As the snap lockdown hits South Australia and many other parts of the country, many of you will be forced to work from home. This can be a struggle but there are some tricks to the trade to make it a better experience
Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. What about office equipment, career development, training opportunities, and building relationships with colleagues?
Working remotely, especially when working from home most of the time, means figuring out these issues and others.
1. Create a Morning and Knock-Off Routine
Deciding you'll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another.
A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day. These can be as simple as brewing a cup of coffee and getting dressed. Find a process that you can easily do each morning before you sit down at your desk.
In the same vien, have a routine for when you finish work. This would normally be as simple as the drive home and changing into comfy clothes, but seeing you no longer travel home, it's hard to have that routine that symbolises the end of the workday.
It might be a sign-off on a business messaging app or an evening dog walk (restrictions permitting). Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do.
2. Maintain Regular Hours
Set a schedule and stick to it...as much as you can. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance.
That said, one of the best benefits of remote work is flexibility, when the job allows for it. Sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else's time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.
3. Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space when you work.
For example, if you have children who are home from school while you're still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. If you share a space with another adult who's working from home, you may have to negotiate quiet times, meeting times, and any shared equipment, like desks and chairs.
4. Schedule Breaks and FULLY TAKE THEM
If you work for an organisation, know the policy on break times and take them. If you're self-employed, give yourself reasonable time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone.
Take your usual lunch break and 2x10 minutes break if you are working over 6 hour days. For computer-based work and other sedentary work, it's important to stand up and move to get your blood circulating every so often, at least once an hour.
It also helps to move your eyes off screen regularly, even if it's a micro-break of 10-20 seconds.
5. Keep a Dedicated Office Space
Not everyone has a spare room to use as an office in their home or the money to have separate work and personal computers. Instead, dedicate a desk or table space and some peripherals that will be used only for work.
For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it's work time. When it's on your lap, that's personal time.
You may want to go as far as partitioning your hard drive and creating a separate user account for work. Making even small points of differentiation between work time and personal time helps your brain know when you're off the clock, and that contributes to better work-life balance.
6. Socialise and COMMUNICATE
Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Keep in contact through proper work channels so you don't lose sight of a more regular working environment.
Communication is key when you are separated from your colleagues. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. Don't assume they'll remember.
7. Be Positive
Reading tone in written messages is really difficult in all-remote settings. The less face time you have with people, the more an intentionally concise message can come off as terse and short-tempered.
In remote work settings, everyone must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you're being overly positive, gushy even. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a dick. It's unfortunate but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji. You're going to need them
8. Take Advantage of Being at Home!
Bake a loaf of bread, put on that extra load of washing. Do things you might not get time to do. Things that take a lot of hands-on time, but you need to be there.
Working remotely comes with unique perks. Take advantage of them. You deserve it
Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other remote workers who are in the same boat. Stay safe and be happy. Good luck working from home!
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