6 ways to make remote work even better
Remote working treats the workforce well. Staff are discovering all the comforting benefits of working from any convenient location, and it’s made them happier and more productive than ever. But whether you’re getting used to remote conditions, or, about to tip your toes in the water, it still comes with a lot of challenges. So, to help you, here are additional tips to improve your remote work experience.
Why is remote work so popular, anyway?
One thing before we start: you notice remote work options have exploded recently. It’s primarily as a response to the COVID pandemic. But now, workers see how great remote working actually is. Even better, it puts more decision power in the hands of the labor force. As it turns out, the company needs you, not the other way around! This has resulted in businesses giving in to labor requests and demands for at least some permanent remote work option. Some companies are ahead of the curve, others are trying (with diminishing returns) to force their staff back into the office.
But going from flexibility, freedom, zero commutes, and less stress to the strain of an office environment – surprise – isn’t a hot sell. More to the point, unfounded fears of reduced productivity have no basis. Many remote workers are better at what they do in stressless habitats.
Now, this doesn’t mean remote working is easy or lacks challenges. So, here’s what you can do to help yourself, and by proxy, your team and business!
#1 Time Management
In freelancing, you’re responsible for your times. You do have expectations for what you have to do, but ultimately, you are the primary motivator for getting things done. In remote working company environments, it’s fairly the same.
Therefore, you want to pick times you know you’re productive in. How “ready” do you feel in a traditional 9 to 5? Tired? Spending the first several hours in zombie mode? What if you did work in the afternoon when you’re rested, ready, and brimming with energy? Take advantage of remote work and find hours/shifts that work best for you.
#2 Make Money Anytime, Anywhere
Remote work doesn’t have to happen at home. Depending on the work, you can put in hours whenever you want (within the work week, of course). Sounds interesting, right?
Going somewhere for lunch? Grab your laptop and clock in some time, if you feel like it. Or, at a library, or maybe while on travel. The point is, remember the key word is remote. You can do all sorts of things with that, and you should.
#3 Breaks, Use Them
Less stress increases productivity, that’s just facts. A de-stressed mind has an easier time focusing, functioning, and performing. Breaks, therefore, are a part of that. And in a remote environment, take advantage! Refresh yourself, get a snack, go outside, whatever you need to wind down. As long as you’re getting the job done, you deserve a break. And you won’t need permission every five minutes either!
Remember those days where you’re constantly counting down to lunch? In remote working environments, those days are long gone (and tips to enterprise leads, do you see why remote options are so popular?).
You can also eat while working. That’s not recommended for cleanliness reasons, but if you have a task to crunch on, you can bring your food with you without breaking for extended periods of time.
While I’ve emphasized the control and flexibility remote work offers, keep in mind, you do need to communicate (and you should). Checking in with staff to ask them about hour changes is still part of the job, as is anything else. You can’t “stop and drop” a workday (unless, for some reason, the job really is that lax).
But keeping management and staff members up to date with what you’re doing is imperative. One of the big weaknesses in remote work is communication difficulty. So, for instance, just let someone know what you’re working on. Do you need to step about? Let the appropriate parties know. Communicate more, not less, because remote work is not an office.
#5 Remember that Mental Health
I’ve worked remotely for 8 years now, mainly as a freelancer. I also am not much a social butterfly. I prefer the company of a few friends and even then it’s a rare thing. In other words, I’m a crusty hermit but I like it that way. However, that doesn’t mean you should be. More to the point, distance and isolation from social contacts is ruinous on mental health after a long period.
Practice good mental health strategies. Talk to your other remote workers, even for a little while. Arrange a quick get-together with friends if you can. I mention this, because, remote work lends to isolation, and few people, I think, deal well with that after a long time.
#6 Keep the Net Backed Up
One major fault line with remote working is its reliance on data connectivity. Without the internet, you can’t access your work, upload files, and talk with teammates. Downtime is sometimes unavoidable on your end.
Therefore, backup internet options are critical to have in the event of unintended downtime. Easier said than done, of course, but it can help. For example, a wifi hotspot using mobile data is a potential access point.
That’s not all the tips I’ve got for better remote working, with more to come. In the meantime, grab this handful to improve your remote work environment!