Understanding the COVID -19 pandemic is temporary and will move through reasonably quickly; most workers will go back to work where and how they worked before. However, if the epidemic happens and lasts for a while, it could cause a more reliable, longer-term shift to remote work. Increase your chances of having a successful venture while working remotely during this stressful period by following the remote working guidelines suggested below.
Finding Success Includes:
- Consistency – Keep regular office hours.
- Ask Questions – If you do not know, ask. Remember, your peers and boss cannot read your mind; you are invisible until you make yourself known.
- Communication – This is crucial for success. It is primarily essential when working remotely. Never make assumptions, be open, flexible, and work with integrity.
- Time Management – Work as though you are on the clock because you are. Plan accordingly. If you do not know your schedule, ask.
- Take Lunch – you will feel more human if you do so without tweeting, Face-booking, and writing report at the same time.
- Take an outside break – walk for 10 minutes, get some air, stretch and clear your mind. Take your phone with you just in case you are needed.
- Set a timer – to take a break, so you don’t wreck your body. Get up and walk around. Multitask, make your phone calls while you are up.
- Work on the weekend – If you’re way behind schedule and desperately searching for a way to get caught up, bite the bullet and rise early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday to get caught up. It’s a sacrifice, but it beats spending the weekday dealing with last week’s assignments while you fall even further behind on current work.
- Have the appropriate tools (software and hardware). To work effectively from home, you’ll need to make sure you have the technology you require, a separate work-space, Internet service that meets your needs, a workable schedule you can stick to, and ways to connect with others. If you are missing something, communicate with your supervisor about your requirements. Get the internet speed you need. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, SharePoint, etc. will help bring the team together and increase the effectiveness of remote communication.
- Inform your friends and family you are at work – just because you work at home doesn’t give you the time to sit and chat with friends. Be honest, use integrity, and realize this is company time no matter the location in which you are working.
- Show Your Commitment – One way to show your commitment is to get up early and send emails. If your boss sees that you replied to her email at 6:30 am, she’s probably not going to question your work ethic.
- Invest in noise–canceling headphones – if you listen to music while you work. They can also help you work in crowded environments.
- Progress Reports – As a remote worker, you’ll need to be your own best advocate for success, notability, and advancement. Make your work known by turning in a work log at the end of the week or even daily. It will keep the line of communication open with your supervisor.
- Self-Discipline – Successful remote workers must be masters of self-discipline, both to get their work done efficiently and to make sure they stop working from time to time to preserve some work/life balance!
- Keep Healthy (Mentally and Physically) – Remote work can be lonely and become depressing if you are not used to being isolated. Keep in touch throughout the day with your peers and supervisor as if you were in the office.
Remote Work and Children
- Keep the same schedule as you had at the office. Continue using parents, friends, daycare, or a sitter. Don’t change any plans if you have a daycare or a sitter currently in place to try to save a few bucks. You are at work – it’s only the location that has changed.
- Use Naptime to Your Advantage – If your kids are still taking naps, then you’ve got an hour – or two or three – of uninterrupted time to focus. Make sure you save this time to complete tasks that require your full attention. If your kids are too old for naps, then make them have “quiet play time” every day at the same time. Some parents have a special box of toys and books that only come out during quiet playtime. For this hour only, the kids get to play with these unique toys, and the limited availability keeps them fresh and exciting.
- Have a Dedicated Home Office – Set up a work-space in your office for your children. Give them a desk that’s just their size, and stock it with things like pens, paper, hole punches, tape, boxes, brochures, and stickers. Give your kids an old keyboard to punch away on, and then let them work in the room with you.
- Practice with Your Kids – Your children somehow know when you’re on an urgent conference call, and they’ll likely choose that moment to burst into your office, screaming about the latest drama they’re going through with their sibling. Believe it or not, it is possible to teach your children not to do this. All it takes is some practice. Children learn through repetition, which is why your kids want to do the same task or read the same book again and again.
- Give them specific instructions, which will vary depending on if you have a spouse or partner at home to help. Pretend to take a call or have a meeting and see how your kids react. Go through this drill repeatedly. Praise and reward them when they start to do it right and give them gentle guidance when they don’t.
Despite your best efforts, there will be days when things don’t go as planned. Be flexible, breathe, and realize this is only temporary.
Written by: Michelle Smith-Schmidt
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