If there is one new routine many of us have been applying ourselves to recently, it’s working remotely.
The list of pros and cons for working remotely is constantly changing. Accompanied by seemingly endless shifts in terms of the tools being used to work, communication at work, and even finding out the actual hours you’ve worked.
But the fact of the matter is: the current reality has also provided many with first-hand experience of a previously difficult-to-obtain perk. While many continue to sing praises of the remote work revolution, there are still challenges that are rarely voiced out, such as loneliness and inability to focus.
It may be difficult to put in monetary terms, but coupled with the current global situation, the overall toll on happiness and satisfaction is important to address.
Communities focused on well-being, productivity, and happiness contribute to healthy economies. Therefore, mastering this integral part of our day-to-day lives may make all the difference.
It’s not too late to start working on building healthy habits, especially for remote work. In this article, we’re breaking down our top 4 best practices for working from home. Each best practice comes with a full breakdown on why it works and how to implement it.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Stick to a Schedule
Don’t knock routine.
Routine gets a bad rap. It can be viewed boring and come across as an inability to be spontaneous and think out of the box. However, routines and habits can help make our lives easier, minimizing the need for decision-making.
Decision fatigue is real, and can leave us not only over-tired, but also overwhelmed at how few things have been accomplished over the course of the day.
A set schedule and the added support of dedicated scheduling software can help lift this load by dictating our actions and preserving decision-making energy for the things that matter.
Besides, schedules don’t need to be limited to work schedules. Adding breaks into your schedule will help stretch your body and mind.
The team classic gaming site Solitaired, for example, started encouraging their team to take a 5-10 minute break before the end of each hour to play their solitaire games, and they found their overall remote team productivity increased.
Along with taking breaks, setting up designated self-care lunch hours gives you something to look forward to, and ensures that you are taking the time to take care of your well-being.
Don Your Battle Dress
The freedom to take Zoom calls in the comfort of your soft pajamas has long been a poster child of working from home.
However, the novelty quickly wears off: more and more, professionals are going back to dressing for success in the comforts of their own homes as they take in business calls.
A 2012 study has found that clothing can influence the wearer’s productivity. Our own preconceived notions of clothing affects us. The study cites researches wearing a doctor’s coat increased their attention.
Perhaps your work suit makes you feel more straightforward and direct, or a watch more mindful of your time and tasks.
The act itself of getting dressed for work can also bring our minds into a state ready to tackle the current day’s tasks. At the same time, getting undressed and back into your leisure clothes at the end of the day can also signal your body that it’s time to relax.
Now that’s a routine worth looking forward to!
Tinker With the Tools of Your Trade
Working can be very much like cooking: it’s best to have everything within easy reach when you start.
Taking the time to create a working environment with everything that you need in easy reach minimizes the chances of you losing your train of thought.
Your ideal working environment can be very specific to you, but look into the following things:
- Take care to choose a good office chair that helps you stay productive (too hard and it’s uncomfortable; too soft and it’s easy to end up lounging instead);
- A table with enough uncluttered space that you’re not constantly rearranging things to make room for yourself;
- Appropriate light (ideally natural light) that isn’t glaring or too soft;
- And a stable internet connection and all the tools you need to ensure uninterrupted connectivity (for office networks and the like).
- While working remotely, you should have a secure internet connection that is protected by a VPN. A VPN will enhance your online security and privacy – ensuring your business is fully protected.
Take note that the computer and applications you use are very much a part of your working environment. Your email application, your video conferencing tool, your word processors, even your network tools are all part and parcel of the ecosystem of your home office.
Connect & Communicate
The remote working environment can be a very lonely place.
Gone are the watercooler discussions and lunch break excursions; in its place, we head off to our respective kitchens and assemble our meals, logging back to work through the cold medium of a chat messaging box.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Friendly professional relationships with our co-workers help us get things done faster, promoting collaboration and accountability.
How many times has it been that a co-worker fielded a task for you, because you’ve covered for them as well in the past when they’ve needed the support?
Take the time to reach out to your colleagues regularly. Asking about someone else’s welfare also reminds us of our own well-being, too.
Look into possibly setting up simulated watercooler situations by inviting your team to scheduled breaks where anyone can pass by and spend a few minutes catching up on each other.
Moving Forward Together
It’s a great time to be discovering how to work remotely. Online tools that support a multitude of tasks abound. Resources on work productivity and well-being are plentiful. Businesses everywhere are taking the time to figure out how to best support their staff remotely.
But the heart of working remotely remains with the people that do the work. Each person can make a difference by reaching out to our colleagues as we look ahead to the future of how the world might be after our current crisis.
Doing remote work doesn’t mean living a remote life.
So, there you have it! Our top 4 best practices for working from home. If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our complete list of remote working tools next?
About the author: Uwe Dreissigacker is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.