The New Normal: How to be a Good Remote Worker during COVID-19
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, we didn’t imagine that it would change the way we live and interact. But we are facing a new normal that defines everything from how we work to how we socialize. Part of the new normal includes working remotely.
Tips to be a good remote worker
1. Enhance your Written Communication skills
When you work remotely, the main communication methods are emails, chat rooms, or collaboration platforms. So, you have to enhance your written communication skills to communicate information effectively.
You will also use other communication types, but less frequently. You have to write concise and clear messages to avoid confusion and losing more time explaining ideas or instructions.
When communicating remotely, you have to be intentional with information, including context and needed details so the receiver can understand and respond quickly. Constant communication with your boss and team members is vital, so everyone knows what they are working on.
Also, you should be familiar with your employer’s guidelines. They may have different rules for communication, so be aware of them. For example, with the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies implemented mandatory online meetings once a week so employees could interact and talk about how they were managing the situation.
2. Set a Routine to help you start the day
When going to the office, everyone has a morning routine that helps them start their day on the right foot. For example, many drank a cup of coffee while walking to work, but that changed when working from home and now that thing that got you going every morning for years is gone. So, try to create a new routine that will help you wake up and be ready for work.
3. Know when to Disconnect
One mistake that many new remote workers make is to work without taking a break. When working at the office, we have constant breaks, even if we don’t see them as such. We talk with coworkers, go to the bathroom, stand up to print something, or just go to a meeting. So, when we work from home, we don’t have those distractions to help our brain rest.
But working for several hours straight will only have a negative impact on your performance in the long run. You will soon find yourself burning out and hating your job. Instead, you can make a conscious effort to take breaks at least every hour. Experts suggest you take a break every 30 minutes and just stand up from your chair for a few minutes. It will help your brain and your muscles will be thankful later.
4. Use the Tools at hand
After the COVID-19 pandemic spread in March, almost every company resorted to online platforms to keep their operations going. And software developers have been busy to meet demand and create platforms that make communication and collaboration as smooth as possible. You should use all the tools at your disposal to be the best remote worker possible.
These tools aren’t only for communication. They also offer features like calendars, task management boards, and file management. So, they will help you stay organized and on top of your responsibilities. For example, you can use your calendar to include your vital breaks like lunch, so you don’t get caught up in meeting after meeting.
5. Have a Home Office setup
Because you probably never worked from home before, you don’t have a dedicated office space ideal for productivity. But having a decent home office setup will make a massive difference in your performance, especially if you are currently working from your bedroom or the kitchen. When it comes to a home office, ergonomics matter.
Having uncomfortable chairs, a too-tall desk, or a too low monitor, will have a direct impact on your body. And besides causing health issues, the muscle pains will put you in a bad mood, which will harm your performance.
It also includes having the right technology to do your job without any issues. A fast Internet connection and an updated computer are critical. For example, if you are a data scientist, you will need a powerful computer to do your tasks.
6. Get Out of the house
When working remotely, we spend a lot of time in the house. We start getting used to it and stop looking for excuses to go out more. And if you don’t have family or close friends in the city you are living in, then you are even less likely to go out. But staying at home all the time will negatively impact your mental health.
So, make an effort to do activities outside of your house, especially now that the lockdown is over. Go for a hike, a walk through the woods, or the beach. Go out with friends to eat or for a drink. Anything you can imagine doing outside your house, do it at least once a week.
Here are some extra tips to turn your remote working experience into a comfortable and successful journey:
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Take advantage of being home, and if you feel like you are too tired, it is best to take a nap and continue working afterward. You will feel refreshed and probably be more productive.
- Use phone calls or video calls for urgent matters.
- Dress professionally. It will help your mood and make you feel in the right headspace to work.
- Ask for feedback. Remember that you are in a learning process, and criticism will help you improve.