Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Remote work is not as straightforward as some might think. Consider these tips to make it easier to carry out your job as you would normally.
Remote work is not as straightforward as some might think. Expect to encounter certain issues if you have just switched from your regular job to working from home.
One of the most common problems is having your motivation dwindle over time. Since there is no in-person supervision and coworkers around to keep you in check and motivated, doing everything half-assed just to get by is more common than you expect.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to make remote work easier. Or rather, ways to find motivation so that you still carry out your job as you would normally and not feel bad about wasting time by being unproductive all day.
Have a dedicated workspace
Let's start with a dedicated workspace. In an ideal world, you should have an entire room that you can turn into a home office. Unfortunately, not everyone has enough space in their home, which means looking for alternatives.
Even a small work desk can be enough. It is about a location that you will use for nothing but work. Once you sit down, you will know that you should focus on the job.
You want to keep the workspace neat and tidy because working in a messy environment is not great for your productivity.
Now, if you can actually set up a home office, you should not hesitate and go for it. Taking care of every little detail might take a while, but getting things in check should not be too difficult.
Obviously, the maintenance of a home office also requires more because you will need to be mindful of an entire room. It is one thing to clean a computer desk and another to clean an entire room that you might not have bothered really using before.
One of the advantages of having a home office is that you can decorate it to your liking. If your office job did not allow for such freedom, you can make the most out of the opportunity and get some nice wall decorations and anything else you might want. Creating an atmosphere you find enjoyable to work in will go a long way to help you find motivation.
Communicate as much as you can
Not seeing colleagues in person means potential miscommunication issues. For one, it is one thing when you talk to someone directly and discuss a problem, and another thing when you need to solve the same problem by exchanging emails.
The delays between exchanges are already an issue, but it is also easier to miss something in multiple emails.
That is why it is crucial to emphasize communication as one of the priorities while working remotely.
If necessary, make use of the available tools, such as screen-recording software, to give clearer instructions. Also, instead of relying on emails, make phone calls and stick to instant-messaging tools like Slack.
Finally, while on the topic of communication, working from home might leave you feeling isolated because of fewer opportunities to interact with people.
So long as you have the time for it, go out and meet people in real life. These meetings do not have to include coworkers. Friends and family are great as well. It is about the chance to talk to people in person.
It might also be worthwhile to take a different approach and try to meet new people. If going out in real life is too much of a bother, you can look to establish a relationship with someone on the internet.
Social media and platforms like Discord encourage communication a lot. Just try to look for people who share the same interests, so it is easier to strike a conversation and develop a relationship from there.
Optimize your work tools
Do not be surprised to see your frustration build over time as you struggle more and more with your computer's performance.
It is most likely that you rely on a computer the most for work. And the overall sluggish performance is just one example of a problem.
You might also have issues with your internet connection and peripherals like a computer mouse and keyboard.
Back in the office, there was probably an IT guy or an entire department that you could rely on. Now, though, the situation is different. You will either need to solve the problems yourself or find someone who can help you.
For starters, view all tips here on how you can potentially solve common computer performance issues and take it from there. If a problem becomes too hard to manage, seek professional help. Less severe problems should be solvable by yourself after a quick search on the internet.
An internet connection should be excellent so that you have as few problems communicating with others online and carrying out other tasks.
If you are on a laptop and rely on a wireless internet connection, switching to an ethernet cable is an excellent way to boost internet speed, even if it comes at the price of losing the portability aspect of your laptop.
Ultimately, it is about making sure that your work tools are optimized and working properly so you can avoid performance problems on them.
Stick to a schedule
One of the biggest benefits of remote work is that you do not have to worry about work commuting. No more staying stuck in traffic jams and barely making it in time. The stress associated with this problem should not be underestimated.
Naturally, when you do not have to get up early to make it to your office, you might start to act a bit sloppy and stay in bed longer than you should.
It is easy to fall into bad habits if you are not careful. You should still establish a schedule and stick to it even if you have to work from home. Not having a routine is not ideal, to say the least.
So, besides waking up at a reasonable hour and going to bed before it gets too late, what are some other key considerations for your schedule?
Well, for one, you should figure out your meals. A proper lunch break is a must because it also gives you an opportunity to relax in the middle of the day and recharge for the second part of the workday.
Waking up early could also be beneficial if you have something to keep you motivated. Perhaps you could do some exercise early in the morning or clean your home? Different things work for different people, so try to figure out how you can improve the situation for yourself.
Also, do not forget to take regular breaks. You can take some guidance from various techniques that claim how one's productivity increases if one takes 5-minute breaks every half hour or so.
Once you figure out your schedule, stick to it so that you have an easier time getting through the day without losing too much motivation, even when things become difficult.
As stated previously, working from home means no in-person supervision. Some companies implement monitor-tracking software, but such policies are not that common, not to mention that they do not eliminate the problem completely.
The likeliest distraction is your smartphone. You feel tempted to check the device even if there is nothing worthwhile. It is about procrastinating. Anything better than doing your work is not the right mindset.
At the very least, disable notifications on your smartphone so that you are less inclined to check it.
Other people might also be a big problem. If you live alone, it is easier, but sharing your home with others could lead to certain misunderstandings. Set boundaries so that they know you should not be disturbed while working.
In case you have noisy neighbors, talk to them and explain that you are working from home. If they are understandable, they will respect your situation.
Some would say that this point can be considered cheating, but you will find more motivation in work if there is something to look forward to.
Rewards can vary from small to significant. For instance, you might have a new episode of a TV series waiting for you at the end of the day. Or perhaps there is a treat waiting for you inside the fridge?
You could also be working extra to make more money and go on a vacation. Purchasing something you wanted for a while could also be a great motivator. You might find yourself working extra hard in your current job or even start a side hustle to increase your income.
Sure, treating money as the sole motivator might not be the best approach, but if such an idea is making you productive, it would be silly not to take advantage of it.
All in all, if finding motivation in remote work is a struggle for you, do not hesitate and take some time to rethink how you can approach the endeavor.
The information in this article should give you plenty of helpful pointers and push you in the right direction. Final choices are up to you, however. As soon as you feel like something is not working, change it.
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