As the nature of work continues to evolve, companies all over the world are exploring new ways to work and technologies to facilitate this. Many white-collar workers are now used to flexibility in the workplace and enjoy the option of working from home at least some of the time. Often, workers feel like these options give them better quality of life when compared to the traditional, 9-5 office schedule. It’s also becoming more common for entire teams of workers to exist exclusively online, in a remote work setup.
Working remote can be wonderful, and it can offer the freedom and flexibility you can’t have when you must come in to the office every day. At the same time, it can present several unique challenges you may have never faced before. Those challenges can be especially difficult if you and your team are quickly transitioning to remote work, without much lead time to make the adjustment. Here are some quick tips to make your transition from the office to remote work as smooth as possible.
Try Setting Up a Home Office
While remote work doesn’t necessarily mean you need an actual office (you can work just as easily from your kitchen table), many people starting remote work find that setting up a dedicated “office space” at home helps them get more work done. Working from home can be distracting since there are more interruptions competing for your attention. To combat this, try setting aside space in a quiet corner of your house with your desk, computer, phone, and anything else you need in your office. This separate office space will not only keep you inspired, but it will help create the dividing line you need between your work life and your home life. If you can minimize distractions, you’ll be more productive in your remote work.
Create a Routine
If you’ve never worked from home and you’re accustomed to the structure and routine that comes with working in a traditional office setting, it may be difficult for you to adjust to the sudden flexibility. You can combat that overwhelming feeling by establishing a schedule for yourself—and then actually keeping to it. Just like you would in a traditional office, you should set aside a certain number of hours for your work. Once you reach that limit, consider yourself off the clock and done with work. It can be tempting to forgo a schedule and alternate work with household chores and other activities throughout the day. However, this ad-hoc strategy can backfire—you’ll probably end up being less efficient, and your work will drag on into the evening.
It can be more challenging than you think to get your work done without the structure that comes with going to a physical office and heading home at a set time. On the plus side, if you do need more flexibility in your schedule, working remotely allows you to take advantage of that. Take some time to figure out what routine will allow you to stay motivated and productive while still making room for other activities in your schedule.
One of the biggest challenges when switching to remote work is feeling disconnected and lonely. Without the built-in socialization that comes with working alongside other people, it can be difficult to make social connections. In remote work, there’s no proverbial water cooler to have conversations around, which can make connecting with your coworkers much more difficult.
Many companies who utilize remote workers are using programs like Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom to facilitate virtual meetings and conversations, but it’s important to also make time for non-work connections. Just having a chat with coworkers about their weekend plans and personal news can drive off that feeling of isolation.
Burnout and Ignoring the Benefits
When transitioning to remote work, it is not uncommon for people to feel as though they need to suddenly do more work and be the most productive they’ve ever been, now that they aren’t physically in the office. This is a big mistake, and it can easily result in burnout and dissatisfaction.
If you find yourself working from home, embrace the perks of being a remote worker! Add in a little flexibility to your schedule and allow yourself to take advantage of not being in the office. Have lunch with your family, go for a walk midday, or book an hour in the afternoon for a siesta. If you now have extra time because you don’t need to commute anymore, use that for a hobby or something fun. Be easy on yourself, especially if you’ve never worked remotely before. If you try to accomplish twice as much as you did previously, you’ll likely find yourself feeling unhappy, burned out, and tired.
Remote Work Is the Future
With more companies embracing the move to remote work, it will only continue to become more common in the future, especially as we gain new technologies to help facilitate distributed teams. Learn the new technologies now and prepare yourself for a transition to work from home. You and your company might be next to make the switch.