Adapting to remote working
Before the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, I worked from the office throughout my career of ten years. This is not the case for many in our industry who have long relished the convenience of remote working. But in my case it has taken some getting used to, as I am still working remotely for the forseeable future. But when I return to the office, I will still make use of my home owrking space for my own individual projects. I am going to share some tips for how I managed to adapt to working remotely to set up a home working space and routine to maximise my productivity and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
1. Set up a proper remote working area in your home
Some people are happy to work from their bed, the living room sofa or dining table. If you can work productively in this way – excellent! Otherwise it’s a good idea to set up a small area or your home as a working space. Also, if you are working from your bed or sofa that may cause problems long term for your posture so it is a good idea to use a separate working space even if you can concentrate when working that way. If you do not already have one, I would also invest in a small desk for this. Your company can usually expense this for you.
2. Dress for work (even when remote working)
I know this is not true for everyone. But I personally cannot work productively if I am in my pyjamas or loungewear. To ensure I have a productive day I wake up at the time I would when I previously would commute into the office and go about my usual morning schedule of dressing for work. I do honestly believe this subconsciously gets me in the frame of mind to work and be productive. This may also work for others who have trouble getting “in-the-zone” at the start of the day.
3. Ensure you still take breaks and lunch
If you’re like me it can be difficult to remember that it is still important to take proper breaks when working from home – but I have got into the habit of doing this as I would in the office. Also during your break, ensure that you actually get away from your desk and if possible – avoid any screens! This could mean taking a walk outside, reading a book or any other non-digital focused activity away from your workspace. On a similar note, also ensure you still take your annual leave as you are entitled to. Even as a remote worker you are still entitled to time off.
4. Decorate your remote working space
I have always felt that I am most productive when I personalise my workspace no matter where I am working. For me this means having some trinkets and sentimental items on my desk, for others this could mean having pictures of family and friends, choosing some unique items of stationery or anything else that adds a personal touch to your workspace. If the workspace you have chosen for home is quite bland and does not have a personal touch, I would recommend adding some – it will make you feel much more comfortable working from that space.
5. Keep in contact with your colleagues
When working remotely it is important for both your own mental health and productivity to keep in contact with your colleagues. This could mean regular “meetings” via conference call throughout a project and Slack (or other IM) conversations. But it could also mean occasional social calls unrelated to work. If you do not keep in regular contact with your colleagues it could lead you off course and make you feel isolated from your team.
6. Set daily tasks and goals to complete in a set time
It is important to structure your day when working remotely to keep yourself productive, engaged throughout the day and working efficiently to minimise overtime. One way to do this is to set tasks aside to complete each day. Obviously this will not always be possible and it takes practice to become more accurate in your estimations but over time you will find that this helps you to organise your time while working remotely for maximising your output and minimising the need to work overtime. I had problems initially with maximising my output to minimise overtime but this helped.
Here are just seven simple ideas for ways in which you can improve your remote working experience. There are undoubtedly many others. Please share them below in the comments and share this blog post.