As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, more and more people have started working from home. In the blink of an eye, working from home went from being a rare occurrence to being “the new normal”. If you’re an employee who has found themselves confined to a home office, then this guide is the perfect read for you.
It’s not just the virus taking over the planet that has made remote work soar. Many people are opting to work freelance-based. If that’s you, or you’re considering working from home as a freelancer, you may be a bit unsure whether it’s right for you. In this guide, we aim to give you some awesome remote working tips for beginners!
Although working from home may sound amazing at first, if you look into it there are some challenges and struggles that come with it. Loneliness can be a big problem, especially if you’re used to working in a big office with lots of co-workers. Time-keeping can be an issue as well, it may be hard to switch off at the end of the day or you may become distracted easily.
Whatever your situation, we aim to give you some great tips and advice on how to successfully work from home, making it an all-round enjoyable experience.
Do you really want to work remotely?
Before you dive into the world of working remotely, ask yourself whether you actually want to work from home. If you’ve spent years working in big offices with lots of other people, you might find remote work a bit of a shock. Consider your personality. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll likely thrive on human interaction.
On the flip side, if you’re very introverted, you may find remote work suits you down to the ground. It’s also worth remembering that remote work can be done anywhere. As long as you have a good internet connection, you can work wherever you want to. You don’t have to remain stuck inside your home office all day.
That’s one of the many perks of remote work, you could sit in that trendy new coffee shop you’ve been meaning to visit. Or why not book a trip to an exciting new country? The possibilities are endless!
Ultimately, when deciding whether to work from home or not, it’s important to consider your personal situation and preferences. Will you be able to work with little to no distractions? Do you live alone and think you’ll be too lonely?
Top 10 Remote Working Tips for beginners
If you’ve decided that working remotely is the right choice for you, then make sure you keep on reading. We’ve got 10 awesome tips for you on how to stay focused and work from home like a boss! Whether you’re looking for remote copywriter jobs, remote web developer jobs, these tips will help you to stay organized and on top of your schedule.
Or maybe, thanks to the current virus outbreak, you’ve suddenly found your standard work week taking place in your home office. You may feel a bit lost. Don’t worry though, just read our 10 tips for remote work beginners, and you’ll be smashing those deadlines in no time.
Communication is super important in the workplace. Without it, hardly anything would get done. When it comes to remote work though, it’s even more essential. If you’ve been used to conveying face-to-face for the longest time, learning to communicate remotely may feel very strange.
When you’re working from home, it’s important to be proactive and to make sure you maintain contact with your team, or clients if you’re freelancing. Not only will this keep everyone updated but it will give your workday structure. Scheduling a regular call such as in the morning is a good idea. It will mean that everyone is on the same page and you can discuss what needs doing on that particular day.
It’s also super important to figure out and discuss your communication preferences. If you’d prefer to converse via email or direct messaging then make that clear. Or maybe you work better with the occasional video call. Whatever your preferences, make sure you discuss this in the beginning so that everyone is aware.
When we talk to each other, facial expressions and body language can tell a lot. They’re key things when communicating with another person. When you’re working from home you lose the ability to visually see how someone is reacting to you.
Sometimes it can be hard to get your message across in a friendly and warm manner through a direct message or email. Your tone of voice can be hard to detect, so ensure you’re taking the time to type carefully and respectfully.
Although working from home can present challenges for you, equipping yourself with the right tools will make the process much easier and less stressful for you. One of the biggest difficulties you may face is setting up your home office. However, once you’ve got everything sorted, you’ll find working remotely so much easier.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a spare room just lying around that you can turn into a home office either. Even if you’re struggling for space, you can still create a comfortable working environment. You can easily find small desks that will fit virtually anywhere. After that, all you need is a comfortable chair and a few lifesaving pieces of tech equipment.
Above all other things, a laptop should be first on your list. As well as that, it’s a good idea to get yourself a monitor, as working on a bigger computer screen will make the remote work-life way easier for you! Other little essentials include a wireless mouse because no one’s got time for wires! A Bluetooth keyboard will also prove to be invaluable in your new home office.
Are you starting a career as a remote WordPress developer? Looking for remote bookkeeping jobs? Or maybe you’re just continuing your current work from your home. Whatever your job situation, a well-organized workspace is essential to being able to work efficiently.
When setting up your workspace, it’s important to consider your current living situation. If you live alone then you’ll have more options and space to work remotely. However, if your household resembles a scene from Eight Is Enough, then you may struggle with privacy while you work.
If this is the case, converting a separate room into an office is your best option as it allows you to keep your family life and work separate from each other.
If this isn’t possible, choosing an area that’s as far away from communal rooms as possible is a good choice. The kitchen table probably isn’t the best place to work remotely! Try to keep your workspace to just one area, as working from a few different places isn’t productive.
However, using a separate area for storage is a good idea as it’ll stop your working area from becoming cluttered and untidy.
4. Peers and Community
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ll know that the “water cooler chats” are an important part of office life. They help boost morale and strengthen relationships between coworkers. Just because you’re now working from home, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this office tradition.
Using team chat apps is an awesome way of maintaining contact with your peers. Unlike waiting for an email to go through, these chat apps allow you to have instant conversations. What makes these apps so appealing is their convenience. You don’t have to go through the hassle of arranging video calls, it’s super informal and a great way to get conversations started.
Another great option is to arrange set times during the day where you and other remote worker colleagues take breaks and have some casual conversation. Taking these breaks will allow you to de-stress and could increase focus and concentration when you begin working again. Try to keep these breaks as “work free” as possible, so you can enjoy it as much as possible.
5. Work Style
When you initially start working from home, you may feel as though you have no structure in your day. When you work in-house, it’s easier to stay focused as there are minimal distractions. Your working style is essentially the way you get stuff done on a day to day basis. Everyone has a different style of working and there’s no right or wrong way, all that matters is what works best for you.
If you’re not sure what your personal work style is, ask yourself, do you work better when you’re on your own and you have responsibility for your own tasks and timetable? Or do you prefer to be given tasks and receive feedback from other colleagues? Do you prefer to focus on one project at a time or several ones at once?
Ultimately, when you work remotely you need to discover your own style, it will help you stay focused and you’ll be able to get the most out of each day.
Achieving that all-important work-life balance is incredibly important when you work from home. When you’re an in-house worker it’s easier to separate the two, but when you do remote work, you may find that it’s a little harder to maintain that balance. It’s easy for the lines between working and living to become a bit blurry, are you at home? Or are you at work?
A good way to start achieving that balance is to set yourself a good morning routine that has nothing to do with work. First thing in the morning you could go for a walk or indulge in some yoga to wake you up. Make your favorite breakfast and actually sit down and enjoy it.
An absolute do not is to look at emails when you’re still in bed! When you’re aiming for that perfect balance, remember that there’s a time and a place for work emails, i.e. at work! If you have a separate work phone, make sure you leave it at your desk where it belongs. If you only have your personal phone, maybe look for a way to disable work-related notifications when you’re not working.
Remote work can be difficult, there’s no way around it. However, there are many techniques you can use to keep yourself focused and organized. To-do lists are a great way of keeping yourself on track and increasing productivity. Because you’ll be on your own when working remotely, you’ll have no manager or supervisor to tell you what to do, so a to-do list is a good substitute.
Preparing a list every morning will give your day structure and whenever you complete a task, simply tick it off. You can always add things to your list as the day goes on so you don’t forget. Set yourself goals and time limits for each task. You could even put the tasks in order of importance, that way the higher priority tasks get done and it’ll be a weight off your shoulders.
If you’re the type of person who gets distracted easily and needs a lot of structure, there are some great apps that can help with your task lists.
8. Align Everyone expectations
When you’re working remotely, it’s important to make sure you know what’s expected of you. Remote work requires clear directions and communication between everyone. If you’re not sure what your manager is expecting, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify for you.
You could always request a one-to-one video call so you’re on the same page. Clear expectations result in better productivity; there’s nothing worse than not knowing what’s expected and then wasting a whole day!
9. Work with Tim frames (sprints)
When you’re working remotely, it’s important to work within the set time frames. It may be tempting to work earlier or later, but this links back to achieving the balance between work and your personal life. It’s essential to know when to log off! For example, if your work time frame is Monday-Friday 9 am till 5 pm, make sure you stick to it.
Another way of increasing productivity is to work in sprints. This is a way of breaking your work down into smaller, more manageable chunks. If you often find yourself with never-ending task lists, sprints could revolutionize your schedule.
The point of a sprint is to assign a certain amount of time for each task. This is great if you work on very complex projects, as breaking it down into smaller pieces allows you to make changes if needed. What makes sprints so effective, is that it helps everyone get on the same wavelength, increasing focus and productivity.
10. Set Time Aside for Yourself
When it comes to working remotely, knowing when to take time for yourself can be tricky. You may be tempted to work overtime, but it’s important to realize that you need downtime too. As a remote worker, it’s essential that you keep your job-related affairs in your designated workspace. Mixing your work with your personal life is a recipe for disaster.
Although the benefits of remote work are abundant, it’s important to remember it’s no walk in the park. The hard truth is that working remotely demands discipline. However, once you get organized and you’ve equipped yourself with the right tech equipment, you’ll be good to go!
Remember to have breaks throughout the day to relax and clear your head. Take advantage of the fact that as a remote worker, you’re able to work in the comfort of your own home! If you want to wear those super comfy sweatpants, go for it!
Ready to Work Remotely?
So, do you feel ready to work remotely? Although remote jobs can be tough, they can be very rewarding. As long as you know what’s expected of you and you follow our useful tips, you’ll be able to get started quickly and easily.
Although remote workers are more susceptible to feeling lonely than in-house employees, there are many ways of reducing those feelings of loneliness. Rather than stay in your home office every day, why not work in a different place once or twice a week? This breaks things up and prevents you from feeling bored and isolated.
By ensuring that you’ve got a suitable workspace and that you’ve organized your schedule well, working remotely could be the best decision you make in your career!
Photos from Unsplash and shoutout to all the contributors there.