Remote work can be fun and productive if it is done right. On the other hand, it can be a total nightmare if you use the wrong approach.
At Sage Virtual Staffing, we are, literally, experts at remote work. We’ve been doing it since before the pandemic, so we know a thing or two about working from home.
For example, we know that remote work can be rewarding. You avoid traffic jams and packed trains. Instead, you work from the comfort of your home. This can have an incredibly positive impact on your quality of life. But we also know that laziness, procrastination, and lack of oversight can potentially ruin your career. In this post, we’re going to give you 8 tips for working from home. If you apply these simple suggestions to your work, you will increase your chances of success.
- Set Up a Personal Home Office
When working at home, there will be a temptation to work from your couch or in bed. Resist this temptation. While it is possible to do small tasks from these locations, most of your work should take place in a fully equipped home office. Your work environment will affect your productivity. Lounging in bed while trying to work on spreadsheets is a great way to fall asleep. On the other hand, an awesome home office is inspiring. It’ll motivate you to get your tasks done. Make sure that you keep your home office clean and tidy, otherwise it will lose its attraction. Try to make it beautiful.
You don’t need a dedicated room for a home office, although it is preferable to have one. If you don’t have a room, try to create a space that is 100 percent yours. Mark your territory and don’t allow other people to mess with your office.
Home offices don’t have to be expensive either. If you browse Amazon or Walmart, you’ll find everything you need at low prices. The only exception? Your chair. A good chair isn’t just an investment in your work, it’s an investment in your health! Bad chairs cause back pain in the long run.
- Self-Discipline is Really Important!
This is obvious, but you won’t a have a manager looking over your shoulder, holding you accountable. While oversight is necessary for successful remote workers, nobody can deny that it’s harder when the manager isn’t physically present. If you want to succeed, you will have to build self-discipline within and hold yourself accountable.
- Use Focusmate if You’re Having Trouble with Procrastination
But some people have a really hard time of discipling themselves (I’m not judging, I’m the same). This is where Focusmate comes in.
Focusmate is a website/app that pairs you with another remote worker for a 45-minute productivity session. You open your webcam so that your partner can see you and vice versa. Then, you quickly tell each other about your tasks. After that, there is no more talking. You both get to work on your tasks. At the end of the 45-minute session, you hold each other accountable.
This might sound silly or trivial, but thousands of people swear by Focusmate. I’ve tried it myself, and I think that it’s a work of genius. I pushed myself hard during those 45 minutes. It’s an excellent way to fight procrastination and laziness.
- Experiment with different apps and software until you find your favorites
Let’s say that you hate Microsoft Word. That’s ok, because there are alternatives. You can use Google Docs, for example. Similarly, if you’re sick of using windows, you can switch to an iMac and use Apple products instead. The point is that there are always alternatives, so if there is a piece of software or an app that annoys you, experiment with the alternatives until you find one that works for you. This concept applies even to your email provider. Not everybody likes gmail (although I love it personally).
The point is this: over time, you can find the software, hardware, and apps that fit your style of work. This will increase productivity, no doubt about it, because you’ll be more comfortable with your tools.
- Work on Your Tech Literacy
At home, there is no IT wizard to step in if you encounter a technical problem. This terrifies people, because they don’t believe that they can understand their computers. But I promise you, basic tech literacy is not hard to learn. In fact, it’s easier than most subjects out there.
We’re lucky because many great books have been written to help you with tech literacy. Find one on Kindle and apply it your devices. You’ll be amazed how much progress you make in just a few short weeks.
You can learn how your computer functions, how Windows works, how to troubleshoot problems, how to sync your devices, etc. You might even find that you enjoy troubleshooting technical problems (or maybe that’s just me).
In addition, make sure that you can share files effectively, secure your computer with an antivirus, back up your files and computer, use spreadsheets, and understand your operating system. This will make remote work much less stressful, and it’ll impress your boss who probably doesn’t understand these technical details.
- Turn Off Social Media
Social media is the single biggest threat to effective remote work. Some people manage to check their accounts quickly while remaining effective workers, but they’re the exceptions. Most people will check their social media accounts and fall into the abyss. An hour later, they’ll realize that they were supposed to be working.
The best way to avoid this situation is to simply log out of your accounts. Don’t check them until the end of your workday. Again, self-discipline is key.
- Set Clear Boundaries with Your Family Members
For some reason, family members often don’t take your remote job seriously. They assume that you can waste more time than usual because you’re working from home. Therefore you need to set clear and firm boundaries, especially if you have small kids. They must understand that when you’re at work, it’s as if you were at the office. With time, everybody will learn to respect your job.
- Don’t Burn Yourself Out
While some people have trouble with procrastination, others have the opposite problem. They become workaholics. Excessive work will lead to burn out eventually and burn out is counterproductive. Ironically, working too hard can hurt your career! Everything in moderation.