With the recent outbreak of COVID19, many of us find ourselves teleworking and spending a lot more time at home right now. Including the workdays. When we’d usually be reporting to our desks, we’re now on our couches or at our kitchen tables, trying to complete to-do lists without the built-in discipline of the office.
The expectations are the same, but the environment is not. And it’s not always an easy transition.
The key for teleworking success is to create an environment that allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. Whether you are working from home for the first time or just need a quick refresher, here are some tips for creating a functional but productive work area at home:
Find your space
Try to find yourself a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re off the clock — that means get off the couch, and definitely out of bed. Also, Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children who come home from school while you’re still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time.
Maintain your schedule
Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.
Know your company’s policy on break times and take them. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time European employees.
Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways to socialize. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests, meetups for people in the same region, and in-person retreats. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socializing, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. If you’re not at a company with a strong remote culture, you may need to be more proactive about nurturing relationships.
Working remotely requires you to even over-communicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Communicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.
The less face time we have with people, the less they know how to interpret our tone in writing. When you work remotely, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding in an undesired tone. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D. You’re going to need them.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of teleworking, make sure to check out LinkedIn free courses on how to work remotely!
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