If you’re new to remote work, you may feel nervous about making a sudden transition from your cubicle to your dining room table. However, a growing number of employees are thriving in these flexible arrangements, and you can learn from their example.
Remote work has increased by 140% since 2005, and about 4.3 million Americans work from home at least 50% of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Studies also suggest that remote workers are just as happy, engaged, and productive as those who commute daily.
As of April 2020, due to precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers in these statistics have greatly increased.
If you’ve suddenly transitioned to remote work, you may be in for a nice surprise. You can do your job without going to the office each day. Try these tips for adapting to remote work in a hurry.
Developing New Routines
Think about what you’ll miss about working at your old office. You may be able to replicate those experiences while enjoying a more flexible schedule.
Follow these tips to develop successful new routines:
1. Create a workspace. Set up a designated area for professional activities. It could be an entire room or a desk behind your living room sofa.
2. Manage your time. Working at home can lead to excessive overtime. Establish a regular starting and quitting time. Take frequent breaks. Schedule demanding tasks for the hours when you’re most productive.
3. Dress up. You’ll probably feel more alert and professional if you change out of your pajamas. At a minimum, check your appearance before any video calls.
4. Limit distractions. Many remote workers report fewer interruptions with no coworkers around. Still, you probably need to let your family and friends know when you’re occupied.
Communicating with Your Team
Most remote workers discover that they need to communicate more when their coworkers are no longer down the hall. Avoid misunderstandings by figuring out how you’ll stay in touch.
Use these strategies:
1. Check in daily. Share updates each day at least initially. That way you can clarify expectations and coordinate deliverables.
2. Be social. What about birthday parties and chatting in the break room? Find other ways to connect, like Slack channels and instant messaging systems.
3. Meet virtually. Continue getting together one-on-one and as a group. When possible, use video so you can feel like you’re in the same room.
4. Respond promptly. Let others know the most effective ways to reach you and your usual response time. It’s natural to feel more stressed about delays when your coworkers aren’t as visible.
5. Share feedback. Help each other out. Welcome constructive criticism and offer useful suggestions. Remember that others are dealing with major changes too.
1. Read your manual. Your employee manual may already have policies that are relevant for your new working conditions. For example, will your employer provide devices and pay for internet time?
2. Move around. Working from home can promote a healthier lifestyle. Stretching and exercising during your breaks will keep you fit and boost your work performance. If you’re tempted to snack, choose nutritious foods like vegetables and nuts.
3. Leverage technology. Explore digital tools that will make your work more satisfying. That might include apps and other software for meetings, sharing documents, and brainstorming, as well as online games you can play together.
4. Apply ergonomics. Keep your posture and comfort in mind as you set up your home office. Maybe you’ll need a larger monitor you can connect to your laptop or an adjustable chair with lumbar support.
5. Accept uncertainty. Your performance may decline a little while you’re making changes and learning different approaches. Try to maintain balance and ask for help when you need it.
Be patient and flexible as you adapt to new situations. Eventually, you may find that you prefer working at home at least part time, and your remote working skills will come in handy for the rest of your career.