Working remotely comes naturally to some. Others, not so much. If you’re accustomed to going to the office each day and can’t seem to stay productive during the coronavirus lock-down, here are a few tips and tricks to working remotely to help you make it through.
Keep a Schedule
Experts agree that keeping a regular bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends, are essential components to good sleep hygiene. This practice regulates your body’s internal clock, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Also, as tempting as it is to linger over coffee in the morning and let your workday drag into the evening, don’t. Set regular working hours, just like going to the office, and stick to them.
Have a Separate Work Area
Not everyone has a spare room to set up a remote office. If you do, use it. If you don’t, find a quiet corner where interruptions will be few. Erect a privacy screen. Physical boundaries tell the rest of your family that you’re working. And when the workday is done, that physical boundary separates your personal life from your work.
If you don’t have a door to close, or a screen to put up, have some other physical sign that work is in progress. Wear a hat or put earbuds in to let your family know you’re not to be disturbed. Turn off your computer at the end of the day as a sign to you that work is done, reducing the temptation to answer emails after dinner.
Dress for Success
You may be more comfortable working in your pajamas, but you won’t be as productive. Pajamas or other casual clothes like yoga pants tell your brain it’s time to relax. When wearing non-work attire, you’ll spend your energy trying to motivate yourself all day rather than getting work done. Shower, dress, and do your usual grooming to tell your brain it’s “game on.”
Replace Your Commute with a Routine
Your morning commute is another signal to your brain to get into work mode. Replace that with another routine, like a walk around the block. The same goes for the afternoon. Giving your brain a signal to begin and end work helps you to maintain work/life balance by putting a little distance between the two.
Use Virtual Tools Like a Pro
Setting up a remote workstation will involve using virtual tools. Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Forward your office phone to your cell phone. Change your voicemail to match.
- Download the calendar app you use at the office to your home computer and phone.
- Turn on your phone’s notifications to alert you of important events when you’re away from your desk.
- Turn on your phone’s notifications for your professional social media and email accounts so you never miss a message.
- Upgrade your internet service, if necessary.
- Use Zoom, or another video conferencing platform, to speak with customers and co-workers.
When working remotely, video conferencing will be the lifeblood of your operations. Remember, having face-to-face conversations results in fewer misunderstandings. To prevent connectivity problems, when you have a video call, make sure the rest of the family isn’t using your Wi-Fi for streaming or gaming. Position your monitor at eye level, raising a laptop on books if necessary. And, check behind you. You don’t want glare from a nearby window or a floor full of Legos in the background.
Of all the things to cause stress while working remotely from home, most people struggle with technology and the work-family balance. When the unforeseen happens, like your Wi-Fi crashes or a child interrupts a conference call, don’t worry. Remember we’re all in this together.