The coronavirus pandemic is keeping people at home. Most of the global population is on lockdown, and even countries that are not are encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds as much as possible. Employers are also letting their employees stay at home and work remotely to minimize crowding in the office and risk spreading the virus.
If you’re new to the working remotely lifestyle, whether due to the pandemic, or maybe you’re venturing out and going freelance, or running an online business, you need these essential things to make working from home a success.
1. Internet service
If you have to work from home, you’ll need to connect to the Internet to get most things done. Whether you’re a writer, blogger, entrepreneur, consultant, etc., communication and virtual meetings are just a few things you need to do over the Internet. This will enable you to complete your work on time and communicate with colleagues or clients. Without a good Internet connection, it can lead to grainy video calls, communication issues, and prolonged download times.
Ensure you get the best Internet deals because you can be more productive with a consistent and decent high-speed connection. Nothing can be worse than not getting things done because your Internet is always out or too slow.
2. Have a schedule.
Ensure that you have a schedule set for the time you’ll be working and stick to it. Having written guidelines for when to work and when to rest will help you maintain a work-life balance. That said, one of the reasons that most people like working remotely is flexibility. Sometimes, you need to start early or work late at night to accommodate your clients’ or customers’ time zone. When you have to work late or wake up too early, ensure that you finish earlier than usual, or sleep in and wake up later than usual the next day to make up for it.
You can also use automatic tracing apps and reminders that help you know if you’re sticking to your schedule. They also help you figure out which times of the day you’re most productive versus when you’re procrastinating or slacking off. You can use this information and do your most important tasks when you’re at the peak of your productivity level, and do the easy ones like checking emails and answering messages when you’re in the least productive state.
3. Create an office space.
Ensure that you have that one space in your home that you consider your dedicated workspace. It doesn’t have to be the entire room, but make sure that you don’t confuse your working space with your leisure space. Simply putting your desk anywhere in the corner of your home will do the job. Libraries and coffee shops are also popular places to work, but it’s safe to work at home with the issue of maintaining social distance.
In a typical office setting, employees usually have two computers, one for work and one for private activities. However, for some people working from home, they can’t afford to have two separate computers. If you can afford to have two, then good for you, but if you can’t, ensure that you create two user accounts, one for work and one for your stuff.
4. Ask for what you need.
If you work for an organization that supports your working from home, request the equipment you need as soon as you’re settled and ready to work or a few days after realizing you need something new. It’s essential to ask for what you need early enough to work comfortably and be more productive. Any software, VPN, monitors, or any other equipment you need will ensure you do your work effectively. Some companies also offer tech support for their remote employees, which is an added advantage, especially if you need something repaired or installed.
If your work is freelance or running an online business, then you’ll have to set up some of these things on your own. Don’t forget to ensure your online work is secure by using VPN. There are various options to pick from online. You can subscribe to an option within your needs and budget.
5. Socialize with colleagues and friends.
Loneliness, isolation, and disconnect are all common results that are associated with working remotely. Organizations with remote work culture usually have ways in which their employees can interact and socialize. For example, some companies set communication channels or virtual meetings where employees chat and talk about common interests other than work. Others have meet-ups for people in the same region and sometimes even retreats, but now, with the coronavirus pandemic, they can only have virtual meetings to keep everyone safe.
Ensure you participate in such meetings to keep your social life active. This is especially critical for people who live alone. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need, even if you’re naturally introverted and shy away from socializing. Give it a try; you never know, you might enjoy yourself, plus it’s healthy for your mental health.
When running a business at home on your own, it’s very easy to be engrossed in your business that you forget to leave time for yourself to socialize with family and friends. Ensure that you set some time to catch up with friends and family. It’s good for your mental health, and a little rest will even boost your productivity.
Most people who work remotely are incredibly disciplined. After all, it takes some serious focus to do serious work at home. It’s okay to lose your attention once in a while; you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. It’s essential to find a routine that best works for you. If you’re more productive early in the morning, then take advantage of that, and if you find you’re more productive late at night when everyone is asleep, set a schedule around that time. Above all, remember that you need to balance productivity with self-care. As much as you work, you also need time for yourself, family, and friends.