The COVID-19 pandemic has opened such a concept as remote work to the world. If previously only freelancers from the field of It, webmastering, and everyone associated with website construction knew about it, today it is already a common term.
After the quarantine, not everyone returned to the office; many realized the beauty of remote collaboration. Most companies also saw its benefits and transferred some of their employees to telecommuting.
However, along with the obvious convenience of telecommuting, there are pitfalls. How to work and not to burn out? How do you organize your remote work so that you will have time to do everything and do not feel like a “lonely Robinson Crusoe”, communicating exclusively with Friday? About this today and talk.
The legalization of telecommuting in many countries has made it clear that this is for the long term, if not forever. Statistical surveys show that a third of companies plan to stay on telecommuting for at least a few years. At the same time, employees have increased the number of working hours – specific tasks with agreed volumes are set and it is not possible to evade, as with offline activities in the same office.
For most employees, the transition to a remote office was stressful, and some adapted to it more than a month. We decided to make a kind of checklist that will help you work remotely and remain at the proper level of productivity. And most importantly – do not allow burnout, because working at home it is possible. Let’s tell you about what you need to do to make working remotely comfortable.
Rule 1: Don’t forget your basic needs
What is usually missing when working remotely? Communication, of course. In addition, there can be very real problems with self-organization – not everyone can immediately plan the day and follow a clear plan.
It often happens that there is not enough personal space at home due to domestic restrictions (small rooms or the whole family in one room). In addition, it is not easy to maintain a balance between rest and work activities.
Some directors, not being in control of the work process in person, become nervous and demand more from employees. As a result, everyone ends up in a stressful situation. Against the backdrop of all this, a person simply forgets about their own needs, about taking care of themselves.
It is extremely important to pay attention to the following points. Only if they are respected, and in general – the presence in your daily routine, you will not burn out at a remote location.
Eating and sleeping
Distribute your tasks according to their importance. Sleep should not be sacrificed for tasks that are not of prime importance. It is important to sleep the number of hours necessary for your well-being, to eat a full meal and not to overeat (and the risk is great – the fridge is nearby).
Try to make snacks out of nuts or dried fruits, and not out of cookies and candy.
Considering the fact that your physical activity has obviously decreased due to your remote work, pay special attention to this issue. Physical activity improves your mood, helps you resist stress and anxiety, and increases your energy.
Work out at the gym or at home, but also go for walks in the park or just around town. Warming up is extremely important for your health. Put a reminder on your computer or phone so you don’t forget to do them.
Make sure that you don’t lack for communication. Chat, video chat, or at least email your colleagues. Don’t worry about distracting yourself from your work – remember how many times you went out for coffee with a colleague in the office. Socializing will increase your productivity, but don’t get too carried away either.
After you have dealt with the first items, structure the space and time:
Be sure to follow your routine – go to sleep at your usual time, get up as you always do. Don’t forget to take a lunch break, and take the time that was spent on the road for your entertainment.
Designate the beginning of the work day and its end, if it is not set by the employer.
Designate a place in the apartment for a “work office.” Its entire space should be a little impersonal, ergonomic, but still put up a couple of pictures with your girlfriend.
Don’t sit down to work in your pajamas – wear your homemade everyday work.
Rule 2: Develop your time management
You have to draw your own line between rest and work. It’s very easy to “convince” yourself that a game of your favorite poker won’t hurt a bit. But it can be followed by another, and another… By the end of the day you will realize that you got carried away and did not have time.
Make a rule – do not play while working. Don’t talk on the phone with friends and relatives (not for work). There are many techniques that help improve concentration. For example, the Pomodoro technique can help you in this matter.
Its essence is to divide the activity into “tomatoes” (segments of time), which last for half an hour. Of these, 25 minutes should be spent working, and 5 minutes should be spent taking a break. After every 4 “tomatoes” you can take a break for 15 to 30 minutes.
Start practicing the Tomidoro technique and you’ll soon see pleasant results from working remotely. But you can choose any other time-management system for yourself.
Rule 3: Set boundaries
This point is not easy for everyone. Few people can immediately start working productively in the apartment, without stress and quarrels with the household. And if all family members have switched to telecommuting, it’s a nightmare.
It’s important to set and most importantly follow them – boundaries with all family members and not violate them. Designate exactly what time you need to work. Agree “on the shore” that during the activity a taboo on distractions.
If you have children, it will be more difficult, but doable. Tell them when you can’t be categorically disturbed, and when you can. It is not bad to make a home schedule – for example, Dad can devote minutes to play together with his child after 3 hours of work.
Children need to plan their daily routine, so that at the time of your work, they are busy, too. Don’t forget that they also have their mom and possibly grandparents. Divide your babysitting duties amongst yourselves.
You’re the boss: How do you behave with employees and manage remotely?
First of all, you have to realize what a serious burden rests on your strong shoulders. You not only need to distribute all the responsibilities among your subordinates, but also give them support. Believe me, they will need it when they work remotely.
First of all you need to build a transparent and clear communication. Talk to your subordinates about all serious situations, voice your own position and justify necessarily the measures taken.
During the pandemic everyone, without exception, created a situation of uncertainty, which led to anxiety. And if there is a lack of communication in your team, it will affect the overall result. Remember – it is important for your subordinates to see and understand the plan of action of the chief, the methods of implementation.
Be attentive to those employees who are in an unstable emotional state – pay attention to see if they show any signs of burnout. Openly let them know that you are open to communication, be supportive and empathic.
It’s equally important to take the time to motivate employees. Don’t forget that they may have difficulty balancing home and work remotely.
You should carefully plan and synchronize all work processes. Pay attention to whether all employees have access to a resource base, documents, programs, and whether there is a shared chat room for correspondence with colleagues.
At some intervals, set up meetings through conference calls or video-call chat sharing. This way, employees won’t feel isolated. You can bring other department heads into the chat room as well, for example. You’ll be able to share experiences, make recommendations.
Keep in mind that for everyone, the transition to remote work was an accelerated process, and the change was spontaneous, it affected absolutely all areas of life. People’s psyches are still adapting to this day. If you feel like you can’t handle it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help.