As technology and connectivity improve over the years, some of us have already managed to get rid of the burden of going to the office every day; even before the pandemic. Then, the Covid19 happened; many companies HAD TO take immediate measures such as transitioning to remote working to continue their operations. Those measures greatly accelerated the acceptance level of the “remote working” idea.
While this is great news for many employees across different industries, doing it right is not as easy as it sounds. There are many obstacles you need to overcome and you might not be aware of some of them. In this article, I will share some things you should be aware of while remote working, based on my experiences and observations.
Even if you had the greatest sense of responsibility while working at your office, you might face issues while trying to do the same at your home. We have separated our homes and workplaces for many years; combining them in a very small time scope might be challenging for some of us. And you are right; home is the place you rest, not work! Your sense of responsibility might temporarily vanish and you may find yourself doing “things” instead of working during work hours.
One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to adjust your environment similar to the office. Try to find a desk that you normally don’t spend time with your hobbies on it. You’ll face difficulties when trying to concentrate on your work at a place where you generally “have fun”.
Another thing that can help with improving your will to work is to complete the routines every day as if you are physically going to work. Wear your nice clothes, do your make-up, and trim your beard before sitting in front of your PC. By doing this, you will also ensure that you will not need to prepare yourself before video calls because you are already prepared.
Last week, we have shared a guide for creating a nice workspace as a remote worker; I recommend you take a look at it. Better equipment, improved comfort, and a better-looking environment can positively affect your will. Just make sure that your working environment is tidy.
Organize your day
Because of the strict timings in physical workspaces, your regular days were organized. You were getting up early to have breakfast, finding your way to the office, then eating your lunch, before saying goodbye to your colleagues at the same time every day. At home, there is nothing to force you to do so. But actually, you need to force yourself.
Having a well-timed routine during your work days is essential for your health, concentration, and performance. Avoid waking up just before the start of your work hours; force yourself to wake up earlier to drink your coffee and have your breakfast. If you had small breaks in the office, try to do the same during your work hours. Those together will greatly affect your performance.
Move your body
Sitting on a chair for long sessions is never a good thing to do. Your lower body will begin tingling or worse, it can cause muscle cramps. You should care for your muscles, bones, and circulatory system during your work hours. So, getting up from your chair frequently is a nice thing to do.
Additionally, doing so will help you stay fit if you are not a sports person since you are not burning calories while trying to go to your office. Do not be the person that sits 8 hours straight, 5 days a week. Stand up and walk in your home every hour for at least 2 or 3 minutes.
Some smartwatches have reminders that vibrate if the user sits for one hour. If you are using a smartwatch, check for this specific feature for extra help.
Interact with living beings
Yes, I am saying “Living beings” instead of “People” because your pet can be a great friend as well. One of the worst parts of remote working is the loneliness if you are not sharing your home with another “living being”. At an office, it is easy to lean to your colleague’s ear to whisper a joke or take a break for socializing during work hours. However, it is not the case if you are living alone while remote working.
One of the best solutions to overcome this issue is to have small calls with your colleagues who are not busy at that moment. Find your favorite co-worker and have a little chit-chat. But of course, you should not be doing this too much; you should balance it depending on your and your colleague’s task load.
Another way to overcome this possible issue is to have a pet. Cats and dogs are very interactable creatures as we all know, and they will greatly help you not feel lonely. Having small interaction breaks with them during work hours is a great thing to do. But keep in mind that your pet will likely distract you. Make sure that your working environment has a closeable door for when you need it, especially if it’s a hyperactive cat, like Mr. Spark.
Other things to consider
While having a tidy working environment is refreshing, doing so will also help you not be distracted during work hours. If you have left your gamepad just in front of your work laptop, you might see it and want to play Forza Horizon. Or the Silmarillion book might immediately make you want to continue reading it. Try to avoid those distractions by putting them away from your sight.
Of course, those visual distractions are not limited to physical objects. If you are using your own PC as the workstation, it already has all the distractions you can imagine. The shortcuts to Steam and many games alongside the logged-in social media and shopping accounts. The best way to avoid these distractions is to separate your working and personal accounts on the operating system by creating a new account.
Communication is everything
You should now be able to concentrate on your work during work hours and feel confident about your remote working performance. Now, the last thing you should do is end your workday at the time you are supposed to end. Avoid overtime as much as you can, like you avoid being late for your work. But this part can be tricky.
We have talked about the orientation period and methods for remote working employees this far, because it was an immediate change in our lives, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. We, as employees, are still trying to understand what is the right thing to do and what is not.
You should be aware of the fact that managers are in the same situation as well. They have their own responsibilities and some of them don’t know how to manage remote working employees. That’s why they might come up with some unexpected questions or accusations, even if you are performing at 100%.
In those scenarios, just stay calm and remind yourself that he/she might have a hard time getting used to managing remote workers. Then, tell your side of the story. He/she might or might not be convinced by your story; but in both cases, start taking notes about your whole day for a while. Did you need to call somebody? Take note. Did you need to do some research to overcome an issue found in your code? Take note.
This way, you will be well prepared for the next time (if happens) your manager comes with unexpected questions or accusations. Being able to deliver immediate answers and proof makes a huge difference when that happens.
We are currently in the middle of a cultural shift in our business life which the first half was rushed, because of the necessity of immediate action, thanks to the unexpected pandemic. Let’s just adapt to this new culture while shaping it together.