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How to thrive in a remote working set up? Tips for coping with remote work

It has been three years since the pandemic and the trend and the need to work remotely continues in many businesses across the globe. It is safe to say that remote working before 2020 was considered a benefit, or a perk that only great or forward thinking companies would offer but since then a lot of companies moved from office to remote working for good when they realised the benefits and potential of remote working (RW). In some companies such style of working was already in place with IT infrastructure and support for its employees, in others it was a novelty and something that may have been considered but in 2020 many companies had to quickly switch and learn on the go.

A woman sits on a bed with her laptop in front of her. She works remotely from home.
Remote working - your home office reimagined

In whichever company you work for, or if you find yourself in a new reality of remote working here are few of my tips for remote working that I found personally useful. Here are my top tips for successful and productive remote working:

  1. Separate time for work and life - while you are working at home, it Is easy to blend in the two; time for work and private life. As a result our work life balance suffers and we work at 10pm. If you are working 9 - 5 ensure you are very productive during these hours and stop working after 5 - this will help you keep great balance and be productive at work.

  2. Do not do house chores while you have your work time - although it is tempting to put the laundry on, or quickly hover or wipe the dust - these small chores add up and the time spent on doing them adds up too. To avoid wasting your work time for chores, plan to do them before or after work - just when you would usually commute.

  3. Prepare your lunch in advance - similarly to the point above, make sure you have your lunch ready. If you start cooking at your lunch break, you won't finish on time and as a result will take a longer lunch break, perhaps even cooking well into dinner time - it will take you longer than your break plus you need time to eat that food as well. I did that sometimes and realised that even when I was preparing something quick, it would take more than my break. So I started preparing the night before, so on the day I would only heat up or finish off my lunch.

  4. Adequate working space - half lying on the couch won't cut it. Maybe if you work remotely on odd days then yes, but if you have regular time when you work from home then I would suggest you ensure you have adequate space. Of course think of desk and chair, right lighting etc. whatever you need to be comfortable and productive in a similar way you would have such equipment at work.

  5. Set a routine - nothing better than a routine just as if you were going to the office. That means wake up at a certain time, have your breakfast or coffee, do your make up /shave , dress up (if you have to or want to) etc. setting up routine like that will help to be more productive and start on time. It is easy to have a lazy morning while you don't commute but this may often lead to delayed start to your working day, lateness for meetings or calls etc.

  6. Exercise and move - while we cut down on commute and possible run to the train station, it is important that there is a dose of daily exercise. I suggest you set a time for a walk even if it is 10 minutes before or after work so that you do not end up sitting at home all day. Additionally you may be missing out on a tea / coffee walks to the cafeteria in your office, so make sure you stand up and move around as well. For me a good schedule was 55minutes of work - 5 minutes of walk and movement around the house.

  7. No disruption - it is tempting to switch TV on and keep an eye on the news, soap-opera, or videos on music channels but these are all great distractors that you do not have at work, so unless you are immune to that - then do not tempt yourself.

  8. Location, location, location - if you are able to work from a gorgeous sunny place under a palm tree, you Amy want to ensure you have good wifi access for when you need it - especially video calls. For those calls as well you want to make sure you do not have background noise of the loud restaurant or coffee shop, playground etc. as this can be irritating for the caller. Also not everyone may appreciate your beautiful views of the palm trees and sea - so better have a background of the wall ;-

  9. Standards - your company may have remote working policy where your Dos and Donts will be listed, your manager may give you guidelines of what she/he expects from you while you work from home, or you may have none of the above. However; you are still an employee and there will be some standards that need to be kept, as I mentioned above good environment for calls, appearance, or availability are things that jump to my mind right away.

Some work standards need to be kept, regardless of the location you are working from.

Although the above tips may seem like a lot of no what they will give you is productive time during your working hours. What I found whilst working from home is that I do not have my usual office distractors and was able to do much more work than in the office, which resulted at times finishing early and then I was able to do all things I tell you not to do... :-)

Of course, these are very subjective but I still believe very practical tips on set up and logistics of working from home.

However; if you are managing people online, or need to deliver engaging presentation online there are other factors to consider and to know what they are... follow for a separate article to appear here soon.

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