Remote Working has become quite common in the past decade –
But it is not always going to be sunshine, beaches and whiling away on the hammock when it comes to remote working. While you are given the freedom of choosing the way you go about your work, not setting limits and following certain etiquette will snowball into other problems & challenges –
- Poor communication,
- Poor performance,
- Not able to meet deadlines, and
- Unnecessary stress.
So it helps to keep in mind that working remotely is still work nonetheless. Moreover, these challenges can be avoided by following certain dos and don’ts while remote working to make it more manageable.
Let’s start with the Dos of working remotely.
Set a Fixed Location
You should set a fixed work location – a standard workbench in a relatively quiet corner with plenty of natural light will work wonders. This not only provides you with a fixed workspace with all your equipment in one place but when set properly, can also help you maintain proper body posture while working. This is often overlooked when it comes to remote working and goes a long way in providing comfortable work experience.
Remote working lets you work from any place you wish as long as you get your work done on time. But for the most, lying on your sofa or sitting in the public and going about your office work is not advisable since not all have the concentration of a saint.
Follow a Routine
Follow your normal office hours – in case you had worked at a firm before – or try setting particular hours of the day when you feel the most productive as your work hours. Work hours usually get thrown out the window when it comes to remote working. While this might work for a few, it soon becomes harder to be productive with your irregular work hours.
Learn to manage your time when working remotely or when working from home. The beauty of remote working is that it allows you to experiment with your work hours, location and it is up to you to find a comfortable combination that works the best.
For those working remotely or working from home or a co-working space, make sure you politely inform your family, friends and colleagues about your work hours and not to disturb you unless it’s for something of importance. If you’re separated by a door, it is advisable to put up a “Working. Please Do Not Disturb” sign or doorknob tag on it.
This would be the first thing that you should do, even before you set up shop if possible. The reason for the emphasis on setting boundaries is to have a distraction-free work environment. In case you’ve got kids around, they will generally be curious and instead of shutting them out, you can explain to them about what you do and even show your work routine when free and tell them not to distract you while you’re working.
Follow Up on your Progress
You must make it a habit to keep in touch with your team, company and colleagues while working remotely. This gets overlooked easily since there is no observing figure for you to instantly report to, leading to irregular communication between you, your team and company.
Instead, set aside a small portion – may be at the end – of your work hours to relay your progress to your team and maintain regular communication in general. This doesn’t have to be daily, but make sure it does not, in any way, hinder work progress. If possible, it would be even better if the whole team or company can follow the same timings for catching up on everybody’s progress. See what fits for the situation you’re in and set one accordingly.
Always manage to take breaks when working remotely. You can follow the 20-20-20 rule – take a break every 20-minutes and look at any object at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
The beauty of remote working is that it allows you to intersperse your routine with as many breaks as you wish – whenever you want – as long as it doesn’t disrupt your work-flow. But make sure to take regular breaks, and this applies everywhere – when working remotely or while at your office.
Working remotely and working from home generally means that you have no set schedules and you have to make additions to your routine to include breaks at proper intervals. This helps, in the long run, to make work that much more manageable.
Have a Backup Plan
Always have a backup plan for everything that you require or utilize for work. Make sure you have a backup in case your broadband gets disconnected – having mobile data for temporarily using mobile hotspot will come to help you at times when you least expect it to.
Got guests at your place? Make sure you have access to a place like the public library or another workspace that is more secluded to continue working even when the situation around you doesn’t pan to your advantage.
Maintain Personal Hygiene, Grooming & Neat Workspace
Make sure you maintain your hygiene and be presentable. When remotely working, you’re mostly going to connect and communicate with your team, company or clients over a video call. So, make sure you keep yourself presentable – you don’t have to wear your work uniform – wearing something understated, clean and neat is more than enough. Also, make sure your workspace is clean and neat. Make sure it is free of litter and looks clean.
Following these helps in a long way to drastically improving your remote working experience.
Let’s look at the don’ts of remote working.
Don’t multi-task between Personal Chores and Work
When working remotely, keep your chores aside from your work as much as possible. This will help on multiple levels – not only will doing so help you focus on the work at hand, but also helping in reduce your stress and pressure that comes with juggling between different tasks.
Don’t Use Social Media during Work Hours
Make sure you keep your social media presence to the minimum while working and especially during remote working hours. This is a no-brainer since your family, colleagues and higher-ups will notice it.
Don’t Have Your Workplace in the Public
Avoid having your workplace in a common area or the public unless you are sure you can handle the constant interruptions or distractions. There’s no stopping you from going about your work while sitting on a park bench or dining room – it boils down to what you’re comfortable with – but be ready to handle the interruptions to your workflow.
Don’t Think of Remote Working as a Day Off
Working remotely can lead you to while your time away from doing things that don’t exactly fall under “work”. So make sure you don’t fix it in your mind that working remotely is the same as receiving paid holidays. While you do get a lot of extra time on your hands, but make sure you work when you have to.
One way for easing this mentality would be by asking for reduced work hours with flexible breaks interspersed in between so that you acclimate to the new environment better.
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