Seven remote work habits you should avoid
If you haven't quite got your routine down, Rachel Eleza is here with a few 'don't's for all you home workers.
For the first time in history, there are more people working remotely than in traditional offices. Most employers and employees weren’t prepared to make the transition to this and that has precipitated many challenges especially to employees.
Some of the challenges that most first-time remote workers are experiencing include:
- For workers who live alone, social distancing has left them feeling isolated and unhappy, and that has had tons of negative implications on their productivity.
- Staying motivated has been a challenge to many, particularly for employees who are used to working in groups, as team members.
- Time management is an issue for many. It is very hard to differentiate office hours from family and social time when all you do is stay indoors.
- Some employees are working too much at the expense of their health and social life, which has led to many getting fatigued and unproductive.
One way of countering these challenges would be to move your workstation from home to a coworking space. There are tons of benefits that come from working from a coworking space compared with working from home.
For starters, working in a shared workspace helps you to keep the balance between work and home life, without having to go to your office. Achieving that balance is important for your productivity and mental health.
The other way would be to continue working from home but avoid these seven remote work habits:
Working from the bedroom
It is almost impossible for anyone to work from the bedroom without feeling drowsy or getting the urge to nap multiple times in a day. In the same breath, you should avoid working from the couch because it can easily tempt you to watch TV while working or to nap.
Whichever type of remote worker you are, you should know that some of your co-workers are different.
To be productive and continue with working tasks as normal, you need to do some home remodelling and restructure your home. That means you need to have a designated area to place your desk, chair and laptop and know that that place will be your office for a certain amount of time
There are dishes to wash, kids to attend to, laundry to wash and fold, a garden to attend to, and many other household chores. Those chores are always there, it is only that you are always at work so you don’t see them. Don’t let them bother you now that you are working from home.
If it is difficult to ignore them, it is best that you create a workable schedule that will allow you to attend to both work-related and household tasks without needing to multitask. Multi-tasking is known to impact productivity negatively.
Not respecting coworkers’ boundaries
Working from home means different things to different people. Some people interpret it to mean that they can work anytime they feel productive, the time of day notwithstanding. Others interpret it to mean working in the morning hours and saving the rest of the day for family.
Others work through the week, weekends included. There are also those who feel like they need to compensate for lack of social life with constant video calls to colleagues. Whichever type of remote worker you are, you should know that some of your co-workers are different.
Respect their boundaries by not imposing your 'schedule' on them. Don’t send your boss an email in the middle of the night and be upset when he fails to respond 'in good time'.
Working all day, every day
Working for seven days a week will get you fatigued and lower your productivity. You should avoid the temptation of working on weekends, not unless working on weekends is part of your job description. During the weekdays, you should be careful not to beat yourself up because you had an unproductive day. Use the unproductive day as your time to recharge!
Refusing to adapt to work from home technology
You need to adjust to new tools and technology if you are to succeed in remote working. You need cloud-based collaboration tools in order to keep in touch with your team. You need project management software, messaging apps, and videoconferencing apps. You probably need a better phone or computer. Maybe you need to install better Wi-Fi.
Refusing to adapt to these technologies will make things a lot harder for your team.
Stay physically passive
One problem with remote work is that we will have the tendency to stay all day in bed with our laptop in our lap. In contrary, when we work in an office, we tend to walk several miles per day and that keeps us physically active.
While at home, you should make sure to engage yourself in some activity. Apart from yoga or other indoor-possible activities, you could also start growing plants. This is a great idea because it will keep you busy but also will become an unavoidable activity given that you need to water them.
However, the good thing about plants nowadays, is that they can be grown inside without sunlight by simply using LED grow lights.
Not prioritising tasks
Your schedule is a little more flexible now that you don’t have your boss breathing down your neck, but that doesn’t mean you can disregard the importance of keeping consistent work hours. During those hours, it is imperative that you prioritise tasks so that you work on the most urgent/important tasks when your productivity levels are highest.
One extra: Eating junk
Rid your fridge of all unhealthy foods and stock up on necessary groceries. Exercise regularly. Don’t jeopardise your health with unhealthy eating and other lifestyle habits just because you aren’t allowed to go out.
Avoiding the habits above will help you remain productive when you work from home. Remember that working from home might not be a short-term remedy like most people thought at the beginning of the pandemic. It is very likely that you will be working remotely longer than you imagine, so you must do what you need to do to make it work.
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