10 Tips To Help You Make The Most of Working Remotely
Just as I was beginning to settle into a new job and getting the hang of office life, COVID-19 came in.
Like me, many of you may currently be transitioning into working at home while trying to balance kids, family, managing your home and social distancing! It can quickly become an overwhelming challenge - especially in the understandable likelihood you weren't prepared beforehand! If all of this sounds familiar: take a deep breath and check out these 10 tips to help you make the most of working remotely during the pandemic.
1. Take time to set up an at-home work space
You don't have to have a fancy home office to manage remote work successfully - but I do highly recommend designating a space in your home that's just for work! If you can, invest in a low-cost desk and office chair to help you make the most of that space. Amazon currently has options available for under $100. Need them shipped quickly? Click here and here to check out some options.
2. Discuss your work schedule and demands with family members
Working remotely is not made any easier by the fact that your entire family is likely at home with you at the same time. Depending on your desk set up, it might be impossible to keep the background clear of any distractions. If things feel a bit chaotic, take some time to meet with your family members about working remotely. Discuss which rooms each family member can "reserve" as their work space if possible and have open conversations about noise levels and interruptions. My fiancé and I are currently using a small sign to signify to each other when we're in meetings so that we know not to interrupt.
3. Stick to your normal work schedule and morning routine.
You're not commuting or meeting important clients/coworkers/bosses in person, but your morning routine did a lot more for you than just dressing you up! Do yourself the favor of waking up at the same time in the morning and getting ready as if you'll be heading to work. While you might opt for more comfortable clothing you'll still feel a bit more prepared to start your day vs. rolling out of bed. Not to mention, when it's time to transition back to the office you won't need to adjust to waking up early!
Everyone communicates differently and that includes email and messenger! Be sure to re-read emails and text conversations between you and your coworkers. Communicate often about what you're working on and don't be afraid to have quick zoom chats with your teammates to make sure you're all on the same page. It's also important to communicate when you'll be taking breaks!
5. Take your regular lunch break
Speaking of breaks, make sure you take them! Working at home can keep us in a state of comfort. Which means you might not notice that you haven't taken a break, eaten, or used the rest room in some time because you've been caught up in work. Be sure to take the lunch break you normally would if you were at the office. Leave your work space, get some food, go outside.
6. Mind your posture
It's easy to get comfortable at home, but getting too comfortable might mean you're slouching all day or sitting in an uncomfortable position and putting unnecessary strain on your body. While working, make sure you're sitting up right and that your laptop/computer is at a height that allows your to bend your elbows while typing.
On a Zoom call? Prop your laptop up with some books to make sure that your camera is at eye level. This helps you to avoid back or neck strain (and keeps you perfectly framed in the camera for meetings.)
7. Take advantage of online tech and sharing drives
Switching to remote systems that aren't normally used can be a bit clunky - so be sure to ask your job what options you have for online technology and sharing drives. Avoid saving a ton of company work to your personal computer and be sure that any networks or technology you're using for work are secure. If you're having a difficult time because you don't have access to the software you normally use, be sure to look up possible online alternatives that can help you do things like sign PDF documents, compress files, and more.
8. Decompress daily
Just because you're working remotely doesn't mean your work day doesn't end. Although many of us may use our personal computers for both work and "play" it might be time to set some boundaries. Be sure to log off and shut down at the end of your day, walk away from your work space and decompress! You might want to move your daily walk or meditation session to the afternoon as a way to do this - or talk with your family about doing something fun together at the end of everyone's day!
9. Do what you can - when you can.
It's okay to feel overwhelmed right now and to have a difficult time adjusting. Nothing about what's happening right now is normal - and the vast majority of the world is experiencing it at the same time. Just because you're at home doesn't mean you have to clean your entire home every day, cook three meals, and be Captain America at work at the same time. You are still working a full time job, and working remotely doesn't change that. Be patient with yourself, your family members, and your coworkers. Give yourself breathing room to do what you can, when you can.
10. Don't be afraid to take time off
If you have paid leave: use it. Don't be afraid to take a day or a few hours off if you need them. Working remotely does not negate the fact that all of us need a break from our busy work schedules. If you become ill and have to use sick time, use it. If you just need a day to get yourself together, use it. Don't feel guilty about taking a break just because everyone is at home right now.
No matter what happens throughout this pandemic: know that you are a capable and resourceful human being! You're doing your absolute best right now. Don't be afraid to give yourself time to adjust to this very new dynamic.
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