From Couch to Corporation: Best Practices And Apps for Thriving In A Remote Work Environment

So, you’ve joined the work from home revolution or you’re thinking about it. For the newbies, it is hard to picture what it will be like, and it can be easy to get carried away. Yes, you can work in your pee jays; but do you really want to? “I can do the dishes on my lunch break!”… congratulations, party balloons inbound. The cold hard truth awaiting you is not quite the dreamland you may think it is.

Think of yourself sat a desk, in an office space, in a big building downtown. The printer-copier and your colleagues are all in the same room as you, and fresh coffee or a water fountain is at the end of a row of cubicles. Now picture yourself sitting at home. It’s not quite the same, is it? It will take planning and dedication to keep your workflow humming with fewer resources within reach. Let’s begin your remote work training day with the basics.

 

Curate Your Ideal Workspace, IRL And On Your Home Screen

Creating an ergonomic workspace, both in your home and on your computer desktop, helps you to stay on top of jobs and not drown in a sea of half-completed tasks or waste time finding files and apps. Start by getting everything you need where you need it, and pack anything else into a cupboard or a file folder. Gone forever.

Next is your desk, by which I mean the coffee table. The layout and ergonomics of a workspace help to make it efficient, and you become efficient with it. Keep the charger for your laptop in easy reach and ready to be plugged in to stop the stress of a low power warning in the middle of a project. Try to make the space comfortable too. There is no one to blame but yourself if you suffer from repetitive strain injuries at home.

Get the home screen on your computer in tip-top shape. Keep handy apps a click away by putting their icons front and center over the wallpaper of your home screen. Everyday apps that make your job easier need pride of place in your virtual workspace. You need to keep your hard drive clean for optimal performance from your laptop too.

Find space you never knew you had with a PDF compressor. This excellent example from SmallPDF squeezes work documents and presentations down to a fraction of their size, slimming down the used-up space on your hard drive and making more room for the most important data you deal in; more work files. Make your remote work life easy, and organize both your workspace and your dataspace to keep on cracking away at the corporate coalface.

 

Stay Connected With The Top Communication Apps

Remote work has become a new normal for many, requiring us to find effective communication tools to keep ourselves connected and collaborative. Top communication apps have changed the way teams interact and work together to achieve their collective goals. Ensuring seamless communication despite geographical barriers breaks the chains of isolation and working alone. Take a look at these two work-focused chat apps that have become lifelines for remote workers.

One of the biggest names in workplace communication is Slack. An intuitive interface and robust features make Slack the go-to for workers at home and in the office, facilitating organized and focused discussions. Real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration with other productivity tools are just a few of its killer features.

Next up is Trello. This is a project management app that adds a few extra functions when communicating and collaborating in a remote team. It boasts visual work boards and progress tracking that help keep everyone on the same virtual page when collaborating. That’s a challenge in remote work. Team members can also assign each other tasks, but be careful; this can cause controversy. Use it wisely though and you can cut down on collective malaise and collaborative couch potato-ing.

 

Boosting Productivity Through Proactive Time Management

It may be a bit of a dry and boring subject, but effective time management makes tasks flow like the Mississippi River, and the fresh work keeps on rolling. You always know what you’re doing next. This allows for better planning, lets you prioritize your work, and you avoid getting caught in a crunch.

A crucial element of time management is creating a to-do list. Duh. Organizing tasks and allocating specific time slots to each one can ensure that precious time is not wasted. This structures the day for you too, so if you find yourself wandering around your living room scared, confused, and lost, you can check your timetable and pick up the right task for that moment in time. Don’t worry, this rarely happens in remote work, once a month at most.

Proactive time management means removing distractions. You may feel like it is a bonus to do your job at home, cozy on the couch with your TV remote nestling next to your mouse, but that is the distraction devil talking. Minimize your exposure to distractions to reclaim your work rate. You’ll be happy you did at crunch time on Friday. At the end of the week simply sit back, jobs done, while everyone else is immersed in a last minute rush.

Remember to take regular breaks, though. All work and no play makes remote work a dull job. Practicing some self-care is vital for keeping productivity levels high, and allotting time to rest and recharge helps avoid burnout and maintain your laser-like focus and battery-bunny energy throughout the day.

 

Maintaining A Healthy Work-Life Balance In The Remote Work Era

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the ultimate challenge; the end of level boss for all workers. The remote-work-from-home-era has given the game of life’s ultimate enemy new superpowers. There are blurred lines in the lives of remote workers. The WFH experience tries to domesticate you, but you’re an animal yearning to roam free. Look after yourself by finding a balance between your workflow battles and basking on the couch. Get outside when you can, and bask in the sun instead.

Know when to say ‘no’. One key aspect of maintaining work-life balance is setting clear boundaries, and this means with your higher-ups and lower-downs. Establish designated work hours to set a hard line on the face of the kitchen clock between your professional and personal life. When finishing time arrives, yell yabba-dabba-do and log off faster than you can slide down the tail of a brachiosaurus. Then, you’re already exactly where you need to be; at home.

 

Remote work often comes with flexible schedules, but this mixed bag of flexibility can create problems as quickly as it solves them. Longer work hours on some days, and difficulty in disconnecting, lurk beneath flexible working hour’s shiny surface. Creatures of habit need habits. You don’t have to be all Dolly Parton about it, but eight hours a day will keep you regular like prune juice. Use the 9-5 as a base, and maybe give yourself a later start or an earlier finish when it suits you.

Harder, better, faster, lonelier; that’s the work from home funk. You need to learn to dance to the tune and keep up the tempo. It helps to have company when you’re shaking your stuff on the remote work dancefloor, so keep in touch with your remote colleagues; they’re sat next to you in the remote boat. Good luck, and enjoy your first day. Snacks help. Now if you will excuse me, it’s 5 o’clock.