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Best Practices for Working Remotely

Remote work may seem like a simple, inexpensive way of doing your job, but in reality, it can create a certain disconnect and communication barriers for an employer. Many companies are hesitant to allow their workers to conduct business outside the confines of the office in fear of a fall in productivity and time theft. Although some employees have the capabilities and work ethic to thrive while working from the comfort of their own homes, some may take advantage of the privilege. If you or your business is considering the installment of remote work, there are many things to consider. How often should remote work be allowed? Should some or all employees be able to telecommute? What are the best practices a business should teach those beginning to work remotely?

First and foremost, many managers have come to the consensus to only allow tenured, trustworthy workers to perform day-to-day operations where they choose. You also have to remember that those who haven’t worked from home in the past may find it difficult to transition or excel in this style of work. Getting started may be a challenge, but with the support of co-workers, managers, and job training conducted beforehand, dedicated and enthusiastic employees will undoubtedly thrive in this role. You can share these tips with your employees to enable a smooth transition from the office to the couch.    

Create a Routine

One of the first things to establish once you’ve begun working remotely on a regular or permanent basis is your day-to-day routine. Getting into a rhythm while on your own can be the hardest part of staying productive each and every day. Plan a set time to get started each day, along with a short break once every 60-90 minutes in order to give your mind a rest. Try to not stray from this schedule as much as possible, as this can get you off task quickly, making it difficult to get refocused and to accomplish tasks in a timely fashion. It may also help to set personal deadlines for yourself to continually be proactive while also meeting or exceeding company and project expectations.

Stay Organized

Keeping not only your work but also your workspace organized is essential to being a successful remote employee. Using a weekly, or even daily calendar can help keep all your deadlines, meetings, and important events condensed into one place. You should also consider utilizing a notebook or a list of everything you accomplish on a weekly basis. This will come in handy when you have performance reviews or client calls to report on progress. Some companies will also offer software to remote employees to help stay organized as well as simplify repetitive tasks in order to save time. This advanced tech has the capability to help process orders, manage accounting practices, and automate various back-end business functions. Be as concise as possible to ensure you always meet due dates and are as efficient as possible within your job’s scope, despite being without the supervision of a manager.

Stay in Touch Regularly

Once you’ve become a remote worker, getting frequent updates from your supervisor and reaching out to give progress updates will be important. Set aside time each week for a call with your manager and/or team to keep aligned with planning and any long-term goals that are set within the office. Many companies use a unified communications system such as Zoom or 8x8 to ensure all company correspondence is done through a single outlet. Video conferencing allows for face-to-face interactions that limit the ambiguity of phone calls. Utilize this form of contact whenever possible.

Eliminate Distractions

When setting up your workspace, make sure that it’s in an isolated area of your house or apartment. Avoiding distractions such as television, household chores, and even pets will help you be more productive throughout the day. Find the place where you feel relaxed and comfortable, but one that won’t interfere with you accomplishing your necessary tasks at the same time. Listening to music while you work, as well as taking short breaks once an hour will help keep your mind relaxed while giving you the opportunity to step away from work to finish small projects around the house. Make the best of your work hours as if you were still in the office, avoiding any outside influences that may stand in your way.