Working remotely has been significantly increasing in popularity over the last decade, jumping up 44 percent in the last five years. Now, with COVID-19 self-isolation orders, more and more Americans are working from home.
As the current workforce transitions from in-office work to telecommuting, there is a slew of adjustments that must be made—many of which are expected, like hardware and software updates, increased internet speed, and even training on apps like VPN systems and virtual conferencing services. There are also several other adjustments that need to be deployed to not only ensure productivity but also preserve some sanity as you find yourself separated from colleagues. Here are four unexpected ways to help you become a remote working master.
Set a Morning Routine
There are some very obvious benefits of working remotely. You no longer have to stress over your wardrobe, contend with the rush-hour commute, or try and beat the crowd at Starbucks. Just because your new remote working office is now just a few feet from your bedroom, however, doesn’t mean you should toss out your previous morning ritual.
Get in that morning workout, hop in the shower, get dressed in (comfortable) business attire, and head to the kitchen for that cup of coffee before making that significantly shorter “commute” to your office. That continued routine will help your brain mentally prepare for the workday.
Create White Noise
A quiet home office might be starkly different from the usual noise- and distraction-filled office you’re used to. While the reduction of distractions can prove beneficial for productivity, it is sometimes difficult to work when it’s too quiet. Time to get some noise cued up in the background.
White noise machines can be great for adding ambient sounds and even help drown out the neighbor’s barking dog. If your new workspace is equipped with an Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa for some white noise help in the form of a babbling brook, fireplace, thunderstorm, or locomotive train. The website Coffitivity is also an option if you work best with a lot of background noise. The coffee shop-style noise creates the illusion of a busy work environment.
Change Workspace Scenery
When working remotely, the first rule is to set up a designated area away from distractions to help you concentrate on tasks. But when the three o’clock slump creeps in, consider relocating your workspace for a change of scenery. That change might be outside as you enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. You might also relocate to the kitchen where you can enjoy an invigorating snack while also using the kitchen counter as your new standing desk.
Without a crew of coworkers around to invite you to lunch or chat around the watercooler with, breaks are often overlooked. Time away from your computer, however, is necessary to maintain productivity and mental well-being during your workday. So make sure to take a break at least 15 minutes every couple of hours. Here are some great ways to ensure you take a break while working from home:
- Throw in a load of laundry and set the alarm. You’ll have to go switch it over every 50 minutes or so.
- Take out the garbage or load those breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.
- Program your smartwatch to prompt a breathing or stretching routine every 90 minutes.
- Opt for a smaller water bottle or cup so you’ll need to get up and go to the kitchen for a refill more frequently.
- Walk the dog around the block.
- Take all phone calls standing up.
Remote working might be a new reality for many people right now, but with a few unconventional tips, anyone can master this new normal.