4 Tips for Remote Workers

July 6, 2020

4 Tips for Remote Workers

Like many organizations, you and your staff may now all be working from home. Many have already experienced remote working, but many have not, and that can be a challenge. Many worry that not being "in the office" can cause a disturbance in the workforce, but if you have the tools you need and competent co-workers, you will be just fine. ‍

Plan your time and stay healthy

The adage is, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." Health is not just physical but mental, so you need to ensure you take scheduled breaks – whether that's doing a house chore, taking a quick walk, or just stretching.  A healthy employee is a productive and happy employee! For those that are slightly more ambitious, make time for a real workout. You don't need fancy exercise equipment to stay healthy – use a chair, a bench, or take it further and buy some stretch bands on Amazon or your favorite store if they're open. A little hint - put a recurring meeting for just yourself in your calendar. That way, you'll get a pop-up message, and co-workers won't try to plan a meeting at that time (it's your time).

Optimize and protect your workspace

You may be working alone at your home, but most of us have other working family members, children, parents, or some or all the above. This somewhat awkward situation can create a difficult situation for not just you but others in your family.  You should be able to create a personal workspace, even if you have to share a room. There may be times when you have to take a Zoom meeting and an urgent phone call, or you need quiet space. Talk to others in your family about your schedule or share a family/group calendar, so you don't run into conflicts or last second swaps of rooms or space. Your space is also related to the above point about your health. Make sure your office space is somewhat ergonomic and comfortable, so you don't run into back, wrist, or vision issues. 

Organizational communication

Ensure you communicate when and how co-workers, managers, and others can reach you and by what communication method. With so many devices and platforms available now, it can sometimes be a mystery if someone will contact you via cell, home phone, Zoom, Teams, email, chat, or some other means. Communication can be especially important if you work with others in other countries or even different time zones, or you have employees that work odd hours. Boundaries are essential with at-home workers, as many of us all tend to "always be on" as your workspace is your home space – so you need to set those limits and communicate them to others as required. Because we don't see other employees on a day-to-day basis, you may become "out-of-sight, out-of-mind." Never assume everyone knows what you're working on – you should be communicating to co-workers and managers what you've been working on, if you have any blocking issues and any accomplishments you want to share. For team project workers, ensure you have a shared workspace for your documents and communications so your work stays organized and on track. Microsoft Teams is one example of many project coordination tools you can use to assist with everyone's productivity. Teams enables you and your organization to call, chat, meet, collaborate and organize all your efforts in once place, and it also easily integrates with all your other Microsoft applications.

Eating habits

What and when you eat also comes into play – it may be tempting/too easy to snack in your cupboard. At least when you're in an office, you have some limitations and co-workers eyeing your dieting habits. Keeping your appetite in check and your blood sugar stable is vital to help you concentrate. If you plan, you can have healthy snacks ready and available throughout the day. For a great reference list, check snacknation.com for 121 Easy & Delicious Healthy snacks in 2020 for Every Type of Snacker. Like most, you are still figuring your way through this new reality, even after several months, so cut yourself some slack. You've made it this far, and with some slight tweaks, you'll be just fine, or maybe you're there already! Don't be afraid to ask questions – you may be intimidated, as you have a question that you think everyone already knows the answer to, but the other adage applies "there are no dumb questions!"