Statistics on remote workers reveal that more than 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States. This number has skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. Not only is it safer for people to work from home as different Covid-19 variants continue to spread, but most people find they are more productive at home rather than being in the office full-time. Starting a new job can be stressful enough on its own; knowing how to manage your workday from home is crucial in order to succeed in your new role.
Create Your Own Space
While working remotely, it’s very beneficial to have a designated area that you use only when working. This could be a separate office room, or part of your living room that you’ve turned into a professional and organized space for work tasks. Many people initially try setting up a work space in their bedroom, but this sometimes associates working with resting, which you’ll want to avoid if possible.
Make sure you have a simple and distraction-free space behind your work area, and ensure that there are not too many windows behind you, as this can make you look like a silhouette during virtual meetings. If you’re in an area of the house where you’re tempted to watch TV while working, try turning on some white noise or relaxing music instead. There’s always time for Netflix once you’re off the clock!
Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on your office decor and accessories (if your budget allows for it). Making the space inviting and aesthetically pleasing will help you look forward to your workday more. Add some plants to your desk or an end table, hang up an inspirational quote that speaks to you, or plug in some aromatherapy to stimulate your senses and make for a relaxing vibe throughout the day. Remember, working remotely gives you the potential of taking control over the way you experience work (which most likely takes up a decent amount of your day), so you might as well make it gratifying and appealing!
Time Management & Workday Structure
It’s all about time management and staying focused when working remotely. If you’re just diving into a remote position, you might want to consider scheduling regular breaks, making sure you don’t work intensely for more than 90 minutes at a time. Just taking two-minute “microbreaks” has been shown to improve cognitive performance.
Allowing yourself to take multiple mini-breaks will also increase your overall productivity throughout the day, as you’re less likely to get burned out. Giving yourself (and your brain) a few minutes to breathe can be incredibly beneficial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Some people use the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, with five-minute breaks throughout the day.
Additionally, many companies have moved away from micromanaging their remote employees, so it’s important to create your own work schedule if your employer does not provide you with one. Set aside time each morning to check your email, respond to anything urgent, and plan out the rest of the day’s priorities (whether it’s hour-by-hour or task-by-task). Keeping up with all of your responsibilities in a structured way will not only set you up for success, but you’ll end each workday feeling rewarded and confident – all from the comfort of your home!
Communication is Key
It’s nearly impossible to over-communicate with your coworkers and supervisor(s) while working from home. Communication is really the foundation of good remote work,” says Brie Weiler Reynolds, a career development manager at FlexJobs. Since you don’t have the opportunity to collaborate in person, you’ll need to find other ways to stay in touch effectively and clearly. Some great ways to do this include:
- One-on-ones and routine check-ins
- Team meetings/video conferencing
- Slack or Microsoft Teams messaging
- Project management software
Don’t forget to ask your coworkers what their communication preferences are, as they may be different from yours. Some people prefer to receive an instant message via Slack or Teams rather than having to reply through an email, while others would rather collaborate through a video meeting. No matter what the preferred method is, frequent communication will undoubtedly help everyone stay on the same page and build better connections and trusted relationships across the team.
Working from home requires self-discipline, time management, and strong communication skills. It can take a few weeks to get into the swing of things when starting a new remote job, but you’ll soon experience the rewards that come along with it. While some people might be starting to return to work full-time or in a more hybrid capacity, the trend towards remote work is here to stay. 24% of professional jobs are still available as fully remote, so find the one that’s right for you and start reaping the benefits of remote work!
(1) Apollo Tech
(3) US News