Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google. These are just some of the companies instructing their employees to work remotely until further notice. Thousands of other businesses across the country have done the same.
If this is your first experience as a remote worker, you don’t want your location to get in the way of your performance. Here are some tips on how to be more efficient:
Stick to your normal work schedule. At home, it’s easy to become distracted, which can impact your productivity. Harvard Business Review advises getting up early, getting dressed, and avoiding online distractions—just like you would in the office. Of course, especially if your kids are home from school, there might be responsibilities that affect your schedule. Try to accommodate them as best as you can, for example by taking more short breaks during the day. Remember to inform your colleagues if you’re going to be offline for a while. And if you find yourself losing a lot of time during the day, try starting earlier or working late.
Create an office environment. According to the BBC, you should treat remote work as you’d treat your office job. Even if you don’t have a home office, set up a space that’s exclusively for work. For instance, you could set up your laptop in a quiet place away from the family room. It’s also important to keep your work environment tidy and organized, so don’t let the empty coffee mugs pile up!
Establish boundaries. If you share your home with your spouse, kids, or other family members, it’s critical to set some ground rules, as The New York Times reports. Be clear about when you can and can’t be interrupted, and communicate how you’d like others to contact you. For instance, you could ask others not to interrupt you when you’re in a remote meeting and to send you a text if they need you.
Plan ahead. To make sure you accomplish everything on your to-do list each week, create a daily schedule and stick to it. Prioritize the most important tasks so you do them when you’re most alert—usually at the beginning of the workday.
Communicate with your team. Lifehack recommends staying in touch with your team during the workweek. Even if you can’t just walk over to someone’s desk, you can still ask a question by text, email, or call. And if you miss your team’s weekly lunches or happy hours, try setting up a conference call to get everyone together virtually. Lifewire provides step-by-step instructions to set up a call via Skype®, for example.
Reach out to your supervisor. If you’re running into challenges with your work or are feeling isolated, contact your manager to discuss your concerns. He or she will likely be able to suggest some solutions to make your situation easier.
Most importantly, give yourself some time to get used to working remotely. You’ll soon find a rhythm that works for you—and then you can focus completely on maintaining and improving your performance.
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