WFH Toolkit: How to be Productive Working Remotely
Long before Coronavirus was in any country, working remotely had been steadily on the rise with increasing numbers of employees spending some or all of their work hours working from home. Whether employees were seeking more flexible work hours, being primary caregivers for family members, or simply trying to achieve better work life balance, remote work has been an answer for many employee needs.
As we begin to look at the impact Covid-19 on the workforce, a lot of data has been collected on the impact it’s had on the remote workforce especially. According to statistics, 17% of full time U.S. employees worked from home 5 days or more a week before the pandemic. However, due to lockdowns and quarantine procedures, that number swelled to 44%. Now that many companies have seen that they can make it work, the number of workers working remotely is sure to stay higher than before the pandemic.
The tech world was certainly not immune from the rising numbers of people working remotely. Like so many others, many companies are not only encouraging but mandating that all employees work from home, now being commonly referred to as WFH. Communities around the country are complying with CDC recommendations like social distancing. At Clevyr, our team is utilizing digital portals and intranet tools to transition to #WFH life.
Whether you’re “flattening the curve” or part of a company’s new direction, working from home sounds like a dream. Relaxing mornings, sweatpants or pajamas, and a flexible schedule is enough to make the setup ideal for most people.
However, don’t let the comfort of your home life lure you into false confidence. Remote work isn’t necessarily as relaxing as staying home in your sweatpants might sound. Remote work requires planning, scheduling and creating structure that isn’t built into your living room like it is in your office. In fact, working at home often requires more effort to stay productive than a traditional work environment and has many asking how to be productive working remotely.
Good news: We have a few tips and tricks up our sleeve to help you thrive while you figure out your new working arrangement
Having a standard morning routine is essential. Sure, it’s great to roll out of bed in your designated pajamas and flip open your laptop, but that doesn’t necessarily tell your brain and your body that it’s work time and therefore time to focus. Sticking to a set routine not only helps to keep you refreshed but also consistent.
To take it a step further, make creating to-do lists part of this morning routine. List all the work tasks you need or want to accomplish that day and put that list somewhere you can see it. This will help you from veering off task when the inevitable distractions at home happen.
Set a Schedule
If your hours are flexible and not designated by your employer, be sure to create a schedule of your “work hours.” They don’t have to be the traditional 9-5, but they should allow for virtual meetings, deadlines and other demands of your work. Once you set them, stick to them, and try not to fill your work hours with personal appointments or long lunches. If you prefer to do your work in chunks of time, make sure you are giving yourself chunks of time that are long enough to reach your maximum productivity in that chunk.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Sitting on the sofa may seem like a good idea, but a designated workspace allows you to set limits and boundaries — this is best when you have a roommate, children, or partner at home. Also, it might seem tempting to set up at the local coffee shop. After all, they have wifi and an endless supply of coffee. But having a designated home office creates a space for you to stay focused and stay productive. Make sure your location has plenty of space to work, plenty of light to work by and is free of unnecessary distractions that may keep you from getting to your work or might keep you from having a professional video call when you’re trying to stay connected to your team members.
Even at home, you need to take frequent breaks. Whether that is a moment to do some dishes, hop on the treadmill for a few, check updates on your social media, or eat your lunch in peace and quiet, giving your brain and body a breather can help you be more productive when that break is over.
Remember when you were in school and the disappointment you felt when you had to stay indoors during recess? Being an adult shouldn’t be that different, and you probably don’t enjoy feeling cooped up inside all day. However, remote employees cut out the time they are outside and commuting to the office or your lunch break errands. Make sure you designate a few minutes at least every day to enjoy the sunshine, get some fresh air, or just enjoy the changing of the seasons.
Music versus Television
Music playing in the background, for many, increases focus and mood. So, go ahead and crank up the tunes if you need a little background noise to focus. Be warned, though: Television as background noise tends to create more distraction than focus. It can suck you in and keep you from checking off those items on your to-do list. Bottom line: Stick to classical music and stay away from Netflix during your designated working hours.
This has a double meaning for us: technical connection and social connection. On the technical side, make sure your internet Wi-Fi is at a capable speed to allow you to work without interruption. Some internet providers are offering new services as COVID-19 disrupts life for students, workers, families, businesses, and communities.
On the social side, staying productive as a remote worker can also mean unintentional isolation as you navigate no longer having a cubicle culture to interact with. Be more intentional about connecting with people through Zoom or other video conferencing software. Meet someone else working remotely during your lunch break for a quick chat and cup of coffee. While working in the quiet of your own home might be nice, make sure to seek out the company of others once in a while, too, to help you stay feeling connected.
We encourage everyone to follow the CDC and WHO recommendations regarding preventative measures to fight against the spread of COVID-19. We remain focused on the health and safety of our employees and the community, which is why creating the Clevyr Cares #Coronavirus Dashboard was a top priority. The dashboard sources information directly from the John Hopkins University data. Use our digital tool to find resources and Coronavirus case information locally and globally.
Clevyr builds cutting edge, scalable technology software solutions including artificial intelligence for IT operations, digital twinning, predictive analytics, and cognitive computing - plus much more! Check us out at clevyr.com or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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