In recent years, working from home has increasingly become more common due to the rapid growth in digital advancements. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have been encouraging companies to adopt remote working for their employees, sending millions of office employees all over the world to suddenly become remote employees. Although many people adapted quite easily to working from home, many others struggle to manage working as a remote employee.
Here are 7 tips that anyone can use to become a better remote employee:
- Set a workspace
Set a workplace that replicates a traditional office workspace. Make sure you pick a space that is quiet and has a good, non-distractive background for when you do virtual meetings. Use a table and a work chair that is comfortable enough for you to sit on for long hours. Avoid working on the bed or the sofa as this could potentially cause an ergonomic hazard.
- Be disciplined with your working hours
Whether your company enforces a strict work hour rule, or you have the flexibility to set your own work time, it is still highly encouraged for remote workers to set working hours and be consistent in following it. Communicate your working hours to both your colleagues as well as your family members to avoid any confusion. Although many people swear by multi-tasking, most people perform better when they allow themselves to focus on one task at a time. Avoid doing personal tasks during your work hours or work tasks during your personal time. Being consistent with following your working hours also ensures your colleagues that you are reliable and can be reached during your work time.
- Create a structure
When working from home, creating a structure can optimize your performance. Often, people have a rough idea of what needs to be done but they lack structure and accountability reminders. Below are some tools that you can adopt to create more structure while working from home:
- Daily to-do list
- KPI Checklist
- Scheduled daily/ weekly reports sending to manager or colleagues
- Scheduled virtual meetings with your colleagues
It is also important to remember to keep your managers and teammates in the loop of your structure. Everyone should be aware of each other’s schedules, tasks as well as goals. One of the problems people fall into while working from home is becoming disconnected from the rest of the team, causing confusion, inefficiency, and lack of trust.
- Improve your communication skills
Working from home does not mean you can stop communicating with your managers or teammates, as a matter of fact, it is especially important to maximize communication with them. Learn to quickly adapt to digital communication tools such as emails, virtual meeting tools, digital messaging tools, etc.
Always be reachable during your working hours. If for some reason you can not be reachable at a certain time during your work hour, make sure you communicate this with the rest of your team and manager beforehand. Be consistent in updating your team on your work status.
Without being able to meet your team face to face, it is more difficult to explain the work you have done. Therefore, you should always include a clear description in your email when you share your task with your team members or managers and offer to discuss via virtual meeting if needed.
- Become tech-savvy
It can not be stressed enough how important it is for people to adapt to digital space to maximize their work from home experience. Lack of understanding of digital technology can often be a stumbling block for many people working from home. Many companies also fail to train employees properly in using digital tools causing many employees to have a “culture shock” when they switch to work from home due to the pandemic. Below are a few tools that you need to master to be able to work more efficiently from home:
- Communicating tools such as emails and digital messaging. Many people undermine these tools, but they are essential for communication especially if you are working from home.
- Virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft teams, Zoom, WebEx, and Skype. Learn to use these tools efficiently as chances are you will be using them increasingly for meetings, presentations as well as interviews.
- Digital learning tools. Many companies are adopting learning management systems as well as e-learning courses to replace traditional classroom training. Learn to adapt to use these tools so you can use your time working from home to expand your skillset.
- Social media such as LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many networking events to be canceled. This is especially difficult for sales and business development people to expand their network. Professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn are excellent means you can use to continue to expand your network and be in touch with your industry while working from home. Social media are also very advantageous for marketing as many companies are moving increasingly towards digital marketing as opposed to traditional marketing.
- Continue learning and developing your skills
Do not let working from home stunt you from expanding your skillset. Many people are used to traditional, in-person training classes and seminars for training; however, the recent pandemic has made it difficult for people to conduct them in most places. Luckily, many companies have moved towards digital learning in recent years. Through an integrated learning management system (LMS) and e-learning courses that can be conducted online, many companies can still promote training and skill development even for employees working from home. Digital training is much more efficient, convenient, and flexible. Employees working from home can easily fit their digital learning sessions into their schedules and complete them online.
- Be consistent and reliable
One way you can gain your managers’ and teammates’ trust and confidence is by being consistent and reliable even when you are working from afar. Be consistent with your work ethic and communication. The last thing you want is for people to lose trust in you and feel hesitant to give you important tasks. Remember to always be reachable, submit your tasks on time, and demonstrate excellent communication skills.
We hope that these 6 tips we shared above can help give you some ideas on how you can improve your work from home experience.