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Tips for Working Remotely

The world seems to have hidden behind an enormous surgical mask with the constant news of coronavirus cases. However, it’s not just the people getting sick that are impacted by this pandemic. Whether you’re worried about the new virus or not, you’re probably going to be affected in some way or another. That could mean you can no longer watch an NBA game, or attend a yearly convention, or even show up to your physical workplace. I’m guessing that having to work from home is what makes everyone the most frazzled. Here are some helpful and easy tips to remember when having to work remotely.

Get Ready for Work

Something many people might forget or neglect to do when they aren’t used to working from home is to get ready for the day. You have to prepare yourself for the day as if you had to be on time to the office.

That means set an alarm to wake up. Brush your teeth, wash your face. Most importantly, get dressed. That doesn’t mean you have to get dressed in your full business attire or uniform, but it helps to be out of comfortable pajamas when having to stay focused and diligent.

Eat breakfast, too. In order to have some type of energy for the day, you’ll need to have something that will fill your stomach. You also don’t want to be going to the fridge or the pantry every half hour to get a snack just because you’re at home.

Define a Workspace

Some might say that it’s not a good idea to mix your work life with your personal life, which might include working in your bedroom. However, if you function best at the desk in your room, by all means, set up your workspace there. Just remember to stay organized.

The important principle to follow when working remotely is to stick with the workspace you have defined. At work, you don’t have the opportunity to switch cubicles or workrooms at your whim. At home, this should be no different. Switching around where you work might just decrease your productivity. The goal is to replicate the workflow you experience at your job.

Wherever you choose to work, it’s a good idea to turn off the TV and be away from entertainment. Chances are, you don’t have TV, books and your smartphone perfectly accessible at your job. Don’t surrender to the temptation at home either!

Follow Your Normal Work Schedule

Remember, you’re trying to replicate the work experience at home. So that means working for the same amount of hours and taking the same amount of breaks. Being at home or even in a coffee shop (which is where you might define your workspace, although it might not be the best idea right now) while working means you will have to have the self-discipline of working without a boss there to supervise you.

Breaks are crucial, too. If you’re sitting in front of your laptop or desktop at home for a couple of hours, you’re probably going to get fidgety. Don’t forget to take a lunch break in the afternoon and 10 minute breaks after every couple of hours or so. You’ll want to stay motivated, productive and loose. Also, if you set firmly scheduled breaks, there’s less incentive to get distracted with the wonders of being at home (e.g. TV, family, your bed, your fridge).

Stay in Contact with Coworkers

Especially if your job requires a lot of collaboration and teamwork, as many do, you’ll want to be available to coworkers. Keep your cell phone and computer notifications turned on in order to receive any important questions or comments from managers or coworkers. However, you don’t want your phone to pose as a distraction. So, if you can, configure your settings to only allow certain contacts’ notifications to reach you while you work so you don’t get unnecessarily interrupted.

Using Skype or another video chat application may be a good substitute for physical meetings. Instant messaging, texting and emails are also important to use when working remotely and your coworker isn’t right next to you to answer questions right away.

The bottom line is, when you’re at work, you’re at work, even if you’re at home (pretty paradoxical, huh?). So, don’t panic when your manager says you’re moving toward working remotely. Just make sure to get ready for the day; know what your workspace is going to be at home; follow your regular, everyday work schedule; and maintain contact with your job. Oh, and wash your hands for a good 20 seconds.

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