A whopping 66 percent of the American workforce has started working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps even more intriguing than that statistic is the fact that 43 percent hope to maintain their remote-working set up even after the threat of COVID-19 disappears.
Of course, not everyone identifies with these remote workforce statistics.
Many of us have struggled to adjust to our new place in a remote workforce. It can be tough to focus at home — and the distraction-free workplace you’re used to is closed until further notice.
So, how can you adjust to make telecommuting a successful venture? Try these six tips to get back to work — and perhaps enjoy your new remote-working setup.
1. Designate a Workspace
Perhaps the hardest task for the remote workforce is creating a productive place to work. At the office, you have a desk, and once you sit down, you snap into a productive mindset. The chaos and distractions at your abode might not create the same vibe.
So, find a spot in the room where there’s little foot traffic and activity. Set up a table or desk there, and promise yourself you’ll only use the surface for work. That way, you’ll start to create that same sit-down-and-focus mentality you have at the office.
A dedicated, quiet workspace will help you reach your productivity goals, even if you’re working from home.
2. Set a Schedule
When you went to the office, you probably had a set arrival time that would dictate your entire morning routine. Now, though, you can roll out of bed and start working whenever, which doesn’t give you much time to get in the mindset to work.
So, choose a time that you’re going to log on each day and stick to it. You can build in breaks for lunch or helping your kids with their schoolwork, for example. But it would be best if you stuck to a regimen every day to boost your productivity.
Not only will this help you, but it will help your coworkers, too. They need to know when you’ll be online, and sticking to regular office hours will help everyone collaborate and succeed.
3. Try Time-Management Tools
Another surefire way to get work done is to try a time-management tool or app.
These tools can be simple, recording the amount of time a particular task takes you to complete. Or, they can be more intensive, blocking out social media and other distracting sites so you can focus on your work.
Regardless of which one(s) you use, you’re sure to find that they help you focus and get the job done. And, if you don’t like the virtual time managers, you can go old school — a written list of what you want to accomplish could be enough to keep you on track.
4. Learn How to Manage a Remote Workforce From Afar
If you’re in charge, another layer of working from home is learning how to manage your team. Unfortunately, there are a dozen common mistakes made by bosses during these unprecedented times.
So, as you adjust your work style to match the current remote-working situation, you will need to change your managerial style, too. Be more communicative than ever with your team about expectations. Laud them when they achieve major milestones — it’s just as hard for them to focus as it is for you.
Don’t forget to try apps designed to help you collaborate from afar. If you can’t meet in person, then gather from afar with an app that lets you co-work on a document, project or presentation.
You’d be remiss if you didn’t inspire the same camaraderie you’d have in the office. Gather for team video chats or even virtual hangouts — a Zoom with drinks is the next best thing to your weekly trip to happy hour.
5. Take Breaks
We mentioned before that you should work breaks into your schedule. It’s so essential to the remote workforce that we want to highlight it on its own.
There’s so much going on in the world at the moment. You may feel like you shouldn’t be stressed out because you’re at home. However, more than half of Americans are more stressed now than they were pre-pandemic.
That’s all to say that your mind’s already clouded. So, when you sit down to work, you may be productive at first, but, eventually, you lose your steam. When that happens, your mind can start to wander, and you’ll lose focus altogether.
Rather than trying to push through, give yourself ample breaks while you work from home. Breaks have benefits to both your body and mind. In terms of the latter, you will return to your desk feeling refreshed, more creative and more productive.
So, if you start to feel antsy, or if your mind starts to wander, it could be time to give yourself a breather — and while you telecommute, you should.
6. Ease Back Into In-Person Meetings
Right now, you have to work from home. Perhaps your company will decide to maintain its remote workforce post-COVID-19.
If so, you should try to meet in person occasionally, even if you all still work from home. These regular face-to-face meetings will keep everyone connected. It helps build real-life bonds with your colleagues and makes collaborating all the more important — you don’t want to let down a friend.
For now, though, you have the aforementioned chat and collaborative apps. Keep using them to maintain your friendly workplace relationships until it’s time to meet in person again.
Join the Remote Workforce With Ease
It’s certainly an adjustment to join the remote workforce, especially as unexpectedly as we all have in 2020. However, with a few tweaks, you can make it work — and you may even come to prefer it now that you know how to do it well.
Need more remote-working advice? We can help. Learn about how we’ve helped businesses make the switch to working from home by clicking here.