Tips for remote working

Lady working at dining table


In these uncertain times, we are all trying to come to terms with the ‘normal’, which is remote working. For some, this is the first time having to work from home and for these people, it’s all about embracing a new way of working.

We have decided to put together a few tips to help you navigate the landscape of working from home.

  1. Always communicate

Not being able to have you coworkers and colleagues a few desks over to be able to run things past can be daunting, but that’s where communication kicks in. With many online applications that allow for remote meetings and video conferencing, make sure that you keep the same contact with your colleagues that you would if you were in the office. A great way to keep colleagues and coworkers accountable and in-the-loop with what you have been up to while working remotely, is to schedule weekly catch up meetings via video conference. It also benefits you to listen to what your coworkers have been up to

2. Invest in Tech

Now is the time to move away from that ‘free-trial’ software and start embracing the benefits that you get when subscribing to cutting edge video and online conferencing technology. These investments could be as small as investing in a video conferencing entry-level package, or it could mean ensuring that you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection at home, ensuring that you don’t skip a beat in the workplace. Even if your company is not investing in the tech on your behalf, investing in these to ensure your success will only keep you standing out above everyone else

3. Create a productive workspace

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when working from home, is assuming that any space that fits a computer will suffice as a workspace. This, however, is not that case. It is so important to ensure that your workspace is a space that allows and encourages you to be productive. Make sure that your work area has a large flat surface that you can sit at. Avoid common areas such as lounges, bedrooms and kitchens. If you can, try and set up a space in a spare room or in a place that others in your house won’t need to use. This helps avoid distractions and allows you to get productive. On this note, make sure that you don’t allow any distractions in your space, such as, hobbies or items that could pull your attention away from your work

4. Schedule your day

Just as you would in the workplace, start your day understanding what needs to be done, you can set out a ‘to-do list’ or just work according to your calendar. The most important thing is to set deadlines for yourself on projects that you may be working in at home. The reason for this is because in the workplace, you may have the pressure of your colleagues asking for delivery of specific projects, whereas at home, you need to keep yourself accountable for these deadlines. Start each day by setting time-limits and deadlines per project at hand.

5. Know when to log off!

One aspect that some of us tend to get sucked into is working more than we should when working remotely. This could be because we don’t need to leave the office to beat the dreaded traffic anymore, or simply because we don’t feel the excited urge to get home to family as we’ve been around them all day. One thing that you need to be strict on when working from home, is ensuring that you log in on time in the mornings and log off time in the evenings. Keep a strong differentiation between home life and work time, even though you are working at home.

6. Create a productivity playlist

The technology that we talked about earlier doesn’t have to be all about connecting with your colleagues. Some of us are used to working in the bustle of a busy open-plan office space. This means that the quiet, lonesome feeling of working from home may actually take away from your productivity. Spend tea breaks and lunch breaks researching your types of productive music and start creating a playlist that you can put on softly in the background while you work. This breaks the silence while at the same time, pushes you to get productive and get your work done.

7. Embrace working from home

After all, it is 2020 and working remotely is becoming a large part of corporate South Africa. Take the next few weeks as a way to start embracing working from home. Look at the small positives that you are faced with every day when working from home, whether it’s not having to wake up two hours earlier to beat traffic, or being able to eat healthy, from your own fridge and not having to search for food in your lunch break or even just the fact that you are in your ‘happy place’ when logging on every morning, make sure you find the positives each day.

Through these uncertain times, where many people are learning to embrace this new way of working, it is so important to keep in mind that you are not the only one. Reach out to a colleague, book a conference call and keep connected as much as possible, and ask for guidance where you feel you may need it, this is a time where we all need to lean on each other and guide each other as much as we can. Take time to learn skills that will grow you in your professional career and share that knowledge with your peers, it is so important to use this time for reflection and improvement.

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