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8 Things No-one Tells You About Remote Working

Remote working does wonders for productivity. It saves you the time and money you’d have spent commuting to the office and gives you extra time to spend with family or catch up on that series you’ve been binging. But while home or remote working can be a wonderful thing, here are 8 things no one tells you:

1.    Self-management can be hard

 Ensuring you keep on track can be difficult when it’s all down to you. What you don’t want to happen is be unproductive all morning, have your lunch, and then realise you’ve not started that report your manager wants by 2pm. When you’re working from home, time management can be challenging because you don’t have your regular routine or hours to guide you.

The same goes for your development. When you’re in the office, you can overhear useful tips or learn things on the job. You can’t do that as easily when you’re working remotely, so your development is largely in your own hands. 

 What can you do?

1.    Self-discipline. First make sure your workspace is clear, after all a clear space helps with a clear mind, which leads to great work!
2.    Get into a routine. Get yourself up at a certain time, have regular mealtimes and times for exercise too.
3.    Prioritise work by writing a list and order them with deadlines.
4.   
Take charge of your own learning. Identify where your skills may need development and read around it, try online courses or reach out to a colleague who can walk you through it remotely via video conferencing platforms such as Teams, Skype, or Zoom.

 

2.    Distractions and interruptions

Though there are distractions in an office environment, there can be many, many more at home. Noisy neighbours? Children? Housemates? People in and around your home can cause distractions, or worse, interrupt what you’re doing – or even walk in during those all-important video calls!

Working at 100% efficiency can be difficult at home, and there’s some unwritten rule that if you work at home you should take more than your fair share of the chores, simply because you’re there all the time.

What can you do?

1.    Have a designated workspace and have low-volume music on in the background. This can also help with your productivity!
2.    Make it clear to your family (diplomatically of course) that you do still have to do work when you’re at home, so maybe they can help you out with the chores.
3.    Co-create some family / household rules that work for everyone.


3.    Loneliness

If you live alone, you can have the opposite problem to point 2, so this one comes
with a warning. When you work remotely and have no distractions, you can go days without seeing other human beings. Introverts may rejoice (at the beginning), but extroverts could feel lonely right away. When you don’t speak to anyone else, you can feel isolated, alone and stuck in your own head.

What can you do?

 1.    Ensure regular contact with colleagues, friends, and family.
2.    The beauty of our modern world is that we have the technology available
to see each other face-to-face, even when we’re apart. Group video calls,
video conferencing software, it no longer matters whether we’re worlds apart, two hours apart, or indeed hiding from a global pandemic.
3.    Go for walks and runs, just being outside and seeing other smiling faces
can help. Being around nature also has a calming effect, so a walk in the woods or down a nature trail is ideal.
4.    Make your work environment greener. Studies show that people feel less lonely when they’re surrounded by plants, jungle up!


4.    Tech and network issues

The dreaded internet outage. A nightmare for any remote worker. When you work at home, being away from an office with an on-site IT department that can quickly fix any issues and minimise downtime is not only frustrating, but also bad for business. Loss of internet can lead to interruptions to shared servers or file sharing drives, disconnect you from emails, and stop you mid-project. Not good. Even worse is when it’s your laptop or computer that breaks and you can’t do anything.

What can you do?

1.    Have a backup plan. A second device like a tablet or laptop could be extremely handy in desperate times.
2.    If your life depends on it and you need the internet immediately, hotspot from your phone. Life saved.

5.    Miscommunication

Working remotely can also lead to miscommunication. Interactions are much more straight forward when you can see the person, you can read their body language,
and decisions can be made on the fly. Emails and messaging platforms can cause people to misunderstand instructions, or even misinterpret a ‘tone’ in a communication. Unable to overhear conversations about projects in the office, remote workers can also find themselves kept out the loop, which can massively affect morale.

What can you do?

1.    Communicate (virtually) face-to-face and avoid email where you can.
2.    Record your meetings so that everyone has something to refer to later.
3.    Keep your communications clear and concise, try to avoid the waffle.


6.    Bad health habits

The fridge is right there, the cupboard is fully stocked, when you’re at home it’s
much easier to slip into bad eating habits. Conversely, without developing a routine you can forget meals (never!), forget to exercise and not go outside for that
all-important vitamin D.

 What can you do?

 1.    Get into a routine. Have a regular time for exercise, maybe before work to start your day with a rush of feel-good hormones!
2.    Practice healthy eating habits. Instead of reaching for chocolate or crisps (though this is perfectly fine in moderation!) grab some fruit.
3.    Have regular breaks, clear your head, go for a walk.

7.    It can be hard to switch off
​​​​​​​

When you’re in the office, it’s easy to differentiate between home and work. Work ends (for most) when you leave the office and you can focus on your personal life, whether that be family and friends or health and wellbeing. Remote workers can struggle with the ‘always at work’ feeling, as they’re forever in their place of work, and the home-work balance can start to blend as the lines blur.

 What can you do?

 1.    Make sure you have a designated place to work, whether it’s a room or a quiet corner or space you can leave behind when you’ve done your allotted hours.
2.    Be conscious of giving yourself time off – have regular breaks. A routine would help.


8.    Impact on company culture

Lastly, working remotely can have a real negative impact on company culture, but only if you let it! You don’t get to experience the micro interactions with colleagues that build friendships and lay the foundations for an immersive company culture.

What can you do?

1.    Use video communication tools! Keep the culture alive.
2.    Hold online competitions and quizzes, engage with your colleagues.
3.    Internal communications can help, having a virtual presence can make you feel part of the wider organisation.
4.    Stay social, by interacting with colleagues on social media such as LinkedIn Twitter, and Facebook.

Don’t know where to start with remote working? We can help. Get in touch: marcomms.inbox@sharp.eu

Contact

Angela Woodward
European PR Manager
Angela.Woodward@sharp.eu

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