Companies recognize the cost savings from reducing overhead expenses such as office space, equipment, and utilities. That makes it likely that remote or hybrid work is here to stay, at least for some positions. Geographic limits to recruiting the best talent are virtually non-existent with this model. That means work-from-anywhere opportunities will continue to increase. Many professionals started the pandemic already accustomed to working from home, and others adapted to a new way of work quickly. However, some struggled from the beginning and may continue to do so.
How can you remain connected, productive, and on-task when working from home?
Carve Out A Space
Lying on your couch in front of the television with a laptop propped on your midsection is fine when you’re spending half an hour checking your email after dinner. Not when you’re putting in eight or more solid daily work hours. Dedicate a room to your work if you can. Section off a workspace if a separate office is not realistic. Find a way to “close shop” at the end of the day by moving a screen, pulling a curtain, or closing your laptop.
Update Your Equipment
Be sure you have a good-sized desk and an ergonomic chair. Upgrade your technology if necessary. Adding memory to your PC is a simple do-it-yourself project that will improve performance and help you get more done in less time. Increasing broadband bandwidth can prevent Zoom glitches. Adding a second monitor can increase efficiency. Check with your employer to see if they cover any of these improvements or will supply equipment. Speak to your accountant to determine if any of your furnishings or equipment is tax-deductible.
Create Good Work Habits
Without the structure of an office place, you’ll need to build a framework of your own to stay on track. Here are a few tips from veteran remote workers.
Establish work hours.
One of the dangers of working from home is being “always-on” if your manager doesn’t require a specific start and end time. Some remote workers choose 8-5 with an hour break, while others might work around their children’s schedules, working in the early morning or after bedtime. If you have complete flexibility, work your most productive hours. Don’t forget to take breaks. Unless you are on-call, try not to check email or other communication venues when you are off the clock.
Start with a plan.
Begin your day with a limited number of must-dos and focus on completing them before moving to optional or non-urgent tasks. It’s easy to get caught up with busywork that feels significant even though it is not. Your boss won’t be impressed you got to inbox zero if the report due today is late.
Have a work buddy.
Working from home can be isolating. Be sure there is someone you can check in with daily to share frustrations, brag about accomplishments, or bounce ideas off. Many natural quick chats you had while refilling your coffee cup are gone in a remote work environment. It’s up to you to create your own.
Try binge productivity.
This practice has many names, such as the Pomodoro Technique, but the premise is that you set a timer for focused work, then take a break when you’re done. Some experts recommend working in 90-minute chunks, but you’re the only one who knows your attention span and optimal productivity. Not everyone can focus for an hour and a half, but to some, Pomodoro’s 25-minute sprint may feel like too short a time to get into a flow state. Experiment with different times to see what works best for you.
Looking for a remote job? Want to return to the office?
Either way, we can help. At The Panther Group, our recruiting team has built relationships with a wide range of employers. Whether you prefer to work from home or are ready to get back to the office, we can help you find the right opportunity. When you are ready to take the next step, contact us!
Call 855-899-JOBS (5627)