Working From Home? Here Are Three Keys to Being Successful
Thanks to technology, remote work is easier than you might think
As the nation continues to manage and respond to the COVID-19 virus, people and the companies for whom they work are making some adjustments to their lifestyle and work life—at least temporarily.
Several companies and businesses around the nation are directing their employees to temporarily work remotely as a means of preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the safety and wellness of their employees. If you’re an employee who’s recently been asked to work from home for a period of time, you’ll be encouraged to know that digital technology, cloud-based software and high-speed internet can help make the transition—fortunately—more hassle-free than ever.
If you’re new to working remotely, the reality of doing your job outside the traditional office environment can, indeed, be an adjustment. But don’t worry. With an effective work from home strategy and the right tools at your disposal, it’s possible to continue to be productive, connected to your tasks and team, and remain successful.
Telecommuting’s popularity continues to take off and has grown 10 times faster than other types of employment. Now, more businesses are not only offering it as a benefit; they are making it a normal operating procedure.
As a result, digital skill expectations for new employees are higher than ever before.
According to 2018 statistics from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, half of the U.S. workforce holds a position that allows at least partial telecommuting. What’s more, 80 to 90 percent of the national workforce has expressed an interest in telework, for at least part of the work week. On the whole, 4.3 million employees—3.2 percent of the workforce—now work from home at least half the time.
It’s a reality that, in part, is being driven not only by business demands but technology that’s making it increasingly easier to stay connected to our jobs, coworkers and customers from anywhere an internet connection is possible. Faster and simpler ways to communicate is a benefit to people who make their living from home.
Even with such advancements and their built-in advantages, however, telecommuting presents its own set of challenges.
Plenty of telecommuters enjoy the many benefits of remote work, including a more flexible schedule, less time commuting and being able to tackle personal or household tasks more effectively. However, if you’re one of many telecommuting professionals with a highly demanding career, it can be hard to separate work life from home life.
Here are our top three considerations for success in a remote work situation:
1. Building your workspace
It’s hard to effectively work from home and be productive if you’re not in an at-work state of mind. A key to establishing the proper mindset is to create the appropriate environment, starting with your workspace. Start by picking a spot in your house to designate as your work space and keep it free from things that distract you, including bills, kids school papers, and other paperwork that calls for your daily attention. After establishing a space, you can turn it into a productive area by adding inspiring artwork, organizational systems, and family pictures to lift your spirits when things get difficult.
2. Scheduling your tasks
Once your workspace is ready, a great way to stay on task daily and prevent distractions is to set a work schedule. While it’s important to occasionally step away from your work if you’re stressed or need to re-energize your mind, having a schedule is beneficial. Whether your calendar is digital or paper, color code times throughout the day with what you plan to complete. This is also a great way to make sure you touch all of the important components of your workload every day. The structured hours will also help you learn how to be disciplined at home until it becomes a habit.
3. Putting your technology to work for you
We live in an increasingly digital world, and the modern workplace is no different. In addition to the traditional desk, chair, computer, and printer, software and technology are also necessary. The cost of these office supplies has decreased in recent years as technologies become more simplified and streamlined. Investing a dedicated phone line, a reliable high-speed internet connection, and cloud-based task management systems will help make sure you complete your work responsibilities quickly and efficiently.
Cloud-based technologies and apps allow for management of your work email, documents, project files, calendar and schedule to be accessed from anywhere on a host of devices, including your computer, tablet or phone. There’s an app for nearly every need—and many of them are free.
The benefit of such advanced technology is it keeps us connected beyond the office or worksite. From chat and video conferencing software to email and social media, It’s easy to stay in touch with your company headquarters, managers, coworkers and customers. Also, many Voice over IP (VoIP) business phone systems have call forwarding features that allow your office calls to be redirected to your smartphone.
It’s not just enough to download apps or create accounts. Reviewing training modules in their entirety is also vital so you can utilize all of the valuable features.
By having a dedicated workspace, set schedule, and access and knowledge to effective technology, you will be better equipped to manage the challenging professional lifestyle that telecommuting presents.