No, not all remote workers live in their PJs – How I’ve made remote working work for me

By Sara Drury

It’s important that we’re prepared for change, which looks like it will inevitably include having to work remotely.

When I first decided to move out of the big smoke and up to the Central Coast, my first thought was ‘what am I going to do about work?’ (Well it was really me second thought, first thought was ‘how close am I to the beach?’)

It then dawned on me that I work for a collaboration company and have an amazing boss that encourages flexibility.

So, once our home was built my remote working journey begun. It took a few days to get into groove and I learnt a few things along the way.

If you need to make the adjustment and work remotely, here’s a few tips to hopefully make the transition a bit easier.

Dress for success       

I couldn’t wait to not have to worry about doing my hair or make-up, I could even just wear my pyjamas or dare I say it, active wear. But after a few days I realised this didn’t work for me.

When I started my first job out of uni my boss said he didn’t believe in casual Fridays because he thought it made people less productive. ‘If you don’t dress the part, how can you play the part?’ He would say.

This started to make sense. While I gave the high heels and hair straightener a miss, I still had to get up and look presentable. It changed my behaviour and flicked a switch – once I was dressed, I was ready to go.

Find your own environment

My first home office! I had a desk built into our hallway, printed inspirational posters and all – but something was missing.

After working in an open office for so long I soon felt closed off and needed to find a space that was filled with light and open! My kitchen bench is the centre of my home and I have so much space. I can see and hear everything that is going on, I have my Google home within range and coffee whenever I need it. Plus, natural light works wonders for video conference calls!

Find a space that you can be in for long periods of time. I have friends that go down to their local coffee shop and work for half a day – there are no set rules for working – you do you!

Set time for a lunch break

When I get into the groove I look up and it’s 2:00 pm – the day goes so fast! Less distractions and coffee runs mean you will end up working away and neglect to take some time out for you.

I now set an alarm for lunch so I don’t forget – it’s easier said than done! Plus, I usually eat a lot healthier at home as well.

Get up and start the day

Less travel time means more sleep-in time, right? Don’t get me wrong, having an extra 2 hours sleep in is great, but you will feel so much better if you get up and start the day!

Get to the gym, walk the dog, do some washing and before you know it you’ve achieved so much before you even power up your laptop.

Make sure everyone knows how to contact you

Like most businesses, we use so many collaboration tools. At the beginning, I had a soft phone setup on my computer, whatsapp conversations with different groups and various other tools.

Now, if someone in the office needs to contact me they simply call my mobile or chat in Teams channels which we have setup for different projects. It just keeps it all so simple!

Manage your time

I still travel into the city 3 days a week – which is great. Culture is so important for our company and my role, and I really look forward to seeing everyone after a day on my own.

But, I need to use my time effectively when I am in the office. I ensure all face to face meetings are held in the office and leave admin or content writing for when I work from home. I make sure I have this all sorted the week before so I know what I am getting myself into.

Technology is key

Love it or hate it, it makes life so much easier! Easy to use video conferencing and screen sharing tools are a must, and sometimes you just need a traditional teleconference to get everyone on the same page (even with the awkward pauses).

  • Video Conferencing – great for team meetings when you need to see body language
  • Screen Sharing/Web Conference – excellent for going through documents, presentations or live sites
  • Teleconferencing – use it for larger calls or quick pow wows

Stable internet is also a given, but I had to mention it.

I honestly believe I am a better manager, employee and even wife by making this work for me. While it does take some time to adjust, your productivity will increase. And go on, have that 5:00 pm beverage on a Friday – you deserve it!

 

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TAG: collaboration, online, remote working,

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