10 Best Practices for Working From Home

by Chloe Sesta Jacobs, 4 minutes read
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The majority of the world has been pushed into remote work quite dramatically amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19 and you’re not alone in feeling a little lost as we navigate our way. So just how do we make remote work, work?

Remote work requires a fair amount of discipline to maintain productivity. So use these tips to help get in a rhythm. Soon you’ll be pumping out quality work at the same ferocity as if you were in an office.

1. Set work hours

Remote work is great because it can be flexible, but that doesn’t mean no structure. You might want to do 9-5 each day or perhaps it’s more realistic to break your day up into chunks (you could have two blocks of time or 10). Just set a schedule and stick to it as best you can.

2. Set a routine or daily rituals

It’s vital that your brain can make the transition from work life to home life. Set yourself up with pre-work and post-work rituals to not just set yourself up for the day, but to indicate work is over and you’re ready to “go home.”

3. Turn off your notifications

You’re not truly switching off from work if you don’t switch your notifications off too. It’s so easy to be sitting on the couch, receive a Slack message from a colleague and just reply because you’re “not really doing anything.” However, this is a very slippery slope and can easily turn into hours of work. If anything is critical, you’ll receive a phone call.

4. Talk about things other than work with your colleagues

When you’re working from home, you don’t have the opportunity to bump into your coworkers in the kitchen or backroom. And that can feel very isolating. Each morning, dedicate some time to catching up with one or two people. Use team calls or even set up special meetings to talk about something other than work. It’s a great way to warm up and ease into your day, rather than flicking your switch to ‘on’.

Another tip is to set up a Google Hangouts link or a Zoom call in your calendar that you can always click into and have in the background while you’re working to simulate the experience you’d have while you’re at your desk in an office environment.

5. Stay connected

One of the biggest challenges we’re facing in the world of remote work is loneliness. We shouldn’t be thinking of being separate by means of social distancing. We should frame it with the lens that we’re socializing distantly.

Make the most of video conferencing tools and check in with your teammates (and friends) whenever you can. If you do have a meeting, take the time to go around the attendees and ask them how they’re doing.

Give everyone a chance to speak before you dive into work talk. You could even use the traffic light system, where you ask each person to share whether they’re red, orange, or green at that moment. Not only will this give you an insight into the headspace they’re in, but it can also help you potentially adjust the language or tone that you use.

6. Think about how you’re communicating

Communication is a key part of remote work. With the majority of your communication happening over instant messaging or email, think about how your message could be perceived by the person on the other end. Yes, we should always be assuming positive intent, but if it’s a conversation that would have a clearer (and therefore better) outcome by speaking, then pick up the phone or start a video call.

7. Turn on your camera

It’s really easy to feel isolated and alone when everyone is working remotely, so do your best to have your camera on as much as possible in meetings. Life happens and this might not always be realistic, but it’s important for you to show your face to maintain human connection.

8. Create a productive workspace

As tempting as it is, don’t work from bed. It might seem like a good idea, but it’s a slow descent into sluggishness. Have a designated space that signifies work, but don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit, just like you would do in the office. If you can, sit outside for a while or work from a different room.

9. Shift happens

Life goes on as you’re working remotely. Children require attention, dogs bark, food will be consumed on calls, and delivery people knock on the door. Just because these things happen doesn’t mean the person they’re happening to isn’t as productive as they would be as if they were in the office. Having said that, if you are going to be away from your computer, let your team know so their expectations of you are realistic.

10. Give yourself a break

Cut yourself (and those you work with) some slack. No one expects you to master the art of remote work instantly. It takes time to get into a rhythm that works for you and ensures you’re as productive as possible in your new environment.

Help ease the pressure on managers and staff

Whether you’ve always had remote workers or you’re navigating the transition for the first time, Deputy is here to help you adapt quickly. Try Deputy for free to check out the smart tools to keep your business running efficiently.