The virus that shall remain nameless has changed the way we work (probably forever). With self-quarantining and social distancing comes the opportunity to work from home, aka working remotely.
As a teleworker myself, I thought this adjustment would be a breeze. For my work-from-home newbies, welcome to the club–there’s wine, sweatpants, and an ungodly amount of content to binge in the back.
Whether it’s your first time working from home or not, it is a tricky transition. Let’s be real: this shit hits DIFFERENT when they’re forcing you to stay home. The way everything is panning out, it looks unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
I’m gonna give y’all some tips/best practices for working remotely (thank me later):
Before I start I wanna clear something up: telework ≠ remote work
Remember how I mentioned that I telework? Teleworking/telecommuting implies that you still come to an office and have personal interactions. Remote work means that you permanently work from home, and need to be managed and supported accordingly. Learn more about the differences.
Now, back to it:
Don’t work in your bedroom
Pretty straightforward, yeah? It sounds trivial, but taking your work outside of your bedroom helps significantly with productivity. Go downstairs into the living room, office, den, wherever and make it your workspace. You can switch it up sometimes, too, in case it gets boring.
The way I see it: refusing to work in your bedroom, a place of comfort, is setting a healthy boundary. It still gives you the chance to leave work, at work.
Let your team know when you’re unavailable
Tell your team/manager/supervisor if you have an appointment, are leaving for lunch, or anything that’ll have you away for an extended period (more than 45 min).
It doesn’t have to be an annoying email every single time. For example, if I have a doctor’s appointment, I’ll announce it in our morning meeting and update my work Skype status to say when I’m unavailable and what time I’ll be back online.
Find fun(ish) ways to engage your team members outside of work topics
Working remotely removes all of the casual water-cooler convo from your day-to-day, and social distancing can get a little weird if you live alone.
Make time to not talk about work with your colleagues, even if it’s just for 2 minutes.
Some cute and light-hearted things my company’s doing are having socially distant Happy Hours on Zoom or coming up with random non-work related fun facts to share during our meetings.
Take a shower & look presentable…on top
As much as I LOVE to lay around in my pjs, that’s not always the move while working at home.
If you take a shower before you start your day, brush your hair and put on a shirt you’d wear to the office, then you’ll be ready for any meeting they throw your way (also doesn’t hurt with productivity).
If you’re like me and find it difficult to completely ditch the cozy clothes, then wear sweatpants at the bottom. Win-win for everyone.
Keep a schedule, with breaks included
Even though you’re home, stay as close to your office work schedule as possible; don’t set a standard of 24/7 availability regardless of how late you receive emails (for your own sanity).
For instance, my typical office hours are 9 to 4:30ish Monday-Friday, so my remote availability will reflect that. One smart thing my team does while working remotely (in response to varying schedules) is to put hours in our Skype status or location field, something like “Telework from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.”
Be vigilant about sticking to your own schedule and MAKE SURE YOU EAT. Idk about yall, but it’s sadly easy for me to sit for hours without eating at home–setting reminders to eat meals or snacks throughout the day is so helpful with avoiding that.
Step outside for some fresh air
Just because we’re practicing social distance doesn’t mean we literally have to stay indoors. Make sure you find time to go outside whether it’s to go on a walk or just sit on your balcony (a walk will be better than the balcony to get you moving around).
Whatever you do, don’t stay cooped up in your house forever!
Just like any other huge transition, this is a process. Don’t trip, we’re gonna get through this together.
It’s alright if you struggle with consistency (as I do with each and every one of these things). If you make a serious effort to follow these tips while working from home, then you’ll be better for it, trust me.
Have some additional tips for folks doing remote work? Drop them in the comments below!