Working remotely can feel a bit odd and isolating. A lot of remote workers, at least at the beginning, have a hard time figuring out how to work from home, using the same work patterns they used in the office. No cubicle drive-bys to socialize, no water cooler to gossip around, no clearly defined location to call “work.”
The i-Virtualize team knows what it’s like to work remotely, because we experience it every day. As a fully remote workforce, we’re experts at working from home and getting the job done. According to our employees, here are 10 proven best practices employees should try to follow for a balanced work and home life
1. Create a dedicated workspace
Having a place set aside for work doesn’t have to entail an entire room or a special set up, but it does require a little planning. You need a place where you can work without interruptions and conduct meetings without background sounds. This also makes it easier to set boundaries on work and personal time.
2. Have the right work tools
Ensure a seamless transition between the office and home by making sure you have the right tools for business and know how to use them. Employer-provided remote access, messaging to communicate to your team, working camera and mic for video conferencing, cloud storage, and devices, enable you to increase productivity and stay connected no matter where you work.
3. Develop a routine/schedule
Balancing work and home means meeting both your employer’s expectations and home needs. Letting your supervisor and coworkers know when they can expect to reach you, and being available during those times, builds trust and emphasizes your commitment to the business. It also helps you set boundaries between work and off time.
4. Be flexible and available
One of the benefits of working remotely gives you the opportunity to “take off” during the day when necessary. That means you may have to work evenings and weekends once in a while to help your team complete projects. Just make sure you communicate this or have availability even if you’re not at your computer.
5. Focus on productivity
Schedule a time to be productive and focus only on completing your job tasks. This means putting aside distractions and turning off notifications. Set up times to check email and answer questions. And let your team know to call you instead if there’s an emergency.
6. Balance family responsibilities
With parents working from home—whether it’s a couple or a single parent household—child care becomes another task that must be scheduled. If possible consider asking a friend or family member to help, or pay for a half-day of child care. You’ll be surprised at how productive you can be in 4 hours.
7. Keep communication with coworkers open
Instead of sending an IM or email, call or video chat to discuss an idea, work out an issue, or brainstorm. Sometimes information gets misconstrued in writing and problems can be solved quickly over the phone. Plus it’s a great way to take 60 seconds to catch up.
8. Invest in your time off
Working from home helps you keep money in your pocket—no commuting, less dry cleaning, not going out to lunch, no impromptu stops at the store on the way home. Take those saved dollars and use them for a special vacation, invest in your favorite hobby, or an extravagant evening out once in a while.
9. Stay positive
Working remotely makes it less likely you’ll get caught up in office politics and gossip. This creates a healthier work environment, even a virtual one. Make an effort to keep interactions positive, in writing, on the phone or video. Not only is this best for your attitude, but those sources can be used against you.
10. Establish an end-of-day routine
For many the commute home from a long day in the office was a clear break in the work/home parts of our day. As a remote worker, you need to find something to replace the commute so these worlds don’t complicate each other. Take a walk alone, with family or the dog. Try a workout or yoga class. Spend 30 minutes on a hobby. This separation in the day, helps you be more productive tomorrow.
Adjusting to the “New Normal”
Give yourself time to adjust to the “new normal” of working remotely. Reach out to people who have experience in a remote work environment and see how they overcome challenges and make the digital workspace work for them.
i-Virtualize was founded by IT visionaries who wanted to hire the best team, not just a team who could make it into the office. We were one of the first technology solution providers to embrace 100% remote workforce. This means we have first-hand experience designing, building, managing, and supporting both on-premises and cloud infrastructures for businesses to sustain and empower their remote workforce.
Find out more about us at www.i-virtualize.com.