Working from home or even remotely is a way of life and for millions of people around the globe a deliberate choice. In times of Covid-19 a lot of people are forced into home office and some are not comfortable with it. I embraced home office already during my time as an employee and took it a step further as I became a freelancer and started to work fully remote. For me it’s a choice and a blessing, but I can relate to people who cannot imagine working away from the comfort and familiarity of their offices and co-workers.
In the US remote working is already very common, recent surveys show that approximately 5% of the US total workforce already work location independent (see also my previous post). The “new work” concept only slowly arrives in other countries around the globe – something that might change in the near future given the current circumstances. And a lot of people might want to hold on to it. The reasons are not surprising. A survey of the jobsite www.monster.com states that a better work-life-balance, increased productivity/better focus, less stress and to avoid a commute are the main drivers for people to favor working from home.
Communication is key
But how can you be your best working from home? From my experience self-motivation, self-discipline, time management and most importantly communication are some key factors to be successful. I figured that I’m much more productive working on my own terms with no distractions and the chance to really focus on the task at hand. And you get tech savvy if you cannot just quickly walk over and chat to your colleague or boss. You learn to use tools (from logging your time to communication) and you also streamline your messages. Keep it short and clear and don’t spam your co-workers’ inboxes. No matter if texting, skyping, emailing or meeting your colleagues online – cut out the noise!
My advice is do not stop doing what you would do in the office. Have your brainstorm sessions over your lunch break, use the manifold technology available to stay in touch and most importantly deliver! Face time with your team is even more important when you’re not present physically. Be accountable, proactive, engage and pick up the phone rather than sending an email. But also make it a habit to be responsive – even if it is only a short reply like “I got this covered” or “I will be back with an answer today/tomorrow”. Schedule regular check-ins with your superiors and keep them updated on your progress or on what you’re working on.
Keep it professional
Another important thing is to keep it professional – no matter if you work from your kitchen table or at a desk in your home. Have a dedicated workspace and don’t be tempted to do your work-out sessions during working hours or switch on the TV. Behave as you would in an office environment. Therefore, also set your working hours: Schedule your coffee and lunch break and switch off your computer and your phone at the end of the day. The downside of working from home or remotely is that you tend to forget when it’s time to stop. Your working hours and your private time are blurred, and it is easy to mix both.
To master these challenging times and the new way of working – don’t lose your stride and get shit done. Great work can be done from anywhere!
Here is a list of tools I use to be productive no matter where I am on this planet. There are many others out there, but I liked these the most:
- A stable internet connection that can cope with long conference calls
- Todoist & iDoneThis
- Google Suite
- Microsoft Teams