Tips for productive remote employees
With advancements in technology, it has become easier for employees to work from home. From laptops and smartphones to video conference equipment and Slack, there are now a million ways to stay connected with your team when you're not in the office setting.
If you are familiar with the true meaning of WFH for business, you know it has many perks. Even so, remote work can make it challenging to remain productive without the structure of an office. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.
1) Make a schedule and stick to it
The wonderful thing about working from home is that you can do it whenever and however you want. The downside? You can do it whenever and however you want. To avoid the latter and make the most of your WFH days, try creating a schedule for yourself - and keeping to it. For example, wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Establish specific working hours and break times. Having such a structure will help you stay on task.
2) Prepare your at-house workspace
The best way to make working from home efficient is to create a dedicated work area. When you have a designated space in your home that can mimic the same environment as in the office, it becomes easier to stay focused and avoid distractions. Make sure this place is in a quiet, distraction-free area of the house where you can easily transition from personal life to work. Try not to work in bed or in front of the TV; these places are too tempting for distraction. Moreover, keep your work area clean and clutter-free, this will also help you stay organized.
3) Create to-do lists
Make a list of tasks that need to be done each day. Breaking down your work into smaller talks will make it feel less daunting and help you stay focused. Try prioritizing your tasks based on importance and urgency. Putting the most difficult and time-consuming assignments at the beginning of the day will save you energy and nerves by the end of the day when there are only small tasks to finish.
4) Don't forget about short breaks
Working all day without any breaks is counterproductive and will only lead to burnout. Scientists say that a person who spends their day staring at a screen should take a 5-10 minute break every hour. So you'd better spend this time playing with your dog, eating lunch, or just walking around your house.
5) Stay in contact
One of the benefits of telecommuting is that it can be a great way to reduce distractions and focus on your work. But as anyone who has ever worked from home knows, it can also be easy to fall out of touch with what's going on in the office. To combat this, make sure you have good communication tools in place, like Slack or Whoosh. Using them, you can set up regular check-ins, either through a video call or a virtual conference. Also, stay active in your team's chatroom, and jump in if something interesting happens there.
6) Use technology
There are pros and cons to working from home, but technology can help tip the balance in favor of the pros. Try creating a list of tech tools that will help you stay productive while you're on your home turf: use Google Drive and Docs for creating and sharing documents and files, Whoosh or Zoom for virtual meetings, and Asana for task management. Also, prepare quality equipment: laptop or desktop, headset and speakers, microphone, if needed, and other necessary tools.
7) Set home-office rules
To avoid distractions when working remotely, set clear boundaries for yourself and your family members. Stay at a designated work area in your home that is free of distractions, such as TVs or other electronics. Then, set boundaries with your family about when you're available to talk or do activities with them (e.g. no work calls after dinner). And make sure you have daily time that you set aside for yourself to relax, exercise, and take care of personal needs. By doing so, you can achieve a better work-life balance.
Tips for successful employers and managers
If you're an employer who's thinking about hiring remote workers, here are a few tips to help you complete the transition and make sure your remote teams are productive and happy.
1) Create a WFH policy
A WFH policy can help your organization establish a productive and enjoyable work environment for everyone. With a proper policy in place, you can ensure your remote employees are able to stay on top of their workloads and feel connected to the company. You may choose between strict and lenient types of policies. For example, you might not allow employees to work from home at all or only impose limits on the number of hours they can work remotely per week.
2) Implement the right tools
You will also need handy tools and applications for managing remote workers and controlling their and your own work. So try to find the perfect combination of software, using which you can communicate with colleagues, partners, and clients, distribute work tasks, and keep all remote employees working efficiently.
3) Keep in touch with your team
When working off-site, it's easy to lose touch with your team. Furthermore, remote workers also spend less time communicating with each other. This can lead to a decrease in their productivity and motivation to work and make them feel lonely. To maintain communication within your company and improve employee engagement, set up regular check-ins with your remote staff, even if it's just once every week. This will make sure they know they're not forgotten, and you're thinking of them. The easiest way to do this is through a video conference app. Talking with a camera on will make virtual communication feel more real.
4) Host 1-1 meetings
One-on-ones are a great way to build trust with your employees and develop relationships. You can do this by asking them about their day, how their family is doing, or what they did over the weekend. If you want to hold more effective one-on-ones, make sure you ask the right questions and listen to what others have to say. This will help you get a better understanding of your employees and help them feel appreciated.
5) Don't skip onboarding
When an employee starts working from home, it's essential to have a plan for how they'll be integrated into the company. This includes holding an onboarding session, which can help get off on the right foot. Some things that you can cover during an onboarding session for a newcomer include:
- How to work from home effectively
- What the company's remote work culture is like and what is expected of them
- What tools and software they will need to do their job
- What is included in the company benefits packages
6) Don't forget about feedback
One of the most important WFH practices for both employers and managers is giving employees feedback. It's not enough to just send an email once a week with a list of what everyone accomplished. It needs to be done regularly, and the feedback should be detailed. It will be helpful to have an online meeting once a week with all the employees where you can share your feedback and they can ask their questions. Why is it so important? Employees need feedback to understand how they're doing, what they need to improve, and where they achieve better results. They also want to get it to feel connected to their work.
7) Check if your managers have clear expectations for their role
To have a successful work-from-home policy, it's important to make sure your managers are aware of their roles and responsibilities. They need to be comfortable with communicating with employees remotely, understand when workers need to be available, and be able to provide the appropriate level of support. Employees also need to be familiar with their responsibilities and communicate regularly with their managers.
8) Establish high-end cyber security
Since you have remote access to all company data and documentation while working from home, it's critical to take some extra precautions to protect yourself and your business. Unfortunately, cybercrime is on the rise and there are a lot of scams and attack happening these days. Here are 3 ways to improve cyber security:
- Use strong passwords with a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Don't use the same password for all your accounts.
- Make sure all your devices are up-to-date with the latest cyber security protocols.
- Install powerful antivirus software and update it regularly.
By following these simple tips, remote employment can become an effective and productive way for both employees and managers to work.
WFH policies: which days are better for working remotely?
If you're looking for the right answer, there isn't one. Different people work more efficiently on different days, so the best practice would be to allow employees some flexibility in choosing when they work remotely.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when crafting a work-from-home policy. For one, you'll want to consider how your team interacts and collaborates. If there's an important meeting or deadline that everyone needs to be at a desk for, it might not be the best day for your team to telecommute.
On the other hand, some days are just perfect for staying at home and working there. According to research by Doximity, Wednesdays are considered the perfect days for working from home. Why so?
This day divides the week into two ideal parts: in the first half, you can do all the important office business and hold urgent meetings. Then, spend a day working at home on current tasks that do not require much interaction with the team. And at the end of the week go to the office and complete all remaining tasks, discuss the results of the past week and decide on plans for the next.
Bonus: PRO tip for all remote workers
Intrigued? You should be!
But the answer is quite simple - just start using a high-quality and secure video conferencing service. For example, Whoosh.
Whoosh: what's so special about it?
Whoosh is created to make the life of remote teams more comfortable, engaging, and less stressful. For that, it introduced several powerful AI-driven features for online collaboration. Here they are:
- Full-HD quality for true-to-life online gatherings
- Smart assistant for scheduling meetings taking into account the difference in time zones and working hours
- Touch-up tools, AR filters, and 3D backgrounds for getting over video call fatigue
- Smart cloud recordings - Mementos - for creating meeting highlights with transcripts
- Weatherman-style layouts for interactive and engaging presentations
- Upscale web security for keeping all your data and files safe and sound
- Multiplatform support for staying in contact with your teammates using any of your devices
Best of all, Whoosh has a free plan with AI features included. Plus, since it's really easy to use, there's no need to worry about getting everyone on board with using a new app - simply send them a link and they'll be good to go.
Create your own work-from-home best practices
Working from home can be a great way to boost productivity and save on commuting costs. While there are many benefits, WFH requires following some helpful practices to maintain the same high level of efficiency as in the office. This article provided you with a few ideas on how to set up a productive work-from-home space and outlined the best practices for telecommuting. However, without a secure and powerful video conferencing app, you'll not be able to work to your full potential. Hence, it's high time to find an ideal option for you. Start with Whoosh, it's user-friendly and has some unique features that are simply amazing.
And the last thing. Experiment, explore your home office productivity and try to create your own WFH policy. After all, nothing teaches you better than your personal experience.