In this blog, we continue the theme of remote working and consider strategies for successful remote working.
As a concept, remote working is a double-edged sword – it is enticing because of the freedom and flexibility it offers, benefits of which have been outlined in The Rise of Remote Working. Conversely, it can create extensive flexibility making it a challenge to establish boundaries. So, considering the various challenges, how do you ensure success at remote working?
- Communication is key
Communication is an essential skill for professionals but even more so when working remotely. Digital communication tools ensure remote team members and managers stay connected with office-based colleagues during the workday. Access to the necessary tools and Wi-Fi will be required in order to keep in contact.
Being familiar with and able to use your firm’s software and apps is important for clear and consistent communication when teams are not altogether in the office.
- Conquer isolation
Although there are benefits in working remotely, particularly in cost savings, there are notable obstacles in working remotely. A prime example being social isolation. Not having that social interaction element present when working in an office can be a negative factor in working outside the office. However, feeling isolated when working remotely can be overcome by getting out of the house. Packing your laptop and heading to the local coffee shop to work provides a more socially interactive environment.
- Create a workspace
Being away from your team and colleagues, you may be inclined to think that you will not be productive. It is essential from the outset to set up a designated workspace or area, which will serve you well for your working day and not permit any non-working distractions to arise.
From a psychological perspective, it will motivate you to work effectively in your chosen remote location – away from your team and colleagues.
- Develop a routine / schedule
Working from home, sadly, is not an opportunity to do odd household repair jobs, binge on back-to-back episodes of your favourite tv show or have a lie-in. It’s inevitable that there will be small, unavoidable household chores to be done but they shouldn’t really interfere significantly with your work s
To be able to work as effectively as you would in a normal office environment, you do need to develop and work according to a routine. Structuring your day whereby you can schedule your activities will help you manage your time efficiently. This will help develop organisational and time management skills, whereby you are able to prioritise tasks.
- Working hours
Having the flexibility to be able to work away from the office should encourage you to work when you feel the most productive during the day. Therefore, it could mean either an earlier start and finish or a later start and finish. However, as you and your colleagues usually work specific hours, you should really work the same hours to enable greater communication with your team. It is important to set yourself boundaries so that you do not work longer than is required, which is tempting when you are working remotely. As there are no office distractions, it is possible to continue beyond your usual hours whilst you are in that mode.
It should be noted that there is a different set of distractions while working remotely, making it easy to get distracted from your work, whether it’s your mobile phone, TV, radio, neighbours, pets or tradespeople working in the house. Such distractions make it difficult to be productive. Therefore, it’s essential to be focused, which could mean switching off devices, taking regular breaks to get some fresh air and exercise and setting boundaries with others in the house. However, having established your day’s working hours as aforementioned, and sticking to a plan should help create more time to focus on your tasks and activities.
- Dress in work attire
Working from home can sometimes make you feel more relaxed and you may be tempted to stay in pyjamas all day. However, that may not be conducive to work. Therefore, to come out of the relaxed state and to motivate yourself into work mode it would be better to treat it as though you are in the office.
That means dressing in your normal work clothes. This will ensure that you are in the right frame of mind, especially ahead of a scheduled video conference call with a client.
There is no right or wrong way in how you approach a remote working schedule. However, based on your strengths and weaknesses, you can adjust your working pattern, taking into account your colleagues and clients.
With the right mindset, process and technological support, it is possible to create a positive environment where you can maintain contact and collaborate whilst working remotely.
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