In 2020, the phrase ‘remote work’ rocketed in popularity! Almost every office around the world started using terms like it and other variations such as ‘working from home’, ‘hybrid schedules’ and ‘virtual work’.
Some people were more comfortable with this new way of working, but for others it was the start of a difficult time. For example, Google Trends’ analysis demonstrated that ‘Tips for working from home’ was searched about 600 thousand times between March-April 2020. It was difficult for people to stay productive and to keep in touch with colleagues as well during this testing time.
Nobody really knew what to expect, and it wasn’t clear how long this situation would last for too. Even the world-famous Forbes magazine started to use headlines like ‘Remote work will stay forever’ and ‘Offices are no longer required’.
More than a year later, we are either working from home ourselves, or we know someone who is. So, it’s important to help yourself, and those around you, to deal with the new changes that have occurred. Because not everyone is happy with working remotely.
Forbes published a special survey provided by FlexJobs in May 2021, and it said that 65% of respondents would like to keep a remote work schedule after the pandemic, and 33% noted that they would prefer a hybrid type of work schedule. But, as you can see, there’s a huge proportion of people that aren’t too comfortable with the idea of working from home.
No doubt that both remote jobs and hybrid schedules will blossom even further throughout 2021, so how can we make sure that everyone feels productive and happy within this new working style.
Keep on reading, and we’ll share some tips with you on how to stay productive and to keep connected with colleagues as you continue to work remotely.
Making the most of remote/hybrid work
1) Organize your workspace
Some companies are ready to invest in and organize workspaces for their employees at home, and others have allowed members of staff to grab some equipment (including chairs, tables) from the office to take home.
But, sadly, not every office can afford to do this.
So, perhaps you’ll need to go and get your own equipment - buy a comfortable chair, a table and make your ‘space’ your ‘office’ space. Having a ‘space’ that resembles work, instead of home, will help you to get into the ‘work mode’ and should help your productivity.
2) Set tasks and deadlines
To remain productive you need to organize your days, this way you’ll know what you’re doing and when.
It’s recommended that you keep a calendar or tasks list in front of you, so that you don’t lose focus. You can ask your manager and team for support on this matter.
3) Take breaks
It’s easy to forget to take a break from work when you’re working from home. But, you’ve got to remember to take tea breaks, exercise and walks during your day. You will quickly burn yourself out if you over-work yourself.
You can organize exercise classes at home, for example. You can find a lot of free exercises via Youtube or social media networks that are given out by famous fitness providers.
Some companies even started inviting trainers and doing workouts online for all their colleagues to participate in. For example, at Careerist, we do yoga classes together and anyone can join in.
4) Arrange video calls
Chat via Zoom with your colleagues. Make sure you keep in contact with them. It doesn’t have to be a scheduled meeting, although these are great opportunities to discuss important business, but it can be informal.
Talking to your colleagues allows you to share your worries and concerns, and you can talk openly with them, just as you would if you were in the office.
You could even arrange a ‘Zoom party’, if a college has something to celebrate - everyone could get a piece of cake and a coffee, and everyone could talk together via video chat.
5) Arrange online training
2020 was the year for online learning! You can help yourself, and your colleagues, by setting up online courses for everyone to follow.
It’s a team exercise, plus, you’ll all be learning something new too. It’s also an opportunity for everyone to do something that isn’t only work-related.
6) Fixed working schedule
It’s important for the employer and the employee to be online at the same time. However, working from a distance does mean that working hours seem to get blurry.
It’s very important to define your boundaries, so your colleagues don’t abuse your remote working schedule.
Explain what hours you will be working to your teammates, and they should adhere to your schedule. You should respect their schedule too.
7) Deal with distractions
While working from home distractions will occur. You should try to keep children and pets occupied while you work, because you'll become distracted very quickly and this is not good for your work.
If you need to take care of your kids, or pets, take a break away from your ‘office’ and go and play with your pet and entertain your children.
8) Dress well
Over the past year a lot of funny pictures of people working in a shirt and shorts have circulated the internet. Albeit funny, this is quite unprofessional and it can take away from the seriousness of a meeting.
If you have important meetings online, you should choose a comfortable, but work related wardrobe. Plus, if you dress in clothes that you’d usually wear to work, you’ll feel more in the ‘work zone’ too.
- If you work in the same city as your colleagues, but you’re still not able to work in your office, I suggest that you arrange a small outdoor get together with your teammates every few weeks. It will be nice to see your colleagues face to face and you can catch up like you did before.
- Special tech services like Teamweek, Harvest, Asana, Trello, TickTick, Toggl, AtTrack and many others can be used to increase self-control, scheduling tasks, time and resources amongst teams.
- At Careerist we have our own secrets to achieving successful remote work. Employees in our company are distributed all over the world, but we all find time to learn English together, do yoga and even take part in cooking classes. Plus, everyone always knows their tasks and can always ask for help and support when they need it.
- The world has changed dramatically in a year. Many companies are trying to bring back their staff to their offices, or they are offering new hybrid schedules to members of staff. But, Psychologists say that it’s somewhat presumptuous to believe that when we return to the office that we will be returning to the same scene that we left in early 2020. Some people have lost their communication skills, some are out of the habit of driving two hours into work every single day and others just don’t want to be in a big office building anymore.
- People have changed over the past year and it’s important to appreciate and to understand how people feel about work now. Employers need to give their employees, and themselves, time to adapt and get used to the new working conditions again.
You’ve probably made your mind up by now about whether or not you like or dislike remote work and hybrid schedules.
I was, like so many others, ‘lucky’ to have been sent home to work remotely during the pandemic. And to tell you the truth, it was not an easy time for me - I struggled with finding a balance between work and personal life. Although I’d dreamt of working remotely and living in Bali in the past, nothing actually prepared me for the last year of working from home.
It was so hard to organize myself, and it was hard using the kitchen table as a workplace and a personal space. There were many ups and downs. And sometimes it seemed that I was going crazy, but then I’d turn to my colleagues and friends for support.
And then other times were so amazing. We would all celebrate a colleague’s birthday and we’d share various events via video chat. We even had breakfasts online, created videos, rapped, and danced. And, to be honest, I don’t think such events would ever have taken place had it not been for remote work.
Working from home will not suit everyone, so, if you find yourself lacking productivity and missing your colleagues try some of the suggestions above. They may not solve the problem entirely for you, but they can alleviate the effects.