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How to make working from home more enjoyable and efficient

We are going through an exceptional situation where most people are working from home, even those who thought it was impossible for their practice. Suddenly the kitchen turned into an office, and you’re having a major conference call with your partner or kids in the background.

For those new to remote working, this represents a big challenge. But some of us have done it before, and there are a few learnings we can pass on to make your experience less stressful and more productive.

Here’s a list of 7 useful tips for working remotely:  

Set up your workspace

It is easier to stay focused if you designate a specific area to get work done. It could even be in the bedroom or that special corner with beautiful natural light. Make sure you have the right equipment at home to help you be efficient, most importantly a high-speed internet connection and a comfortable ergonomic chair (You don’t want quarantine days to mess with your back). Fix the details that make you feel good, whether that is a cool background for your video calls, a scented candle, a plant or a funny photo.

Stick to your schedule

Set a work schedule for yourself and stick to it. Try to wake up at the same time every day, stop for lunch and make sure to switch off when work-time is over. Differentiate weekdays from weekends. For most people, the morning is the time to get serious work done, so try to complete the difficult tasks early in the day when you’re still fresh.

Use work apps and tools

If you’re not on a team management platform, now’s the time to join one. Online tools such as Trello or Monday will help you organise projects. They allow you to assign tasks, establish deadlines, track progress, all in one place. You’ll have a simple, visual overview of the work status.

It would help if you also used work-related chat tools such as Slack to connect to colleagues. It’s vital that you create a channel for work talk specifically, and don’t overload your personal apps such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger with these conversations. You’ll find it very hard to separate business from pleasure.

Take breaks and enjoy the perks

It’s easy to lose track of time when working from home, and even more during a lockdown. Schedule your breaks, relax and take a little walk even if it’s inside your apartment. Have lunch away from your computer and take some time to refresh. 

We’re going through a stressful time, so you should try to enjoy the silver lining at least. Work in your favourite pyjamas, play any music that you like on speakers, sing along, have a shower in the middle of the day, cook yourself a delicious lunch, whatever suits you.

Over-communicate

A face to face conversation is full of visual and audio cues that help you understand better. When working remotely, try to be extra clear and concise. Speak out when you need assistance, training or support. State the progress you’ve made in the past week, which goals you’ve surpassed and which projects you’ve led. 

But it’s not just about that. Connecting with peers is key for motivation. You might find you lack the incentive to get things done, and that’s completely natural when you’re used to having a dynamic team around. So schedule meetings with them every week to connect on your goals, upcoming projects and daily tasks.

Use video and make phone calls

Don’t just chat. Email, text, and other written methods of communication are prone to misunderstandings and longer periods. When you need a quick fix, you can resolve issues rapidly over a phone call.

Use videoconferences to connect with your team and colleagues more humanly. Especially during a lockdown, video calls can help fight isolation while enhancing team unity and productivity.

Ask for feedback

There’s plenty of people who have gone through the same thing, so don’t be afraid to collect some advice! Ask for feedback on your remote situation. Talk to your colleagues about how it’s working out from them, listen to their experience, and ask your manager about your situation. If you need something, ask. If you’re unsure about the expectations, ask. If you have a particular need, ask!

by Juana