Technology has made it easier than ever to work away from the office. Working outside of the office was once considered unusual, but now, after the COVID pandemic, remote work has become part of the new landscape of American business. Allowing employees to work away from the office has been a great cost-cutting measure as companies have found they can trim the size of their physical operations. Remote work has also been linked to greater employee satisfaction and higher productivity.
While working remotely has many advantages, it also comes with huge drawbacks. Remote employees often report feeling disconnected from company culture, diminished relationships with co-workers, and an overall sense of isolation. The lack of a shared physical location often results in miscommunication and may ultimately lead to employee burnout. Fortunately, these drawbacks can be effectively managed if employees take steps before they become too much of a problem.
So, here are some handy tips for employees who work remotely to remain connected to their office.
Keep a Schedule
Depending on the type of work you do, you may have more flexibility in your working hours. But just because you don’t have to be working at the same time as the rest of your team doesn’t mean that you can change your schedule whenever you like without creating confusion and frustration. Keeping a consistent schedule and letting your colleagues and management know when you can be reached will make your work-life smoother and help you keep in touch with everyone.
Communicate Early and Often
You’ve heard the saying, out of sight, out of mind. It can be easy to forget about someone whom you don’t see or communicate with very often. Not only can this negatively impact your career, it can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Fortunately, you have a variety of ways to stay in touch with people. Respond to emails and chats promptly, actively engage in meetings, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Speaking to someone live and having a conversation is a great way to build relationships with your colleagues.
Keep your Technology Updated
When you’re working outside of the office, your job is dependent on the technology you use. Make sure that your internet connection is reliable and fast. You don’t want to miss deadlines or meetings or get left out of the loop because you weren’t able to connect. You should also consider upgrading the camera you use to communicate with work. Additionally, using a wireless mouse or keyboard, and possibly a second monitor can help you feel more comfortable in your home office.
Maintain a Dedicated, Professional Workspace
Your workspace should be professional, even if your workspace doubles as your laundry room. Keeping things neat and organized will make it easier to remain focused on your work. It will also help you present a more professional appearance to your office – no more Zoom anxiety! You should also take the time to let anyone else in your household know that they need to leave you alone when you’re working. For extra points, use a white noise machine to make sure that no extra noise will distract you, or be overheard during meetings or phone calls.
Don’t Forget About Self Care
When you work at home, it’s tempting to work through breaks and past your normal schedule. After all, you don’t have to worry about a commute anymore. But driving yourself too hard will lead to burnout, whether you’re working in the office or not. Leaving work behind at the proper time will help you better deal with stress. So be sure to take lunch and regular breaks away from your work, just as you would in an office environment. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and better able to engage with your teammates.
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