7 Tips on how to successfully work remotely
Oct. 27, 2020
It’s no secret that this year has been a testing year on all fronts of our waking lives, leading us to ‘get out of our comfort zones’ and learn to adapt in vastly changing times. Subsequently, most employees have had to work remotely to some capacity (if not fully remotely), and we’ve all had to learn how to improve our work-life balance while finding new ways to still be as efficient as before in our professional lives.
Needless to say, today you do not need to be tech-savvy to adjust to the digital world. The key to surviving and succeeding in this world is to make sure you’re prepared with the necessary online tools, mindset, and time management skills.
Below is a list of tips to help you thrive in a digital workforce:
1. Make sure you have a strong internet connection
This may seem like a no-brainer, but possibly the first thing you need to make sure you have when working remotely is a strong internet connection. This will help ensure you’re always accessible to your colleagues, therefore able to carry out your daily tasks and duties without interruption. Depending on your household and the number of devices you have connected to your WIFI, you may need to upgrade your internet package so you have a fast and reliable connection.
Just as in the traditional work environment, it’s important to collaborate with your co-workers and management, and poor internet connection may hinder that. Luckily, most service providers provide affordable internet bundle packages that will cater to your needs without breaking your bank balance.
2. Invest in good office furniture and computer equipment
Following some basic, yet essential ergonomics tips can improve your efficiency, reduce fatigue and strain to your back and neck, and facilitate proper posture. That’s why it’s important to invest in comfortable and adjustable furniture just as much as it is to have reliable computer equipment and updated software to complete your home office setup.
When working an eight-hour day or more, maintaining proper posture while sitting is crucial, not only for immediate benefits but for long-term damage you may cause to your back if you do not adopt the correct seating posture with adequate lower back support. Adjustable chairs and tables are a must-have to help ease pressure and body discomfort while working.
What often goes overlooked is the importance of taking care of your eyes. Protect your eyes from digital eye strain with an anti-blue light screen protector for your laptop or display monitor and you’ll disrupt the chances of sleep deprivation, fatigue, and risk of macular degeneration.
3. Have a dedicated workspace
Apart from helping you curb unnecessary distractions from the TV, social media, or dare I say: your kids, having a dedicated workspace is necessary to help improve productivity and creativity. Usually, when you go to the office it’s easier to get into ‘work-mode’ since you’re in an environment that induces productivity, but when working from home, you have to put in a little more effort to stay focused and motivated. Avoid working from your bed, the couch, or anywhere else that may lead to inattentiveness and interruptions to the work at hand.
Working remotely is a benefit that requires both accountability and responsibility as an employee, so creating an environment that promotes efficiencygoes a long way. Even if you don’t have the luxury of having an actual office at home you can still dedicate a certain ‘work-zone’ (preferably close to a window so you can enjoy the benefits of fresh air and natural light) in a quiet part of your home.
4. Take breaks
Don’t be hesitant to take breaks during the day. Taking regular short breaks will help keep your productivity at a high as well as help you feel constantly recharged and engaged. These could include short breaks to meditate for 5-10 minutes, having coffee, stretching, or simply just walking around to increase your blood circulation. Incorporate the 20-20-20 rule into your schedule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes by looking at things at least 20 feet away.
You can set reminders on your phone to help you remember to get up and walk. You can even get creative and strategic in your approach and place certain equipment (like the printer for instance) in another room to necessitate getting up and walking.
5. Keep learning and improving your skills.
Continuously upgrading your knowledge and skills will not only help keep you relevant in your respective field but will also help you map out your career progression. In an ever-changing job market and surplus in demand for remote work, you need to be marketable to progress. The more skilled and experienced you are, the wider your opportunities and growth prospects.
There are amazing free online learning materials you can take advantage of, or find reasonably affordable online courses. Even reading books on self-improvement, motivation, and success will help to keep you driven and inspired.
6. Engage with colleagues and maintain positive professional relationships
One of the downsides of working remotely is that you lose the benefits of building rapport with colleagues and your managers, which can result in life-long and beneficial professional connections.
You spend 8 hours of the day working, so it’s important to have healthy relations with the people you work with so that you feel level-headed and motivated to work. Something as simple as a good morning message to using professional and friendly jargon to communicate will help facilitate solid and positive relationships.
Be proactive and participate actively in meetings, after-work activities (provided you’re protecting yourself and others by social distancing and wearing a mask), and any other engagement activities offered. Be mindful to respect each other's diversities but also know when to not distract your co-workers as you must always maintain a professional demeanor. This will help to build trust, mutual respect, and open communication amongst each other, and bring about teamwork.
7. Disconnect and know when to ‘call it a day’
Time is valuable, and so are you! In order to be the best employee you can be, you need to learn to take care of yourself and your health, including your mental health. In a cut-throat work environment where we’re constantly being graded on our performance, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and work to an excess.
Follow a strict work schedule but know when it’s time to ‘switch off’ and relax. If you find yourself unable to disconnect, practice managing your time better throughout the day so you’re able to finish your work on time. This will help reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep.
Working overtime is necessary in certain cases, but downfall into the trap where you don’t give yourself (and your family and loved ones) the time to live and enjoy your life. Remember, the most productive employees are the ones who are well-rested and feel motivated to work.