from bedroom to office – there’s no travel time to signal to the brain that work is beginning and ending. That means it can sometimes be hard to get into “work mode” for the day and also out of it at the end of the day.
Have a dedicated work space
As much as possible, you need to have a separate area (with desk and chair) for where you will work remotely. Don’t make it a habit to work from your bed or in an area where you do other activities like watching TV or have your meals. Having a separate area to work puts you in the right frame of mind when it’s time to work and removes you from distractions (i.e., family members who are also under quarantine) and other tempting activities you’d rather do aside from work (because everybody knows a Netflix marathon is way better than working, right?).
If you operate an automotive paint shop, then chances are your workspace will be the garage or a freestanding shop out back. If you operate a dental practice from home, then your workspace will probably be a portion of your home used for a waiting room, a treatment room, and an office. In other words, workspace requirements will vary depending on the business you choose to operate.
Make sure you practice self-care
Along with establishing a routine for work, you should also allocate an amount of time for self-care. These are troubled times and practicing self-care after you get your work done will allow you to maintain your sanity. Make sure you have time for some physical activity like yoga or a home workout; quiet me time for some meditation, scrapbooking or journal writing; and a bit of grooming with a lockdown pedicure, manicure, or facial!
In normal circumstances, remote workers are actually happier than their in-office counterparts. Now, on the other hand, many people share the common feelings that they’re stuck at home and unable to concentrate on their tasks.
Maintain clear communication with your colleagues
Nothing destroys the momentum of remote teamwork when somebody suddenly goes missing and doesn’t answer instant messages or emails. Conspiracy theories arise, suspicions surface, and soon enough some team members will voice out that some missing people may just be slacking. Thus, it is important to always relay any issues and difficulties to your colleagues and supervisors. We are all experiencing this crisis together, so telling everyone you’ll be logging off to fix internet connectivity issues or 10 minutes to go off the grid and calm your mental state will be easily understood.
“Communication is really the foundation of good remote work,” says Brie Weiler Reynolds, a career development manager and career coach at FlexJobs, a job listings site. “It helps you stay on the same page as your teammates and supervisors, and with the added pressure of the unique situation we find ourselves in, communication will help keep teams productive and cohesive.”
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