What we anticipated as a far fetched business running approach has now become our new reality. The future of work has come, abruptly and intensely. The average monthly searches for ‘remote jobs online from home’ has increased owing to COVID-19 pandemic. Remote company culture was difficult at first but our high-reaching capabilities as humans and our amazing survival instinct have made it easier to cope. At the end of the day, we are here for each other, whether as co-workers, as friends or even as family!
After months of working from home we all can somewhat differentiate between ‘what is remote work’ and ‘what work from home’ means. The difference may appear to be marginal but is significant. Working from home is exactly what it says it is, which is completing your tasks from the comfort of your home. Remote work allows you to ditch the traditional office settings. Imagine working from the beaches of the Bahamas, or with a view overlooking the Marina Bay skyline, or even while exploring the islands in Thailand! Or it can simply be from the comforts of your home – you can have it all!
There are additional considerations when it comes to adopting remote work. Remote can add a lot of tasks to your ever increasing to-do list. From finding a dedicated workspace to sometimes finding yourself all alone without any workplace buddies, remote working works very differently! So here we are sharing tips, tricks and hacks on how to effectively work remotely.
It feels like the pandemic has come with the pressure of becoming the most productive version of yourself. We all want a perfect work day that includes taking out time for fitness, skincare, cooking, Instagram and Netflix! Understand how your body functions, what are your optimal productive hours and just how much can you juggle between sleep, eat, work, binge and repeat.
Depending on whether you are a morning bird or a night owl, plan your tasks and engagement with the team accordingly. If you are a morning person who starts off early, try to wrap all your independent deliverables within that time frame.
Among the many pros of working remotely is the flexibility of choosing a place you feel the most productive in. It can be your balcony, your couch, a high-end co-working space, or a cafe, there’s always a place that gets you going like no other. Figure that spot and make it a routine to dedicate your office hours there. There’s a reason behind having dedicated workspaces in offices for every employee. Sitting at the same spot each day programs your brain to effectively carry out tasks.
Unless you are working from the Bahamas, there is no reason for you to not have a dedicated workspace. Try decorating the space with plants, pictures, organisers and some mood booster, like aromatherapy instruments, candles, etc. It’s always good to keep a music playlist running. Do things that add positive energy to your work environment and make it more productive.
Ditch the comfy old PJs! You need to let them rest while you work. Rather, switch to loose pants, cotton shirts, or even those co-ord sets. These options are great alternatives to night suits, definitely dressier, and enough to switch your body into #workmode.
Whether you are great at organising things or not, setting work goals definitely makes it easier to finish tasks in a stipulated timeline. An effective remote working ecosystem can be developed by setting proper goals. Go old-school with a pencil and paper “to-do” list or be creative with those spreadsheets you work on every day! According to the nature of the work, define daily, weekly, or monthly goals, and trust us, you are going to love the satisfaction derived from striking those “pending” tasks off the list! In addition, define your work hours properly to keep distractions away. The aim is to maximise work efficiency so that you can enjoy post-work hours guilt-free!
If remote working as a concept is new to you, remember it’s new for your colleagues too! One of the biggest challenges with remote work is effective communication. Make it a point to set clear expectations and communicate with your team about every detail, even if you think it might be of lesser importance. After all, it’s good to follow the same recipe to enjoy the same dish!
Our online status is the remote analogy for our in-office ramp walks. One of the best remote work practices includes ensuring that you have the desired statuses updated so that people around you are aware of your presence, absence or indulgences. Tools such as Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, JIRA Cloud, GitLab, Google Calendar simplify and automate this process. They ensure your teammates are aware of your free slots, can reach out to you over quick chats and even notify you when you are mentioned in an important conversation, etc. Trust us, these tools are smooth!
If you are wondering ‘how to run effective remote meetings’ then striking a balance between chat vs call communications is important. If something important has to be delivered which might require degrees of explanations, just schedule a call but when you need to give a heads-up regarding something, just drop a text. Also, be sensitive to people’s preferences, whether that person would be comfortable in a video call, a telephonic call or a chat. You want to ensure that you’re keeping everyone’s best interest at heart.
Most of us use messenger services to connect with coworkers. Wouldn’t you agree the @mention (tag) feature comes in handy? However, do not @everybody in the group chats unless it’s absolutely critical. Try resorting to direct channels for personal communication. A constant inflow of messages tends to dilute one’s (including self) concentration as we get more involved in juggling between messages and tasks at hand. Again, the key is to be sensitive and aware of the little things that go a long way in handling work stress.
With remote working in place, our office rituals such as lunch gossips, tea time, or friyay sessions have taken a back seat. Now that we are not sitting across tables, it’s our social responsibility to try and check in with our peers at least once in every 3 or 4 days. Initiate short bi-weekly catchup sessions with your office fam or do virtual “Fun Friday” events. Such employee engagement methods for remote employees will bring back the office banter and team dynamics won’t fade away!
Pro Tip: Don’t shy away and keep your camera’s switched off. It’s always good to see the goofy faces of your peers while showing yours. Let them know of your new haircut or super cool work tee. Flaunt it right!
Design your own remote work culture. Strike a balance between work hours and your personal time. If the line between them blurs, you will not only find it hard to relax but also find it extremely difficult to work (efficiently). Take control of your personal and professional life to maximise productivity and relaxation!
In these confining times, we need to learn to cut some slack and realise when to stop and indulge in self-care. Your well-being ultimately contributes to your organisation’s success. Self-care can include the tiniest acts such as taking a 30 minutes lunch break, exercising, a mid day walk, putting on a face mask, or even taking the day off once in a while! You do need to keep your mind and body healthy.
Remote working may trigger Imposter Syndrome in many ways, which means you start doubting your abilities and accomplishments. Being all by yourself topped with the absence of acknowledgment and appreciation definitely takes a toll on one’s mind. The best you can do is to set ablaze all the negativity and try to work on the hacks discussed above! In addition, you can also practice yoga or meditation.
Is remote working effective? The answer is YES! Remote working can be stressful for some, especially if it’s for the first time. However, you can turn the table around by trying to appreciate the pros such settings can offer. Benefits of working remotely include zero travel time, less expenses, more time with your loved ones, and flexibility. You know if you know!
Remote work is the future. It gives you the opportunity to work for companies that are half way across the globe. A platform like Skuad has openings for remote working jobs in South East Asia. There is no one perfect way to work remotely but many! Why don’t you take us up on these hacks and discover what works best for you and your team? You’ll hit and miss a few things but eventually you will do much better than you think you can.
Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Productive!