Now that many employees are forced to work remotely, they’ve begun to realize that it is a significantly different way of living compared to an office set-up. Consequently, many first time telecommuters also face unique challenges and issues. The flexibility that working from home allows also causes problems if one is not ready, leaving you to wonder how to be a successful remote employee.
Luckily, you can make the transition as frictionless as possible if you take the necessary preparations. Just like in the office, you can set aside a dedicated working area. Additionally, you can set a specific schedule for work, along with timely breaks.
Also, there are many remote work software providers that cater to both individuals and small businesses. These can help you communicate with your managers and colleagues easily. Additionally, other applications can organize your tasks, help with time management, and more. In this article, we will explore the necessary steps you can take to make remote working work for you.
Remote work provides many benefits to both employees and employers. Even those who are working on a hybrid schedule—a combination of in-office and off-site set up—enjoy certain upsides. For example, 24% of employees are happier and more productive when they work from home at least once a month.
Similarly, these improvements in employees’ morale and productivity have a direct effect on the company. Companies save about $11,000 per year per part-time telecommuter compared to hiring a full-time office worker. Without additional logistical and operational expenses, organizations are beginning to consider hiring more off-site workers on a full-time basis.
Unsurprisingly, many employees who were given the opportunity to telecommute often choose to work in their houses. As many as 84% of employees primarily work from the comforts of their homes instead of other places, such as coffee shops, libraries, and more.
These benefits aside, remote working poses its own challenges as well. This is especially the case for telecommuters. For starters, as they don’t always interact with their peers, they find it difficult to gauge whether or not their performance is good. Moreover, it can be challenging for them to stay focused because of the unpredictability of their work environment. So, to help you move past these challenges, here are some of the steps you can take to become a successful remote employee:
One of the best practices for working from home is to set-up a dedicated workspace. You will need to set aside an area where you can focus on your work. It should be a place in your house with the least distractions from children, pets, or your spouse. Your goal is to recreate the optimal working space that you would have in the office.
A home office is a perfect space to give you peace and quiet. Make sure that you can close your doors, especially when you have conference calls. It also separates yourself from the rest of the house, which helps you get into a more productive mindset.
Similarly, a repurposed closet can also function as a mini home office. Or you can set-up a temporary desk that you can fold away at the end of the day. The key is to find a place with the least distraction. That means if you are going to work in the living room, you should only focus on your work and avoid watching TV.
One of the strategies behind becoming a successful remote employee is using the right tools. You will be physically disconnected from your supervisor and your colleagues. As such, you need to maintain some form of connection with them through various applications. Additionally, your tools can help you maintain your productivity throughout the day, with little to no intervention from your managers.
Here are some examples of remote office software:
monday.com is a leading collaboration and productivity software that can help you monitor your tasks and projects. If you are a manager, you can develop workflow-specific apps using the software’s building blocks.
You can add your team members to relevant projects while personalizing their access and roles. Furthermore, you can assign tasks to specific employees and monitor their progress throughout the day. You can even hold discussions right on the platform to make sure that you are all on the same page.
If you conduct videoconferences, meetings, tutorials, or online classes, RingCentral Video is the perfect tool to centralize all your web conferencing needs. Aside from letting you host HD video calls, this platform also allows you to share your screen, which is valuable during online presentations and webinars. Additionally, it has a team messaging module that lets you chat with your entire team without ever leaving the platform.
You can hold meetings with 200 to 500 participants located anywhere in the world. It is perfect for conducting online classes, live demos, and even real-time product reviews. So, whether you want to have a meeting with a client or your global team, they are just a click away with RingCentral Video.
As you’re learning how to remotely work from home, you will be producing and managing a lot of documents. Furthermore, if you are in sales or any related work, you will be handling legally binding paperwork. That means you need a specialized document management software, such as PandaDoc.
The platform not only helps you with various documents, but it incorporates your entire deal cycle. With this at your disposal, you can create, edit, submit, and share important records, including proposals, quotes, contracts, and more. You can even save time and have your clients approve agreements using the built-in eSignature. It also works with other apps, such as SalesForce, Zoho, Google Drive, and more.
These are just some of the leading remote work apps in the market. By making sure that you are using the top productivity tools around, you can focus on your work and stay productive.
Many employees often overestimate the flexibility of working from home, which they normally associate with freelancing. However, remote work is different from digital nomadism. The latter is similar to handling business while the former is akin to a 9-to-5 job.
Typically, your company will require you to log on to your computer at a specific time, just like you would in the office. In which case, it is easy to build your entire workday around the required schedule.
On the other hand, you will need to set your own time if your organization allows leeway in terms of working hours. You can set your time to sync with the rest of your team to make communication easier. Or, you can set aside hours when you are most productive.
Regardless of the time slot that you choose, you must work fixed hours daily. This allows you to adjust to the new set-up, especially during the first few weeks of working remotely. Starting work at the same time every day also allows you to shift into “work mode,” which ensures productivity.
Consistent communication is one of the best practices of a successful remote employee. There should be a conscious effort on your part to inform your team or manager about your current tasks.
Typically, emails, chat apps, and other communication software can help you connect with other employees in your company. However, communication gets more complicated when you take into account projects, tasks, and other relevant information. As such, project management platforms are now replacing email communication and other traditional communication channels. These modern apps allow you to post comments, create discussions, and collaborate on projects. This enhanced communication means each conversation is within the context of specific tasks, which makes it easy to understand each other.
On top of that, you will have to set multiple communication channels to serve as backups. For example, you can set-up team messaging groups in apps such as Slack, Skype, or Viber, where you can reach other employees if you cannot access your primary communication tools. You may also want to share your phone number with your manager so you can still be reached during emergencies like power outages.
While it can be challenging to stay productive at home, it can also be difficult to disconnect from work at the end of the day. As many work from home productivity studies indicate, many employees find themselves working beyond their fixed schedules. Some may even forget to take necessary breaks throughout the day. When you set your schedule, include multiple breaks and lunch. This allows you to rest, which contributes to your overall productivity.
When your workspace and living space are the same, it is truly difficult to completely step away from work. Hence, prepare for the end of your shift just as you would when you begin your work. There are many ways to allow your mind to slow down and get ready to log off.
For example, you can plan after-work activities. It could be as simple as cooking dinner for your family. Alternatively, you can go to the gym or grab a drink with a friend. The key is to stick to the schedule so you can prevent overworking and burning out.
Being a successful remote employee requires accountability and transparency. You will be taking on more responsibility than your in-office counterparts. As such, you need to prepare yourself by setting up an optimal home office. Furthermore, you need to ensure that you have the right tools and applications to collaborate and communicate with your team easily.
You also have to set and follow a fixed working schedule to ensure a work-life balance. It is easy to both be unproductive and overworked when you are at home. As such, you need to develop a routine and stick to it to avoid burning yourself out while maintaining high productivity.
If you want to read more about getting your team ready for remote work, you can read our guide to managing a remote team.
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