Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are now remote working, blurring the lines between personal home lives and professional careers. As technology has caught up with the demand and desires of our modern lives, we are faced with a new kind of working culture.
However, in order for remote working to remain as effective as office working, a few key things are needed from those involved. Managers must maintain that company culture, keeping employees connected, setting deadlines and also remaining available to listen to any problems or concerns. After all, the ‘my door is always open’ approach changes slightly when there is no physical door.
The employees also have a clear responsibility to draw their own line in the sand between their professional and personal lives, especially considering both are being conducted from the same space. They must make every effort to be able and available to enjoy both.
We wanted to take the time to set out the fundamental boxes that every remote worker must tick in order to maintain that work/home balance:
Define Your Workspace – We appreciate that you are no longer in the office and your workspace may not be as easily defined, especially is space is at a premium in your home. However, in order to continue to work effectively from your home, you need a few things. The basics include stable Wi-Fi, a good laptop/computer, the necessary software, a well-lit space that you can call your work area. It is also key to be able to remove as many distractions as possible.
Find Your Working Routine – Routine is important! That means no getting up two hours late and lounging around in your PJs. Of course, you are not required to don your usual office attire, but at least get dressed! You have to maintain a professional attitude in order to remain efficient. Using anything and everything as a distraction to procrastinate from work will not do. Think to yourself, would you do it in the office. If not, then don’t do it.
Breaks – Breaks are essential when it comes to work, especially when dealing with screens. When at the office, it is likely that you take regular breaks to make a cup of tea, get a glass of water, have lunch, etc. When remote working, breaks feel far more deliberate so it can help to set up a schedule. For example, a set time when you have a tea break. Leave all screens behind to give your eyes a rest. Fresh air is also a great way to keep the brain feeling refreshed.
Contact – You are no longer mere feet away from your colleagues and superiors and it can feel lonely. Therefore, you should take every step to stay in contact with colleagues/friends. There are a plethora of different online tools available, from Zoom to Microsoft Teams to keep you connected with people. Video conferencing is particularly powerful, not only to get work done, but also to feel connected to other human beings. Just be sure to stay focused and engaged when in these meetings.
Clock-off Time – You should have a clearly-defined end of the day in order to ensure that work and home life do not become blurred. Once the working day is over, you should remove yourself from that space and that frame of mind. Pick a time and stick to it. Put your laptop away, stop checking your emails and do not reply to work-related texts until the next working day. You can also create signals or automated emails to send out, informing people that you have clocked off for the day. If you live with a family/friends, let them know once you are officially back in home-mode.