2020 is the year of remote working. In just half a year, what previously seemed like an alien idea was brought to the forefront of business practices and ideologies.
Many have met from home with open arms; others have expressed concern about this new environment because they were preconceived that if employees worked remotely, productivity would suffer. While this can be the case in some cases, with a few tips and tricks, almost any employee can stay as productive as they would in the office.
If you’ve recently moved your employees to a remote working environment or are thinking about it, read on to learn the pros and cons of working remotely.
Communication-based tools have been around since the beginning of time, but by the turn of the century there was a new focus on developing online communication tools. Technology innovations like email, instant messaging, and social media have drastically changed the way people communicate.
Working remotely hadn’t been possible in the past few years, but now, with the communication tools available, it can be a nearly seamless transition. Some of the most important tools for working remotely are:
- zoom.comThe biggest name in business communications right now is Zoom, and for good reason. With Zoom anyone can video chat and hold conferences with up to 1000 people.
- ClickUp – A project management tool for the modern age. ClickUp offers eleven different functions, from task lists to time recording. ClickUp can do this.
- Zoho Cliq – An instant messaging app that simplifies the user interface and makes it easy to stay organized and productive.
When using these apps, be sure to read through the tutorials offered. They can help you and your employees to uncover functions that were previously not externally obvious.
When transitioning to a home office environment, make sure everyone has the tools they need to work effectively. DO NOT let anyone persuade you to use their personal device at home. There are several reasons why you should provide work equipment for home use.
Most importantly, personal devices lack the security measures that business devices have. Also, at home, workers are likely to have lower technology that may be missing features that your work devices may already have.
In addition to computers, your business may also need to invest in: printers, ink, new software offerings, monitors, and more.
If you don’t have the money to buy the equipment you need to run the business, don’t be discouraged. There are several ways to finance your new acquisitions. Look into others Business credit options to find out what type of financing best suits your company’s needs. If you don’t want to buy this equipment right away, many tech companies such as Applealso offer corporate leasing programs.
Working from home seems to be more flexible than working in the office. An employee can work from the couch in their PJs and only needs to wake up five minutes before the day starts. This is a trap that remote workers fall into far too often.
If you or your employees work comfortably from home, this can be reflected in your work. By creating a routine, you can improve certain remedial actions and free up time for more complex tasks.
When you start thinking about creating a routine, think about your entire day. Could there be things you could do the night before to help you the next morning? Simple tricks like having your kids have lunch the night before, going to bed early, or checking your calendar can go a long way.
Some absolute musts when trying to establish a routine are:
- Wake up at the same time each day
- Get dressed and brush your teeth when you get up
- In the morning, pull the plug out of the socket
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Write down what you want to do for the day
Remember, your routine doesn’t have to be extreme to be effective. Often times, people read about the routines that Fortune 500 CEOs follow. For most people Wake up at 3:45 a.m. like Apple CEO Tim Cookis just not sustainable.
Keep your routine simple and individual for YOU.
When you’re away from the office, it’s easy to imagine spending eight productive hours working from your computer without wasting time. However, if you were in the office this would never happen.
Try to pretend that you are in the office when working from home. When you were in the office there were natural distractions, you chatted at the coffee maker, things weren’t always serious. People tend to focus when working from home and don’t consider the decompression time.
If you work from home, don’t be afraid to turn on the TV a little, take a 15-minute walk, or make a quick personal call, much like you would in the office.
Also, make sure you set boundaries between your work and personal life. Now that the office is at home, keeping your personal and work life separate can be harder than ever. If you say you work 9-5, don’t check your email at 6:00 AM. Unplugging the power cord will help you stay healthy and avoid WFH burnout.
There is no way to gloss it over, 2020 was turbulent. Everything around us has changed, and with uncertainty on the horizon, things are likely to keep changing. When you’ve stressed out all of this, you don’t feel alone. Reach out to co-workers, friends, or even professionals who can help you address the challenges posed by COVID-19. A friendly face or engaging conversation can help alleviate the stress you are experiencing during these unprecedented times.
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