The COVID 19 pandemic has drastically changed how we live and work. Social Distancing has stretched the boundaries of workplace flexibility policies of many organizations. Sadly, the pandemic has deepened its roots across the globe. So, many companies and organizations are quickly adapting and adjusting. The usual ”9-5” is looking a lot more virtual now because many companies are implementing work-from-home policies. So, most employees are right now in the middle of a long stretch of Remote Work. However, for many employees, a long stretch of remote work can be extremely stressful. With stress and anxiety kicking in, remote employees’ productivity can take a downfall. So, in this guide, we will go through a list of tips to be a happy and productive remote employee.
Remote work has been a trend for over a decade now. According to a recent study, there were already 7 million people in the US working remotely in 2020 even before the pandemic. However, this pandemic has fundamentally changed the way of work. Due to the spread of infection, most companies are requiring their employees to work from home. Even companies with traditional workplace culture are adapting to remote work. An article by Gartner suggests that around 88% of companies have suggested or required their employees to work from home. Also, since the outbreak, 91% of teams in the Asia Pacific have implemented Work From Home policies.
Remote work is not always Happiness and Sunshine
Before this crisis, we used to get ecstatic when our supervisors allowed us to work from home. However, this has become an almost permanent thing now. Looking into the current situation, one thing is very certain. That is, remote work is here to stay in our lives for a long time. A Gartner research shows that 74% of companies are planning to shift to remote work permanently post COVID 19.
As relieving as it seems, there’s a huge downside to an extended period of remote work too. Working from home can also be a lonely and distressing enterprise in this era of social distancing. This unexpected workstyle shift has taken a toll on the mental health of many employees. While many are unable to find respite in the comfort of their own homes, employees are going through stress and anxiety issues. The new data from Ginger shows that nearly 70% of workers are facing the most stressful times of their professional careers.
Tips to be a Happy and Productive Remote Employee
It is very important to be happy and in the right state of mind to be a productive remote employee. For employees already working from their homes for a long time, this extended remote work may not be a problem. However, for first-timers, adjusting can be a little difficult. Here is a list of awesome tips that employees can adopt to ensure happiness and peace of mind while working remotely.
Build A Separate and Well-Equipped Work Space
Working from home can be a little messy with various elements that can disrupt your workflow. That’s why the first step you need to take in order to work full time and peacefully at your home is to build a secluded office space. In remote work too, it is critical to separate your personal and professional spaces. Once you have decided on office space, next you need to build the right infrastructure. You need to build the perfect virtual work environment with all the essential and necessary technology. Laptops, access to essential software, a mobile phone, an internet connection, everything should be in place and up and running. Your home office space should be located such that you can create the mental space to focus on your work.
Take Breaks For Social Interactions
Social distancing does not mean that your social life has to be dead. Your friends and family are probably the only constants in your life now. You will definitely want to have some time aside for maintaining your social life to keep you sane. Ensure that you stay connected to your loved ones as well as to your social life elements. Even with your colleagues, don’t just talk about business. Make sure to check in with each other. Treat your self with a couple of virtual happy hours. By doing this, not only will your stress be relieved but also you may have increased productivity with happy thoughts.
Prioritize your Work-Life Balance
One of the biggest risks involved with remote work is that you may end up working all the time. Remote work may kind of blur the line between work and an employee’s personal life. It is easy to assume that remote work is simple. But the truth is, managing your personal and professional lives can be more difficult in remote work. Even if you are working remotely, you can still fall sick, or have to spend time with your family. Or, you may not feel well, feel anxious, or depressed on some days which are huge red flags for your productivity. So, while working remotely you need to focus on finding a perfect work-life balance.
Focus On Your Mental and Physical Health
Your mental and physical health go hand in hand. If you don’t take care of yourself, there’s a good chance you may fall sick, even after staying at home. Also, too much stress can meddle with your body functions. So, to be productive, you need to ensure that you have a healthy lifestyle while you’re working remotely. Design a compatible exercise routine that you can follow on a daily basis. A healthy diet can also help with reducing your stress by maintaining blood pressure and boosting your immune system. Also, most importantly, don’t forget to laugh. 🙂
Inculcate Transparent Communication
Being a part of the remote team, you won’t get a chance to communicate with your team one-on-one. You are compelled to exchange information virtually on the go. In this situation, prioritizing communication is the key to success. It is essential to have clear communication with your colleagues to ensure transparency. As a supervisor, you need to establish guidelines and protocols to communicate information to your employees. As an employee, you need to follow the already established protocols and guidelines. The communication needs to be intuitive, interactive, and most importantly, it should be two-way communication.
Plan Your Day with Short-term Realistic Goals
Before you start your day, plan it. While working remotely, you won’t be having a boss looking over your shoulder all the time. So, you need to manage your tasks yourself. Make short-term goals and ensure that they get achieved. Manage your objectives on a priority basis and assign them blocks of time accordingly. Planning your day can help you have a sense of stability and enhance your productivity.