Remote work has many benefits. It takes away the stress of navigating life outside the typical 9-to-5 hours of traditional office-based setups — which leads to happier and more productive employees, and in turn, a healthier bottom-line for the company.
There’s a high likelihood that remote work will become the norm in the near future, as more businesses offer remote working arrangements given today’s unprecedented situation. That said, if you ever find yourself accepting a remote work setup, the tips below will help you transition smoothly to the remote lifestyle to ensure total productivity.
1. Set some ground rules
The transition to remote work isn’t easy, especially given the many distractions at home — chores, Netflix, and social media to name three. These distractions can make it hard for you to focus the way you would in an office setting, which is why they must be limited. To do this, establish some ground rules, like setting up work hours. Emphasize to everyone at home that you are not to be disturbed when you’re working. Even better, consider setting up a home office (invest in a good desk and ergonomic chair) where you can work alone.
2. Acquire the tools of the trade
Before you start, make sure you have the necessary tools to work, which can vary depending on the industry you’re in. For most people the requirements will be the same, with HP outlining in an article on the 10 best tools for remote work that the most important tool is a high-speed internet connection. And just because you might think that your home internet is fine, you should still check whether it is fast enough for work. Compared to your usual usage you will likely be downloading large files and maybe video conferencing on a regular basis, which your current plan may not be suited for. Other tools that you might need include an Office suite, backup storage, a dedicated phone line, and upgraded antivirus software for security.
3. Communicate consistently
Remote worker Kerry Hannon emphasizes the importance of communication, noting how daily meetings with your manager and peers will ensure that you are all on the same page and up-to-speed with everything related to work. Daily meetings in this case don’t necessarily have to be personal interactions. Rather, you and your team can communicate using communication tools such as Skype, Zoom, or even FaceTime.
4. Avoid burnout by sticking to your hours
Sticking to your own assigned working hours won’t be easy. In fact, it’s one of the biggest challenges identified by Medium in a post about remote work. That’s because it can be difficult to disengage from work when you know you can continue doing so. Unfortunately, working beyond your work hours is unhealthy, and can even cause burnout. The solution, again, is sticking to your schedule. As long as you focus during work hours, you’ll be able to finish your tasks for the day in time. Once finished, it’ll be easier for you to switch from work mode to rest mode.
5. Learn how to troubleshoot
The lifeblood of remote workers is their PC or laptop and their internet connection. However, things can go wrong from time to time, and the IT guys won’t be able to come to your rescue. This is why you must learn how to do some troubleshooting on your own. Among other things, you should get up to speed on how to install and update your wireless network and operating system, along with all the software you regularly use.
Making that transition from office-based work to remote work will take time. The tips above, though, will help you overcome any challenges you face. Once you’ve adjusted to the remote lifestyle, you’ll need to mix things up sometimes to break the monotony of work. You can do that with this bonus tip: Work somewhere else from time to time,such as a Starbucks. This way, you get to enjoy the freedom that comes with remote work, which could spur on your creativity.