9 Essential Tips For Working Remotely In 2020
Author: Nikki Barnett
5 Tips For Working Remotely
We are currently in the grip of a global pandemic that is turning our regular lives upside down. Instead of kids going to school and parents going to work, it’s likely your everyday routine looks a little different right now.
It’s not easy on those who now must work from home. While there are plenty of tips out there for freelancers, not everybody falls into this category.
There are social, functional, economic and psychological aspects of working remotely from home to take into account if productivity is to be maintained. As a parent, you also need to give time to your kids and home.
To help with this, we have put together some tips for working remotely that will make adapting to the change happening in all our lives easier.
First Things First
To be effective when remote working you need a routine. This might require keeping your kids occupied as well as your usual day-to-day job description. Creating a routine is essential to maintain your sanity and make deadlines. Get the whole family involved, especially the older kids. Now is an opportunity to see them grow with confidence as they take on new responsibilities.
Housework, looking after younger siblings, making food and ordering online can all be passed over to your teenage kids. While not always as easy as it sounds, it can be done. You now have the time to explain things to them, talk with them, support and encourage them.
With younger children, you may need to negotiate with your partner to share the workload and arrange your work time around their sleep. Although this may not be ideal, with no nurseries and social distancing, this is your reality. If you have no partner, you may have to reduce your work to before the kids get up and after they go to bed. This is an unprecedented situation, so you have to remember your normal workday routines will have to adapt.
Get yourself a planner to keep you focused on what you are doing and when. We all know our work routine, but as a parent working from home, your role is no longer the same. A planner will help you schedule, not miss a meeting, keep deadlines and prioritise.
You need to create a work space. If you have a room that can convert into a home office, great! If not, try to find a space where you can work undisturbed. It’s best not to set up in the same room as the TV if possible!
With older kids, you can negotiate with them to respect your work time... That is if they want their ’me’ time to remain undisturbed! With younger kids, this does not work as well, but you can institute ’quiet time’. This is a time where they can play within sight but with books or puzzles rather than toys or noisy video games. It is also an opportune time, for those old enough, to play their i-games, using headphones, of course. This can be part of the scheduled routine and as a reward for getting things done.
Have What You Need
You also need to sort out practical matters like access to materials and work computers. Your company needs to ensure you have the infrastructure to work. You will find being a home working mum or dad is very different; your normal relationship with team members may be disrupted. Some bosses will have the infrastructure in place, while others won’t. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, point out difficulties and suggest changes. No one is 100% sure how this will work, and as a remote worker, you are in the best position to advise what support is needed. Explore what technology will help, for example, Google Docs that you can share with another remote team member to complete tasks at the same time.
Get Going Early
As most parents know, to be up before your kids are some of the best ‘me’ time there is. No battling over who gets the shower first, in fact, golden silence reigns in the house. Some of the routine jobs have gone, like making kids lunch boxes, or breakfast. Unless they are too young, let them make their own. Keeping an eye on it, of course - get them to make a ‘flexible’ menu for themselves.
Grab a coffee, maybe check out the day’s news, depends on how in touch you want to be. Avoid putting the TV on; it can be a distraction and time can disappear when you are in front of a TV screen!
Maybe take your daily allowance of exercise and its a good time to walk your dog. Then it is time to sort your work for the day.
You might think not going to work means you can have long lie-ins, nope not on. Morning is the best time to work undisturbed; it’s incredible how much you can get done in the early hours - just you and your big mug of coffee.
Learn To Chunk
Nope, not the latest exercise craze. Chunking has been described as ‘multitasking in sheep clothing’. It is about allocating specific time to specific tasks and only those tasks. A great tool to use when you have to work from home.
Set time aside to answer texts from friends. The same with emails from colleagues, all separate from the work you have prioritised. It is essential to recognise you need time to communicate with others.
Gone are the quick chats in the lift, on the stairs, over coffee, you know the ones in passing that keep you connected to your working life and people. Corvid-19 has created loneliness we didn’t expect. Isolation is also coupled with fear and anxiety for family, friends and yourself. For your mental health, you need to connect with your mates and work colleagues.
While you might already be video - conferencing with work via Zoom or Google Hangouts, consider organising a video chat for a ‘coffee or lunch’ break. A time to chat, not necessarily work focussed but the place to share what is happening.
If you have been a dad or mum working from home for a while, you may have noticed contact with others is much longer than the quick ‘grab a coffee’ chats in the office. Go with the flow; they tend to peak and flow and are often initiated by the need to connect with someone. Not all are parents who are having to work from home; in some cases, it might be just them!
Finally, remember to look after yourself. Maybe treat yourself to a night off and get some downtime. Create a home spa night for you and your partner! Or simply chill out with some chocs and a great bottle of wine. All our hampers can be ordered online, plus delivery is free throughout Australia.
Make sure you have family time, movie nights, game nights, barbies or simply watch TV and enjoy each others company.