Working Remotely? Here’s Some Advice
Verus Metrology Partners has adapted a remote culture for many years now. Recognising the benefits of working remotely to both the organisation and its employees, the company also understands the need to be adaptable when travelling for business. Having the opportunity to access your work outside the physical office is vital when operating on a global scale.
The benefits of working remotely for your team are obvious – no commute to work, a better work-life balance and it promotes employee well-being. Yet as with most benefits, we can also experience a new set of challenges.
The recent increase in remote working has prompted a significant change in the global workforce. Many people now find themselves working from home for the first time. Although working remotely seems like the ultimate luxury, most professionals forget about one crucial element: productivity.
Our Business Development Manager Tracey Flynn has worked remotely across different parts of the world, including her home office for almost two years.
“Working from home is great but turning your home into an office can be difficult at the best of times. It can be hard to separate work and home life when they both occur in the same place”.
In order to get the best tips, we sought her advice on staying productive while working remotely. Here are some of her top tips:
Create a Dedicated Workspace
While a home office is optimal, realistically a desk and a place to sit will do the trick. Having a dedicated workspace in your home will subconsciously help you to switch to operation-mode. Ensure you have all the tools close to hand to successfully complete your day. This will eliminate the ‘around the house wander’ which only makes us susceptible to distractions. We now find ourselves in a position where there may be more than one person based from home including children who are now off school. The visible boundaries of a desk help the people you share the space with understand you are at work and disruptions need to be kept to a minimum. Overall, the most important aspect of a work-station is the ability to walk away from it at the end of the day and appreciate where work ends and family life begins.
Use Software to Stay Connected
It is extremely important to have access to all the systems and information you would normally have at the office. A cloud-based structure that fulfills your organisation’s needs is very valuable. Just make sure you have the authorisation and logins needed to access the shared systems. Short-term remote working can offer an exclusive opportunity to focus on individual tasks or projects. Yet on a long-term basis, it can also make you feel cut off from the larger operation. Find a tool for day-to-day communication that can make it easier to check in with co-workers. Create an environment that allows for collaboration. This will help remind you of how your work is contributing to the overall organisation goals.
“With the right set of software and attitude; remote workers can enhance both their productivity and teamwork”.
Keep Your Normal Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. Having a solid work routine is necessary for high productivity and essential to keep you motivated when working from home. Fight the urge to work in your pyjamas. Even though no one can see you, it’s important to remember you are at work. Dressing appropriately will help you start your day and get you in the right frame of mind. Having a consistent start and finish time will also help you to adjust to working outside the office. Most importantly however, remember to take regularly scheduled breaks. Use this time to get away from your desk. Let the people you share the space with visibly see that you are now open to distractions and go outside for fresh air and time to relax.
Make a To-Do List
Having a clear task list set out for the week can help you to keep motivated and stay on track. Start with creating a master list of your overall responsibilities, then break each task down into weekly and daily objectives. Putting your to-do list in a shared planner with your team creates visibility and accountability. This ensures everyone is on the same page at all times. With this method, you can be sure that your overall departmental goals will be reached, no matter your location.
Exploit Your Most Productive Time
Schedule your tasks for when you’re at your most productive. It’s human nature that your levels of motivation will increase or decrease at certain points of the day. Avoid guilt, accept it’s inevitable and instead, plan your most challenging tasks for when you know you’ll be most motivated. Use slower points of the day to complete the easier, mundane tasks. Optimise them as a means to get you back in the zone and work your way up to the bigger tasks.
Schedule Team Meetings
Schedule short weekly meetings to check-in and update your team on news and developments. Having these touchpoints are vital for engagement and overall team morale. Using video calls for these meetings will maximise interaction with your co-workers. Keep these meetings brief and light-hearted or they may have an adverse effect becoming another tick-box exercise and lose impact.
Fight the Urge to Multitask
When remotely working, it can be easier than you think to get distracted. Regular breaks are recommended but don’t use this as a time to complete chores around the house. Preparation is more important than ever to ensure you don’t get side-tracked. Acknowledge the pet peeves you have around your home and tackle them the previous night or before you begin working. Start your workday knowing the dishwasher is empty or your bed has been made. Trying to work through this urge to multitask can be near impossible for some people, so get ahead of them. Similarly, if you normally prepare your lunch beforehand, continue the meal prep so you don’t get preoccupied in the kitchen. It’s all about preparation.
Find a Buddy
Overall remember you are not alone, both in your organisation or in this current pandemic we find ourselves facing. Source a work buddy and share non-work relate chats throughout the week. Share jokes, funny memes or virtual coffee breaks and try to lift each other’s spirits. We all need to support each other and surround ourselves in positivity.