Today, 4.7 million Americans work remotely- that's 3.4% of the population. If you've never worked from home you may think it's all lying in bed or being sprawled out on the sofa. If you're suddenly home with your laptop, you may find out that's not so.
With the disruption of our schedules and the increase of remote work, it can be challenging to maintain the productivity, focus and routine that we’re used to. While working remotely can be difficult to acclimate to, we have a few tips for how to not only adjust, but thrive.
- Remote work is increasing: over the last five years remote work has grown 44%, with a 159% increase from 2005-2017
- 70% of global employees work remotely at least 1x/week
- 85% of businesses say that they see increased productivity in remote employees
- 90% of workers agree that more flexible arrangements increase morale
The Upside to Working Remotely
- Increased Productivity- The lack of social interaction limits distraction from coworkers
- Lowering Your Carbon Footprint- By eliminating your commute to the office you not only save time and money, but do your part to lower harmful vehicle emissions
- Better Balance- By not being tied to an office and eliminating a lengthy commute you have more time to spend with the people and things you enjoy before and after the workday
- Better Health- By limiting your interaction with communal supplies and spaces you're less likely to pick up and spread germs
- Job Satisfaction- There's more autonomy when you're working from home, you can set up your workspace however serves you best, and you're far less likely to experience burnout
How to Be Successful Working From Home
- Stick to a Schedule - Maintain your daily routine by waking up, having breakfast and logging into your computer at the same time you normally would.
- Find a Space - Establish a work station that allows you to be comfortable and productive. Keep it organized and free from distractions.
- Take Regular Breaks - Be sure to break for lunch, a stretch, or a walk throughout the day. Schedule time for yourself to eat, exercise, run an errand, walk the dog, or anything else that gets you out of your chair and gives your eyes a break from the screen. It's important to still prioritize your physical and mental wellness during the day!
- Accept Distractions - Your colleagues will understand that now and then your dog may bark, your kids may run past the webcam screaming, or your laundry machine may buzz. Everyone has been there! Try your best to schedule conference calls and video meetings during quiet times in the house, but don't stress too much if something perfectly human happens.
- Stay Connected - Your company likely utilizes channels for chatting, like Slack or Google Hangouts. Make sure you're well-versed with this technology so that you can stay connected with your coworkers! Be sure to communicate any technological disruptions or needs that are impeding your productivity.
- Establish Boundaries - Many people who work remotely have flexible hours- do you? It's easy to work longer days when you can do it from the comfort of your own home, so be sure to establish your working hours in order to draw a line between your work day and your personal life.
- Take Sick Days - There are definitely advantages to working from home, like still being able to perform when you have allergies or a mild cold. However if you're under the weather don't feel guilty for taking a sick day! Your on-site counterparts have the freedom to do this, so you do too. Don't put undue pressure on yourself to "go to work" when you're unwell.
Working remotely can be a scary or overwhelming proposition at first. By taking the time to figure out a routine that works for you including regular breaks, physical activity, finding connectedness and unplugging, you can be just as, if not more, successful and productive.