To be a successful remote worker, you need to be aware of risks and challenges that could disrupt your working performance.
Struggles of Working From Home and How To Overcome Them
Working from home has many benefits but it also comes with challenges that could hamper your productivity.
Although you no longer have to set the alarm for 6 a.m., but all this freedom can cost you unless you have a proper structure in place. Without a routine, you can sleep in, procrastinate and easily end up not doing anything. Some people love the thought of working in their pajamas, but in reality, it’s a terrible idea because our minds connect this outfit with sleep.
Set an alarm, dress and groom professionally to enter the right mindset. Hygienic benefits aside, showering and feeling clean improves most people’s professionalism and performance. The power of clothes on our psychology has been scientifically termed as “enclothed cognition”. Take scheduled breaks so you remember to move and get the circulation going as sitting is the new smoking.
If you have other members in your household, interruptions are bound to happen. Even if you live alone, your TV and Netflix are a source of temptation and there is always a chore that needs taking care of, all of which diminish your productivity.
You need to protect your workspace. Set ground rules to your household members. Put a “don’t disturb” sign on your door. Assume that anything can interrupt you like the mailman and just be as proactive as you can about avoiding these incidents.
A blurred line between personal and professional life
When you work from home, you no longer have the geographic distance to help your mind make a barrier between your work and home life. Many remote workers complain about having trouble unplugging from work and relaxing.
Protect your time by setting clear office hours and communicating to your team when they can reach you. The clearer the boundaries, both in space and time, between your work and personal life, the better. Use only one room to do work in and you can even potentially qualify for a home office tax reduction.
Human beings rely on nonverbal communication. Keeping a team on the right track is hard enough and it becomes even more challenging when everyone works from home.
You need to overcommunicate. Every time you wonder if a colleague has understood something, repeat it just to be safe. When issues arise, resolve them quickly and just pick up the phone instead of writing long emails. Promptly return emails, calls and voice mails.
Human beings are social animals. Zoom is not the same as face-to-face interaction. Additionally, networking is next to impossible in a digital format, yet this is an essential activity to stay in the game.
Stay involved in your professional community, stay relevant, and stay top-of-mind by participating in industry specific social media groups. Email or reach out to those who matter to you as relationships need to be nurtured.
2. Upgrade Your Home Office Setup
Besides getting a trusty laptop that you can count on not to break, you also need to take care of the space you’ll be working in because our surroundings can do wonders for your productivity.
Let the sunshine in
Adding natural light to your home office can help to improve both your mood and productivity. Less need for artificial lighting will also help you reduce your monthly ComEd energy bill.
Make it ergonomic
An ergonomic chair will support good posture and that literally means keeping back and neck pain along with serious health concerns at pay. Avoid the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by getting a good external and ergonomic keyboard. You have the opportunity to customize your office now so use it to benefit your health.
Create an exercise spot
It can be as simple as getting a yoga mat to remind yourself that you shouldn’t be sitting down all day. Learn a few basic stretches and make sure you do them several times a day during your scheduled breaks- even your brain will thank you for an influx of oxygen.
Telecommuting comes with a lot of benefits but they come at a cost. Being a successful remote worker takes work. Without the structure imposed by a traditional workplace, it’s up to you to create your own routine. In other words, you need to take responsibility for your productivity if you want to enjoy the benefits of remote working.