Years before the pandemic occurred, remote working was a growing professional phenomenon. As technology gradually developed, it began to allow for many tasks to be performed and managed easily and efficiently from an individual’s computer, meaning that the cost of keeping these staff members in a central and often costly location was becoming negligible. There was a general favour from those who began working from home as they saw greater flexibility and independence, one that, surprisingly to some, is believed to increase overall productivity.
Many businesses, however, remained resilient to engage in remote working. Then, during the initial COVID lockdown, they no longer had an alternative option and were forced to embrace a remote workforce or cease business operation. Almost all of them chose to allow staff to work from home, hosting meetings online, sharing files in the cloud, and working on documents in collaborative software. Now, as restrictions are lifted and businesses are able to once again reopen their physical sites, some are choosing not to.
If you are one of the many now find themselves in a remote working position, you might be feeling excited that you no longer need to commute or that you can reduce you lunchtime meal spending. And, though there are many benefits to remote working, without the proper preparation and standards, you may find yourself longing for a return to the office.
Here are the basics on working from home in a professional way, everything that you need to know before making a decision.
Establish a Working Space
Remote working doesn’t mean putting your feet up, nor does it mean managing spreadsheets from your bed. Those that do try and perform their role from the kitchen table or while wrapped up in a duvet tend to find themselves burning out quickly. This is because the separation of professional space and a person is paramount.
If you are going to work from home, you need a home office. A place without distractions, strong internet, and one that allows you to close the door at the end of the day. Some are converting spare rooms, others attics, and a few are even buying a log cabin to work privately in their garden. Regardless of your choice, setting up a personal office is the most important factor for your work.
Without being able to visit a coworker’s desk, you’ll find yourself having to chase them up via email or message instead. Despite the instantaneous reach of messaging services, as well as their abundance, communication can still be a hindrance and it becomes frustrating when a team member is unreachable or unresponsive.
Be sure to manage your communications well, responding courteously and promptly. It will ensure that your team stays better connected and that frustrations are kept to a minimum.
Unusually, despite working in largely personal space, when employees begin working from home they actually work, on average, more hours than they would at the office. One reason people believe that this habit occurs is because employees are unable to switch their professional mindset off.
If your professional life, reaching you through your laptop or phone, works its way into your home without control, you may find yourself answering emails before bed or chasing projects and products while eating your breakfast. To maintain a healthy work-life balance and your enthusiasm for the role, be sure to set strict limits on your professional time, separating it from your personal time.
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