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Working in the tech industry allows many people to work remotely when necessary, or even primarily, due to the ever-growing amount of web-based productivity resources available. Some choose to work from coffee shops or libraries, while others prefer to work from the comfort of their home. Our Nimble team is very fortunate to have the ability to work remotely when needed, typically when sick, traveling, or needing to take care of something at home. Personally, I recently worked remotely for three weeks while recovering from an injury.
However, working away from the office can lend itself to a more challenging environment, as more distractions are readily available. The following tips will help you to maintain productivity while working remotely.
Setting Up Your Home Office
The night before you begin working from home, take some time to select a spot where you will be comfortable working, and will provide minimal distraction. This might be a separate room with a door (useful if others in your household also work from home), your dining room table, or a desk setup you may already have. No matter the location, ensure your webcam shows a professional scene if you use one. Additionally, take care of your body! Your work surface should be at the correct height, and your seating arrangements should demonstrate good back support (strategically placed pillows can help).
Set up any equipment you will need to ensure it will work correctly the next day, such as a secondary monitor, mouse, keyboard, webcam, microphone, headphones, and any necessary chargers. If you will be using a different computer than normal, make sure you are able to access all necessary apps and programs from home – your IT team or resident computer whiz will be able to assist with this. In addition to hardware and software, stock up your work area with any necessary office supplies, like notepads and pens.
Maintain Your Regular Workday Routine
When working from home, it is important to maintain the same schedule and routine you would if you were heading into the office. Get dressed before starting work! Simply the act of changing from bed clothes to regular clothes will promote productivity. While you may not need to wear a suit at home, if you engage in video calls make sure your look is acceptable to your company’s standards. If you are able, it may be helpful to “commute” to work by taking a quick walk outside before sitting down at your computer.
It may be tempting to turn on the television and be lured into daytime programming, however it is best for this source of entertainment to remain off while working. Likewise, music you don’t normally listen to during the workday can break your concentration and cause you to fall behind. Keep access to social media access limited to break times.
However, do continue to socialize with your coworkers as you would if you were working within the office! Our Nimble team utilizes Slack to communicate internally, and in addition to work-related conversation, it provides a great medium for team building. Ask about your team members’ weekends, and talk about events in each others’ lives!
Additionally, while working from home might be a more relaxed atmosphere, remember that being home isn’t a break in itself. Make sure to take your full lunch, as well as a short break in the morning and/or afternoon, preferably at the same times you would normally do so if you were at the office. While your break at home may only consist of a trip to the kitchen rather than the local coffee shop, taking some time away from your computer screen is important.
By making use of these tips, you’ll feel like almost nothing has changed when the need to work away from the office arises. What do you do to remain productive while working remotely? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments!