Remote working has been on an upward trend over the last decade with more and more people kicking the commute and starting to work from home, but in 2020 there have never been so many people working remotely as there are now. It has been a tough year for most of us and I think we are all looking forward to ringing in the New Year with hope that some sort of normality will resume. But whether such a large proportion of the workforce will still be working remotely at the close of 2021, we will have to wait and see.
According to the UK ONS (office of national statistics) in April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home. Of those who did some work from home, 86.0% did so as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Of those who did some work from home, around one-third worked fewer hours than usual (34.4%), and around one-third worked more hours than usual (30.3%).
There are mixed feelings towards working remotely, with some embracing the change to their daily working lives and others struggling with productivity now their usual routines have gone out of the window. However, kicking the daily commute has probably been the biggest reward for the new remote workers. Being able to gain those precious daily hours that would normally be spent commuting seems like a huge win, but are they being put to good use or being lost in the void of the new unstructured norm.
If done right remote working can be a winner all around, with people gaining extra time at home that they would never normally have and with employers being able to save costs of having huge expensive offices.
Here is Careersaas’ guide to help you become a work from home winner:
- Know what is important to you.
Working from home can be lonely, so working out what social interaction you need is key. Do you need social interaction on a daily basis and does it need to be face to face. If you are lucky enough to have Slack in your work place is that enough to help you feel connected with your colleagues?
Does having structure keep you on track? Or do you thrive on being able to work in your own time with less distractions?
Knowing what is important to you is key to making you a success whilst working remotely, so that you can structure your day accordingly.
2. Over communicate
Don’t go under the radar just because you are not in the office and visible. It can so easily happen that by being on your own you can forget to share what you have been working on with your colleagues. People just popping over to your desk to see what you are working on and having a catch up next to the coffee machine are a thing of the past when you work remotely, so it’s so important to make sure you share.
Make sure that weekly you are following the 3 steps below:
- Talk about what you have done over the last week
- Talk about what you plan to do the following week
- What might you need help or assistance on.
You are then also giving your colleagues the opportunity to comment and provide feedback to help you keep on track.
3. Having a dedicated work space
Having a place in your home that is fully dedicated to you working is so important. That division between being able to move between your work space and a place to go when you clock off is so important. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a home study when you can shut the door on your laptop at the end of the day, but by being in a different room to when you might relax later really helps as you can then step away and switch off from work mode. When you have finished for the day, either close the door or put away the laptop to allow you to fully switch off at the end of the day.
4. Start and end at a specific time
Now we know that this is not always possible, as deadlines loom and issues that can’t be left to the next day sometime occur. But on a normal day make sure you know what time you plan to start and when to finish. This will keep you on track and help to stop your from straying away during the day. If the work day is left open ended from when you wake up till when you go to sleep it is easy to put things off and not end up getting them all done. Now things don’t always go to plan and the beauty of working remotely is that you can make up the time later if something crops up in the day that you want/need to attend to.
5. Take a break
Once you are into the rhythm of working at home it is easy to get sucked in and not take a break. If you were in the office you would go to get a coffee and end up inevitably bumping into someone for a chat or head out to go and get your lunch. You are also allowed to have a lunch break when you are home. Pencil out that hour in your diary so that you aren’t expected to be contactable and have a walk or do some exercise. Having a release from the desk is really important and you will find you come back invigorated after.
6. Don’t get distracted
When no one is watching you it is so easy to get distracted and loose focus. Don’t turn on the news or open your Facebook app, as suddenly you can find yourself going down the rabbit hole of social mind control and you can loose hours of your day. Act like you were in an office and only read the news and social media before and after work when you are having down time.
7. Don’t forget to socialise
This is really important, especially if you are a normally social person. The need for human interaction differs between us all, but most of us need to see other humans and have conversations that are not all about work. Make sure you make times to see or speak to your family and friends, so that you can talk about your week and also off load. If you can get out of the house and visit someone then make sure you do it will make a huge difference to your mental well-being.