The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Remote Workers
History books will one day write about our time. What will they say? Worldwide pandemic caused governments to issue stay-at-home orders in 2020. People were advised to wear masks in public and keep six feet of distance. Rice, toilet paper, and household cleaners were impossible to find.
It has been a major adjustment for everyone, to be sure. From the restaurant owners trying not to lose their businesses to the homeschooling parents trying not to lose their minds, we're all facing unique challenges.
One of the most prominent topics of 2020 will be the rise of the remote workforce, as millions of us have had to pivot virtually overnight to a brand new work environment.
In keeping with our recent theme of remote working, here are seven habits of highly effective remote workers.
1. Designate a Space
If you're lucky, you have a fancy home office with a proper desk and maybe even some nice wall decorations. But many of us are in a spare bedroom, a kitchen, or even a closet. However humble our work from home space is, the important thing is to make sure there is a solid internet connection, a nearby electrical outlet, a writing surface, and a comfortable chair.
2. Establish a Routine
Without a work from home routine, people have a tendency to work more—not less. The lines between home life and work life get blurred, and it can be hard to stay engaged when you're not giving yourself time to disconnect. The simple solution is to start and end work at the same time each day. Take regular breaks including a lunch break. Also, get dressed as though you're going into an office.
3. Minimize Distractions
Even with a functional space and a routine, distractions can be a problem. The dog is barking. The kids need help with homework. Your roommate talks loudly on calls.
Employers understand that extra flexibility is needed for people to work from home, which is why this habit is to minimize distractions, not eliminate them. Distractions are a natural part of the remote work environment, but they don't have to consume your day. Communicate with everyone in the house when you need quiet time to focus, and do your part to respect others' focus times as well. Hang "Do Not Disturb" signs if you have to.
4. Change Up Your Scenery
Sick of sitting in the closet? Go outside! As long as wifi permits, no one says you can't do a couple hours of work from your back patio. And to the extent that it's safe and allowed in your area, spend some time at a local business such as a coffee shop. Your body needs to move, and the fresh air and sunshine will do you good. A designated space is nice but so is switching it up every now and then so you don't go stir crazy.
5. Make To-Do Lists
The importance of writing things down cannot be overstated. A great habit to get into is jotting down a to-do list of everything you need to get done that day. This can be done the night before or in the morning. Prioritize the list from most important to least important, and refer back to it throughout the day to track your progress. Carry over any unfinished tasks to the next day.
6. Use Video Calls
What's the next best thing to meeting up in person? Video calls! Many companies encourage their employees to turn on their webcams for meetings. Here are 8 tips to make the most of your video calls.
7. Stay Positive
It takes a lot of self-discipline to become a rockstar remote employee. If you find yourself becoming distracted, overwhelmed, or just plan depressed, don't be too hard on yourself. Remember that we're all adjusting to this new way of working. Just like learning how to ride a bike, learning how to effectively work outside of a brick-and-mortar workplace takes time and practice. Go easy on yourself. Take a walk. And then get back to work.