Let's jump into the world of employee happiness through data. In this blog, we discuss the insights hidden behind the numbers.
Today, many people have been afforded the flexibility to work from home or in a place that is not their office. We did it! We made what seemed the impossible, possible and in the most difficult of circumstances.
Largely due to the global pandemic, remote work has gained significant traction. In this blog, we’ll provide you with some handy tips to enhance the remote experience and explain how you can work from home in a healthy way.
Working remotely offers numerous perks, including flexibility, increased autonomy, and reduced commuting time. However, it also poses unique challenges that can impact productivity and well-being.
To help both employees and employers navigate this new work landscape successfully, we have compiled a list of valuable tips for working remotely. With flair being a remote-first company, these working-from-home tips are the result of the team getting together to brainstorm home office hacks.
Establish a Dedicated Workspace: Creating a designated workspace is crucial for maintaining focus and separating work from personal life. Dedicate a specific area in your home for work-related tasks, ideally away from distractions and noise. Set up a comfortable ergonomic chair, get the wi-fi sorted and a spacious desk, and ensure proper natural light to optimize your productivity and concentration.
Stick to a Routine: While remote work offers flexibility, it's essential to establish a daily routine to maintain structure and discipline. Set consistent working hours and stick to them. Wake up at the same time each day, and follow a pre-work routine to signal the start of the workday. Structured routines help to create a productive mindset and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Communicate Regularly: Effective communication is the key to successful remote collaboration. Stay connected with your team through various communication channels, such as video calls, instant messaging, and project management tools. Proactively share updates, clarify expectations, and be responsive to your colleagues. Regular communication fosters a sense of camaraderie, minimizes misunderstandings, and ensures everyone stays on the same page.
Set Clear Boundaries: Working remotely can blur the line between work and personal life. Establish clear boundaries to avoid overworking and burnout. Define specific working hours, take regular breaks, and disconnect from work when your day ends. Communicate your availability to your team, family, and friends, so they understand when you are focused on work.
Practice Self-Care: Remote work can sometimes lead to a sedentary lifestyle and neglect of self-care. Take active steps to prioritize your well-being. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, practice mindfulness or meditation, and ensure you have a healthy diet. Even mobility exercises will help to ensure you get the most out of your workout routines, and is important if you spend most of your working day sitting down. Schedule breaks throughout the day to stretch, hydrate, and recharge. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is vital for maintaining productivity and job satisfaction.
Minimize Distractions: Working from home presents various distractions that can hinder productivity. Identify potential distractors and implement strategies to minimize their impact. Create a quiet environment by using noise-canceling headphones, block distracting websites, and establish rules with family members or housemates to avoid interruptions during your working hours. By proactively managing distractions, you can maintain focus and maximize productivity.
Get the Right Tech: Remote work means having to find ways to collaborate with colleagues outside of the traditional office environment . Familiarize yourself with various digital tools and platforms that facilitate remote work, such as HR management software, video conferencing tools, integrated messaging apps like Slack, and cloud storage solutions. Take advantage of these technologies to enhance communication, streamline workflows, and optimize efficiency.
Seek Social Interaction: Working alone and at home can sometimes feel isolating, so seeking social interaction is crucial. Meet a friend for lunch, walk the dog, or do anything else that brings you some sort of engagement that doesn’t involve work.
In addition, you can join in virtual team-building activities, participate in online communities or forums related to your profession, and attend virtual conferences or webinars.
At flair, we make sure to catch up with everyone through our Friday games event, flair Fiesta.
It’s true, fostering connections with your colleagues beyond work-related discussions boosts morale and strengthens team bonds.
Let’s go into a bit more detail about making remote work a healthy environment. Working from home and working from an office have significant differences. And if this relatively new work concept is not managed correctly, then certain bad habits can start to creep in and negatively impact one's mental health. While some individuals effortlessly adapt to remote work, others may encounter difficulties and require effective self-care practices to maintain their well-being.
One particular challenge of remote work is the blurred boundary between work life and personal life. When leaving a physical office at the end of the day, there is a natural mental separation from work. Even though thoughts about work may persist beyond regular hours, there exists a clearer barrier compared to working from home.
In a remote work setup, the physical space often remains the same throughout the day, even if there is a separate office room. This lack of environmental change underscores the importance of practicing self-care and establishing boundaries between work and personal life.
Pomodoro Technique: Implementing simple self-care techniques can significantly enhance mental well-being while working from home. In a 2021 trends study by Vagaro, 75% of Americans said their self-care activities provide stress relief.
An effective approach to time management and self-care is the Pomodoro technique, which involves dividing your day into 30-minute intervals. Within each interval, you dedicate 25 minutes to focused work while eliminating distractions. To mark the end of this work session, set an alarm. Afterward, take a five-minute break to relax and engage in activities unrelated to work, such as checking social media, connecting with a friend, or stretching. Repeat this 30-minute cycle throughout your day.
Proper Lunch Breaks: Irrespective of whether you adopt the Pomodoro technique, it's essential to prioritize a dedicated lunch break in your schedule. Avoid the temptation to eat at your desk and continuously work without a break, as this can lead to burnout. Instead, fully disconnect during your lunch break. If possible, take a refreshing walk outdoors to benefit from fresh air and exercise. If daytime walks aren't feasible, consider going for a walk after you finish work. This practice will provide a sense of separation and closure for the workday.
Physical Exercise: If going outdoors for a walk is not an option due to weather or other constraints, you can opt for physical exercise or a home workout. Engaging in brief exercise routines not only benefits your physical health but also improves your mental well-being, as exercise is a proven mood booster. You can find more information about agile working in our article here.
Dress for No Stress: Lastly, it is important to dress for work every day, even when working from home. Although the idea of lounging in pajamas might seem appealing, it is counterproductive. Following a morning routine, getting dressed as if you were heading to the office, ensures increased productivity. It facilitates a swift transition into work mode, as individuals tend to perform better when wearing attire associated with work.
When it comes to working remotely, there is no such thing as too much communication. Ok, maybe you shouldn’t be telling your co-workers every single hilarious thing that your cat is doing, but when it comes to work stuff, it’s much better to overcommunicate than to not communicate enough.
Be Visible: If you are responsible for managing remote employees or entire remote teams, effective communication and inclusivity are crucial. When a team operates remotely, it can be challenging to cultivate a strong team spirit and promote collaboration. However, it is still very much possible. One effective approach is to ensure that all individuals involved in a project or task are actively engaged in the conversation. Moreover, providing visibility into each team member's work and their contribution to the overall objectives helps everyone understand their role in the bigger picture.
A feature of remote work is that employees can be anywhere in the world – all you need is an internet connection – and teams can be collaborating across countries and continents. This means that people may be working in different time zones from each other, with working hours that are either totally different or that just overlap. In these cases, it’s even more important to maintain good communication and to make sure everyone is informed.
Use Project Management Apps: A great way to make everyone feel included is by using project management apps like Asana, Noion, or Trello. These apps allow you to create projects and assign tasks and deadlines within them, along with a multitude of other functions. Everyone can see what is being worked on and what they have to do. For managers, it is an invaluable way to track progress, and for an employee, it helps you see what you’re a part of. Regular check-ins are also invaluable. If you’re a team lead, regularly check in with team members to see if they are on track or need any support, and if you’re a team member, don’t be afraid to check in with your manager to keep the communication flowing.
Explore Messaging Platforms: If your workplace isn’t using it yet, Slack is a great tool for communicating within a team. It’s an instant messaging service where you can also create groups and channels. The advantages over email are that you can chat back and forth instantaneously, plus channels can act like a news board, where everyone can stay informed of the latest product updates or social media ideas, for example.
In a large company with a lot of updates, we recommend adjusting your notifications for groups and channels – Slack can get really busy! At flair, we have our own Slack-integrated features which allow staff to manage their day better.
You can even have people from outside the organization, like freelancers, join a company’s Slack for projects they may be a part of. This is a really good feature as it enables full-time employees to easily communicate with freelancers, and makes the freelancers feel a sense of greater inclusivity with the project. Also, you can also use UCaaS systems that unite all business communication channels and third-party software integrations within one unified platform to prevent miscommunications that negatively impact customer experience and team productivity.
A real danger for remote workers is burnout. The primary factor behind this is that remote work can blur the boundaries between your professional and personal life, consequently affecting your work-life balance. Many individuals working remotely often find it challenging to disconnect from work entirely. However, it's important to note that this situation is not inevitable.
One of the best things you can do as a remote employee is to create a dedicated workspace at home. Only use this space for when you are working, and then leave it at the end of the work day.
If creating this kind of workspace isn’t possible, you could try switching up your work environment. Instead of working from home, perhaps you could work from your local coffee shop, or you could look for a co-working space to join. Just changing your scenery in this way can help to stave off burnout and being around other people, even if they aren’t your co-workers, can really benefit your well-being.
As well as taking care of your working environment, another important factor to be mindful of in order to avoid burnout is work hours. When you are in a physical office, there is a time at which everyone normally goes home. But when you are already home, working past this time is easy to do, and if you’re a dedicated employee you can find yourself regularly putting in extra hours and responding out of hours to phone calls. This can lead to overwork and eventually burnout. As much as possible, stick to a regular work schedule and create a mental boundary between work time and home time.
In our hyperconnected world, fixed offices are no longer as essential as they once were. This means that your next job could very well be a remote job, or your company may decide that working from home is the new standard for all employees.
Working remotely offers numerous benefits, but it requires adaptability and intentional effort to maintain productivity and well-being. By following these remote work tips, including establishing a dedicated workspace, adhering to a routine, and effectively communicating with your team, you can thrive in a remote work environment. Remember it’s important to set clear boundaries or ground rules and prioritize self-care.
For more work tips and HR insights, check out our other flair blogs here.