The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Belgian workers – stuck at home – to completely rethink their way of working. But how can one be effective while working from home? How to maintain motivation? How to optimize remote work? Here are 10 tips for mastering remote work.
Working from home… Who hasn’t dreamed of it?
For a long time, remote work was a distant fantasy, almost unimaginable. Today, it has become a reality. With the global pandemic, remote work has become widespread: the dream has become a reality.
However, remote work has its challenges. It also involves several significant challenges: isolation, loss of motivation, distractions, lack of efficiency… Remote work demands a lot of organization and self-discipline from the employee.
Here are 10 tips for better remote work.
Tip 1: Establish a morning and evening routine for remote work
Establishing a routine is the first piece of advice for successful remote work. A ritual helps to start the day more easily and end it in a more serene manner. This is especially true when working from home, where the boundaries between private and professional life are blurred.
But what kind of routine should you establish? In the morning, productivity experts encourage getting up at fixed times, meditating, enjoying a healthy and balanced breakfast, and/or sipping a good cup of coffee to clear the mind.
In the evening, you can relax by taking a walk or doing some stretches. Turning off screens at least an hour before going to bed also helps improve sleep quality and start the next day on the right foot.
Tip 2: Dress as if you’re going to the office
With remote work, the temptation is high to disregard dressing efforts. Far from constraints and social norms, working from home tempts some to let go, spend the day in loungewear… or even pajamas.
“Dress up for whom? Anyway, no one will see me!”
Our advice for remote work: dress as if you were going to the office. Dressing up allows the brain to kick-start a new dynamic, to feel more confident, and to assert one’s position, thus boosting performance.
Tip 3: Set up a workspace
A third tip for remote work? Designate a dedicated workspace. If possible, not in the living room. Ideally, set up a desk area away from noise and family habits to create a real separation. Place your desk in a quiet and well-lit area, away from the television to avoid temptations.
The choice of the dominant color of the workspace is also important:
- Yellow enhances creativity
- Purple promotes concentration
- Blue has a calming effect
Choose the shade that resonates with your preferences and makes your workspace pleasant.
Also, keep all the tools and documents you need (pen, notepad, calculator, etc.) near your desk and add a plant or a nice frame to your new space.
Tip 4: Set a schedule and stick to it
For successful remote work, work organization needs to be planned. Determine a fixed time to start working and another to end your workday.
Remote work allows unparalleled freedom and flexibility. You can determine your working hours based on your peak productivity times. Are you more productive in the evening? During the day? Remote work allows you to adapt to your rhythm.
Some miscellaneous tips for organizing your work time and working effectively from home:
- Prepare a weekly and daily to-do list
- Perform tasks that require more concentration during your peak productivity times
- Determine a time when you stop working
Tip 5: Master computer tools
Slack, Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, Trello, Evernote… Equip yourself with the best tools and familiarize yourself with information technologies to work effectively from home and collaborate with your colleagues, even at a distance. These digital tools make remote work easier and help track projects, improve productivity, and communicate more easily with colleagues.
Tip 6: Establish rules with family members
Let’s be honest: maintaining a professional activity at home while taking care of children is not easy. Especially when they are young. A tip for remote work: eliminate time-consuming tasks. With children at home, you have less time to focus. It’s time to cut out unnecessary tasks and automate those that can be.
If feasible, you can also wake up 1 to 2 hours before your child to handle emergencies and plan the day.
Some inventive families establish confinement agreements with their children: “It’s forbidden to wake up the parents before 7:30 AM”, “The children can’t turn off the lights before 8:30 PM”, “Let the parent who’s teleworking work”, “Each child is entitled to one (not too big) whim per day.”
An agreement to adapt to your family and your needs.
Tip 7: Pay attention to your working posture
Another tip for remote work and increased productivity: sit properly in your chair and adopt an ergonomic position. You spend a lot of time on your computer? Ergonomics is important to avoid musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): back pain, tendonitis, herniated disc, tingling, cramps, joint mobility limitations, etc. The human body is not designed to remain constantly still.
Some ideas to find the ideal work position for home work:
- The screen is at eye level (50 to 70 cm)
- Shoulders are relaxed
- Legs are at a 90° angle
- Wrists are not bent in two
- Back is supported by a backrest (preferably with armrests)
Tip 8: Maintain team cohesion
It’s not always easy for remote workers to maintain team cohesion and stay in touch with colleagues when they no longer go to the office or coworking space. Isolation can weaken the work relationship.
Fortunately, some simple tricks can be implemented to strengthen bonds and motivate teams: hold video conferences, organize remote team-building activities, schedule collective coffee breaks, plan virtual happy hours, or create a WhatsApp group for the company.
Tip 9: Take breaks
To remain productive and efficient at work, create a resting area at home and observe break times. Opportunities to exercise, meditate, or simply stretch your legs. Some time management techniques (such as the Pomodoro technique, for example) help take regular breaks to promote mental agility and strengthen memory.
Tip 10: Find a balance between personal and professional life
One of the main challenges of remote work is finding a balance and reconciling personal and professional life. Remote work blurs the boundaries between these two spheres.
Some tips for better remote work and achieving balance:
- Set clear boundaries
- Define priorities
- Get enough sleep
- Allocate some free time
- Create an ergonomic and isolated workspace
- Relax during the lunch break
In conclusion: what tips for remote work?
Working from home has its advantages: flexibility, freedom, cost savings. But not only that. Remote work also brings about profound changes and presents major challenges for employees: isolation, distractions, difficult supervision by employers, difficulty balancing work and personal life. Fortunately, by adopting new habits, adjusting work schedules, and properly briefing children and partners, remote work can also go smoothly and be a real opportunity for remote workers.