working remotely

How to Make the Most out of Working Remotely

For some working from home is second nature; you’ve been doing it for years now.  But for many, this is uncharted territory and you are going into it blindly. Without an end in sight, it’s time to focus on how to make the most of your new work from home life. Luckily, we are in an amazing position with our advanced technology, teleconferencing capabilities, and data sharing. Working from home, even while caring for children, can be effective. Not sure where to start? Try these tips for making the most of your new work from home life. 

Designate a Workspace

Set up a designated space in your home to use as a workspace. By creating a designated workspace your brain will be able to switch focus into work mode more effectively, increasing productivity and motivation. Since you will spend a significant amount of time in your new space make sure to avoid harsh lighting, or not enough lighting, which can cause eye strain. Also, consider ergonomics when choosing your space. Your back will thank you for not using an uncomfortable wooden chair. Once you have your designated space, resist the urge to use your workspace for anything other than work.

Invest in Technology 

Any seasoned remote worker will tell you that access to consistent WiFi is pivotal in staying productive. Internet connectivity alone shouldn’t be your only focus. Have a lot of road traffic? Noisy pets or kids? Invest in some noise cancelling headphones, or a great headset. This will keep you from constantly worrying if your coworkers can hear your cat meowing, dog barking, or children playing.  Missing that second monitor, fancy wireless mouse or keyboard? Don’t hesitate in picking one up for yourself, you won’t regret it. Anything that will help reduce your frustration will be well worth it in the end. 

Develop a Work Schedule that Works for YOU 

If you are lucky enough to have a flexible work schedule, this will be the biggest perk to working remotely. For some working remotely is actually more productive as you are no longer confined to the environment provided to you by your employer.  You can develop a schedule and environment that works best for you. Prefer to wake up early and get a jump-start on your day before the sun comes up? Go for it! Or maybe you’re a night owl and get most of your work done after dinner. That’s okay, too!

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Ask yourself these questions. Do you need quiet, white noise or background music? Do you work better in the morning or in the evening? Do you need to work 8 straight hours, or take short breaks throughout the day? The beauty of remote working is the flexibility to find your sweet spot. 

Block out your Schedule 

As always, distractions and disruptions can drastically reduce your productivity. Be mindful when planning your day. Try blocking your day off into focal points. For example: don’t lose an entire day with meetings scattered throughout your schedule. Try to group your meetings into a block of time. This will allow you bigger chunks of time for specific tasks without having to switch your focus. Set up blocks of time to go through emails, so you are not distracted by every non-urgent email the second it comes in.  

Helpful tip: embrace the do not disturb function for times you really need to focus. 

Change your Scenery 

Another perk to working remotely is that you are no longer stuck in your cubicle. Take a step out onto your porch to get some fresh air and rejuvenate while continuing to power through your workload. You will be amazed at your renewed sense of energy.

Helpful tip: resist the urge to work in bed. Although it’s comfy and cozy in your bed, it’s also not the most productive location. Try to keep your personal spaces reserved for non-work. 

Get Dressed

It can be so tempting to stay in your PJ’s all day when you don’t have to leave the house. But getting up in the morning and starting your work day the way you would if you were commuting to an office is a boost to your productivity. I don’t mean you have to get dressed in a suit and tie every day. Embrace your new work culture with casual attire.

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Take Scheduled Breaks

As I mentioned previously, many people are more productive in a remote environment- potentially overworking. Make sure even when you are in the zone that you are taking a healthy amount of breaks to get up and move around. Grab some coffee, take a walk, or switch up your work location.  

Don’t forget Self-care

One of the hardest parts about working remotely is the blurred line between home and work. It’s important to be productive and efficient when working from home, but it’s also important to know when your workday is over. Make sure you are setting yourself up with healthy boundaries by letting your coworkers know when you are available and when you are not. Maintaining clear expectations will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, and keep your work relationships stable 

Communicate

It can be a huge adjustment to some when you can no longer just turn around to talk to a coworker or step into your boss’s office to give a quick project update. That is why it’s important to keep the lines of communication open, potentially even over-communicating.  Here are some ways to keep the communication flowing. 

  • Send daily or weekly progress updates to your boss, coworkers and stakeholders. Consider setting up a daily or weekly progress meeting to touch base.  
  • Don’t hesitate to jump on a quick call. Even though we have all become accustomed to remote communication, it doesn’t mean that quick emails or texts can’t lead to potential misunderstandings. If an email thread or slack message is getting out of hand, pick up the phone to resolve it quickly. 
  • Embrace video calls. I know for some people this is uncomfortable or intimidating, but it’s a great way to stay connected to your coworkers. Take a few minutes to stage your environment. Check your background to see what the person on the other side of the call will see. Adjust your camera so you are not looking down on people. Those little things will help you be professional and still casual.
  • Create an effective system for sharing documents. More than likely your company already has a system in place for safe file transfers. Make use of SharePoint sites and other file shares for working on collaborative documents.  
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You are now on your way to an enjoyable and productive work from home experience. Excel SoftSources employees have already been embracing a remote working environment for years. They are trained with agile development and ready to offset your current development staff whether they are in the office or fully remote. Work with us today! 

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