More people are turning to remote work. While it is an excellent option for some workers, others struggle to maintain productivity and a positive mindset. If you find yourself in that latter group, don't despair. Try working these tips into your work-from-home set up so you can get what needs to be done in a more efficient and timely manner.
1. Get Set Up With the Right Equipment
Let's face it, you can't get anything done if you aren't set up for success. The right office equipment is critical, even if your office is outdoors. Tough laptops ensure that even the most rugged conditions can't stop you from getting the job done. If you have a more traditional office, consider a laptop for portability. You can now get the same functionality and power from a laptop that was once reserved for bulkier desktop models. Invest in a heavy-duty shredder to ensure that confidentiality and privacy policies remain intact in your remote office.
Your equipment goes beyond hardware. Look for software options that make working easier. Project management and scheduling tools like Asana and Slack can help you stay on track with work and connect with others in your company without having to meet face to face. Also, find a file-sharing solution that works for you. Many businesses are turning to G Suite for this purpose, so it's worth brushing up on your skills in that area.
2. Set and Stick With a Work Schedule
There are so many ways a work-from-home schedule can go wrong. Family members might see you as more accessible and make demands on your time. A lack of physical barriers if you are working from a public area fosters this misconception. Establish a work schedule and stick by it. Let everyone else in the house know about your schedule and why it is important for you to adhere to it. Keep it posted near wherever you work the most, whether that is a home office, your bedroom or a workstation in the corner of the dining room.
Another common problem is the desire to prove that you are, in fact, working while at home. This can lead to burnout as you struggle to do more and more. Practice setting limits on how much extra work you take on. There are perfectly polite ways to decline that side project without upsetting the company apple cart.
3. Limit Outside Distractions
Even when your family is on board and cooperating with your restrictions, it can still be difficult to turn off the thoughts that pop into your head. While you may be used to this in an office setting, it can become more problematic at home where you are close enough to get up and do something about them. A few tips that many remote workers have found helpful include:
- Prioritize your workload and focus on the most critical tasks first
- Write down a "To-do" list for each day
- Turn off notifications on your cell phone and computer
- Take short breaks every hour or so to stretch and regroup
4. Know When To Ask for Help
Just because you are working remotely does not mean you have to do everything on your own. Your co-workers are only a call or email away. Turn to them for help if you get overwhelmed or have a question. It is far better to ask for help before things become unbearable than it is to explain why you fell behind. Request a team meeting if it's appropriate for your situation. Virtual conferencing apps make it easy for everyone to connect from wherever they happen to be.