During these unprecedented times, remote employment has increased significantly and is expected to remain in practice for many businesses.
Working from home can be an adjustment, and for those who will be continuing this work style for months to come, it is important to find a strategy that works best for them.
To help with this transition, we’ve put together a few simple tips for being a successful remote employee.
1. Use an Effective Communication System
When you are working in a traditional office setting, it is easy to go over to your coworker’s desk to ask them a question or host a quick meeting. With remote employment, team communication can be more difficult to manage.
That is why it is important to find ways to stay in touch with your team even virtually to ensure deadlines are met and everyone is in sync.
Thanks to programs such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, there are a variety of technology options available to help you stay connected with your teams. Scheduling weekly meetings and virtual check-ins can help you stay organized with team members and inform management of any issues that arise or win to be celebrated.
These advancements have been influential to many companies as they navigate remote employment.
2. Remove Distractions
Your productivity will likely be challenged more when working from home. With more distractions in a home environment, it is hard to always stay focused.
One way to manage this is to remove all distractions. For example, try leaving your phone in a different room and try not to work in the same room you sleep in. It can be tempting to want to rest during the day when a bed is nearby, which can contribute to a decrease in your productivity levels.
Working in your bedroom can also affect your sleep patterns. When your brain begins to associate work with your bedroom, it can be hard to disconnect from your work when it is time to sleep.
For those with children, it can be particularly challenging to avoid distractions. Especially when children are also completing school virtually.
To manage this, try to create a schedule that works for both of you. This might include designated times when the focus is placed on their work and times when you need them to play independently so you can attend meetings or focus on specific tasks.
Communication with both your family and your employer is important during this transition.
3. Develop a Productive Work Space
If working from home is likely to be a more permanent structure in your future, consider how your current workspace is best serving you. If you are mostly working from your couch or your dining room table, it could be time to designate a more productive space in your home to work from.
Clearing out or remodeling a space in your home can make a big difference in your productivity. Simple upgrades like purchasing a desk, a comfortable chair, and installing decent lighting can help elevate this space to one that will work well for you.
Thankfully, there are many affordable options available to help you furnish the area. Second-hand stores, yard sales, and online marketplaces can provide you with great deals on lightly used furniture. Many retailers have also been offering regular discounts on these items knowing that there is a need for them.
For some individuals, there may not be enough space in their home to renovate or even place a desk in. Others might be using this time as an opportunity to move to a new city they’ve always wanted to live in while working remotely for their current company.
If either of these applies to you, you may be considering purchasing a new home that will better fit your needs or is in your desired location.
Using an option such as a federally insured mortgage can help you get into a new home without any added stress. With options like this, more individuals have the opportunity to purchase a home that has more space for an office without having to put a large payment down.
4. Ask Your Employer About Your Remote Employee Benefits
With the recognition of more remote workforces, many employers have adopted specific remote employee benefit programs.
Not all employees are aware of these benefits, but they can be invaluable to you, your family, and your success at the company. These benefits may include stipends for home office supplies and equipment, subsidized insurance programs, or wellness initiatives.
These benefits ensure that you receive similar opportunities as your in-office coworkers do. Some employers may even send occasional gift certificates or reimbursements for food or drinks to help employees stay engaged and happy throughout the day.
Ask your employer if they offer any training and development initiatives that are centered around remote work strategies as well. Some employers have begun these programs as ways to work and grow together as a team.
They might be centered around areas such as technology, business practices, or other aspects such as skill development. These training sessions can help further your success as a remote employee.
5. Create a Schedule that Works
As a remote employee, a schedule can be extremely useful for staying on track and making sure that you meet deadlines on time. Effective time management skills are important for productivity.
Either at the end of one day or in the morning, sit down and make a to-do list of every task that you need to complete for that day. Schedule out how long it will take you to complete these tasks, which ones are top priorities, and how you plan to complete them around other obligations.
Using task management systems can also help with your workflow. These digital tools help you stay organized and will even send you reminders for deadlines that are approaching. There are a variety of tools available to choose from, all of which can deliver value to you when working from home.
6. Take Regular Breaks As a Remote Employee
Sitting in one place for too long and focusing on the same task for hours can be counterproductive to your work mentality. It is important to take regular breaks throughout the day as a remote employee.
There are many ways to help you break up your day. For example, you might choose to stand up and stretch once an hour, take your dog for a walk, or do a quick at-home workout. All of these activities are good for your posture, mental health, and cognitive function.
Sometimes taking a break can be helpful for your creativity too. When you are struggling to focus on one task for too long, a short break can help you spark your brain, giving you a fresh new perspective on the task.
It is important to take care of yourself when working from home so that you can perform at your best. When you are not at your best mentally, it can be hard to prioritize work. Putting yourself first is beneficial for a variety of reasons, but neglecting self-care can start to cause adverse side effects in several areas of your life, including work.
Working full time as a remote employee can be challenging, but it can also be an exciting opportunity. Use your resources to your advantage and remember to make the most of your time by being as efficient and organized as possible.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.