Remote Productivity: The Working From Home Do’s and Don’ts

August 13, 2020
computer monitor on desk

2020 is the year of remote work. In just half a year, what used to seem like a foreign idea, has now been propelled to the forefront of business practices and ideologies.

Many have met working from home with open arms, but others have voiced their concerns with this new setting because of the preconceived notion that productivity would suffer if employees worked remotely. While this may be true in some cases, almost every employee can remain as productive as they would be in the office with a few tips and tricks.

If you have recently moved your employees to a more remote work setting, or if you are thinking about it, keep reading to learn the do’s and don’ts of remote work.

DO maintain clear and constant communication

Communication based tools have been around since the dawn of time, but around the turn of the century, there was a new focus on developing online communication tools. Technology innovations such as email, instant messaging, and social media drastically changed the way in which humans communicate.

In years past, remote work wouldn’t have been possible, but now, with the communication tools we have available, it can be a near seamless transition. Some of the top tools to use when working remote are:

  • zoom.comThe biggest name in business communication right now is Zoom, and for good reason. Zoom allows anybody to video chat and host conferences of up to 1000 people.
  • ClickUp – A project management tool for the modern age. ClickUp boasts eleven different features, from to-do lists to time tracking, ClickUp can do it.
  • Zoho Cliq – An instant messaging app that simplifies the user interface, making it easy to stay organized and productive.

When using these apps, be sure to go through the tutorials offered, they can help you and your employees uncover features that were not outwardly obvious before.

DON’T use the same old gear

As you and your employees transition to a home office setting, make sure that everyone has the tools they need to effectively do their job. Do NOT let someone talk you into letting them use their personal device at home. There are a variety of reasons that you should provide work equipment for home use.

Most importantly, personal devices lack the security measures that business devices have. Also, people will likely have lower-tier technology at home, which could be lacking features that your work equipment may already have.

Besides computers, your business may also need to invest in: printers, ink, new software offerings, monitors, and more.

If you do not have the money to purchase the equipment you need for the business, do not get discouraged, there are a variety of ways to help fund your new purchases. Look into different business loan options to see what type of funding would best fit your business’ needs. If you do not want to purchase this equipment outright, many tech companies, such as Apple, offer lease programs for businesses as well.

DO get into a routine

Working from home may seem to be more flexible than working in the office. An employee can work in your PJs from the couch, and only have to wake up five minutes before their day begins. This is a trap that remote workers far too often fall into.

If you, or your employees approach working from home with a relaxed mindset, it may be reflected in your work. Creating a routine will help you get better at certain remedial tasks freeing up time for more complex jobs.

As you begin to think about creating a routine, think about your day as a whole, could there be things you could do the night before to help you the next morning? Simple tricks such as making your kids lunch the night before, going to bed an hour earlier, or just reviewing your calendar can go a long way.

Some absolute musts when trying to establish a routine are:

  • Wake up the same time every day
  • Get dressed and brush your teeth when you get up
  • Unplug from your personal device in the morning
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Write down what you would like to get done for the day

Do remember that your routine does not need to be extreme to be effective. Oftentimes, people read about the routines that Fortune 500 CEOs follow. For most people, waking up at 3:45 AM like Apple CEO, Tim Cook, is just not sustainable.

Keep your routine simple, and customized for YOU.

DON’T forget what work in the office was like

When out of the office, it is easy to think that you need to work eight productive hours with zero time away from your computer, but when you were in the office, that never would happen.

Try to act as if you are in the office when working from home. When you were in the office natural distractions arose, you chatted at the coffee machine, things were not always serious. People tend to get too focused when working from home and do not account for time to decompress.

As you work from home, do not be afraid to turn on the TV for a bit, go on a fifteen minute walk, or take a quick personal phone call, similarly to how you would in the office.

Also, make sure that you set boundaries between your work life and your home life. Now that the office is home, it can feel harder than ever to keep your personal life and work life separate. If you say you are working 9-5, do not check your email at 6:00. Unplugging will help you remain sane, and avoid WFH burnout.

DO talk to others when feeling stressed

There is no way to sugar coat it, 2020 has been tumultuous. Everything around us has changed, and with uncertainty on the horizon, things will likely continue to change. If all of this has you stressed out, do not feel alone. Reach out to coworkers, friends, or even professionals who can help you navigate the challenges arising from  COVID-19. A friendly face or an engaging conversation can help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing during these unprecedented times.

 

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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