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Best Practices For Remote Work After COVID-19

08 February 2023

Remote work used to be unheard of in many places, but has become the norm ever since COVID-19 hit. Many places that did not allow even temporary WFH now let their employees choose whether they want to come to work or get it done from home.

But working remotely does come with some concerns. For one thing, you can't ensure the same level of productivity and security when working remotely as you would be able to if you were in the office. At the same time, there are plenty of concerns about employees' health that need to be addressed.

As such, there are some best practices for remote work that should be followed by everyone to make sure that remote work is going smoothly and productively.

Remote Work Best Practices

Good Communication

Working remotely comes with a major disadvantage around communication. It's a lot easier to simply walk up to someone's desk to ask them a question than to wait around for them to reply to your text or answer the phone. It does hinder teamwork quite a bit, especially if each member of the team is dependent on another.

Of course, you can't establish the same level of communication as you would be able to in-office, but you can do your best. Make sure to use good communication software to ensure that everyone is responsive and productive in their communication.

A little bit of effort on each member's part can go a long way in making sure the team is carrying out its tasks productively and efficiently.

Socializing With Your Team

Socializing is an important part of reinforcing your connections with your colleagues. When working remotely, you don't see them every day, which can create some distance, but also make you feel a bit lonely. After staying isolated for a long time, it can start getting depressing.

That's why you should try to keep up with your colleagues and socialize with them as much as you can. You should set up group chats for discussions that are not related to work and try to set up in-person meetings every once in a while to get to know them better.

For remote teams that are dispersed geographically, this may be difficult to arrange, but you can compensate by setting up video calls and meetings every month or so to minimize the isolating effect of staying fully remote. After all, some personal connection is better than none.

Establish Boundaries Between Work & Home Life

When working from home, the line between personal and professional often blurs. This is especially true if you are working in the same room as the one you rest in, use the same equipment for work as the one you watch Netflix on, and address your personal and professional responsibilities during the same time period.

Instead, you should have a separate room to work in, where you are more likely to get into the work mindset and be able to leave that mindset when you leave that room. Imagine how it is to go to the office - you go there to work, so once you get there, you are ready to work. If you are working from your bed, you would be so much more inclined to go back to sleep.

Make it a habit to work during your assigned work hours only. Start on time, and finish on time. Don't check work emails after you've clocked out. If your mind is constantly in work mode, you'll burn yourself out. Not only does this make it hard to focus on your work or personal stuff, but you may also find yourself depressed and anxious.

You should also try to wear different clothes while you're working. If you're working in your pajamas, no wonder you're feeling sleepy! Put on your work clothes, even if they're uncomfortable, and get yourself in work mode before you start. That way, it's easier to get out of work mode, since you'll be changing into comfortable clothes, leaving the physical environment and the equipment behind once you're done.

Have Accountability

When working remotely, you have to be the one to hold yourself accountable. No one is watching you, and nobody knows what you're working on at any given time. You need to remember that your coworkers and colleagues trust you, and expect that you'll be meeting your deadlines so that the team can work cohesively.

Therefore, you have to be the one to take responsibility and make sure that you are providing updates where needed, letting your managers and supervisors know how things are going (whether those are ups or downs!), and meeting your deadlines.

You should also ask for feedback from your colleagues and supervisors so that they know you are an active member of the team, and so you can consistently improve upon your work as you do it.

You can also stay visible to your team members by being prompt with responses to emails, messages, and comments. This way, people will remember you and will be more likely to keep in touch with you about any ongoing projects or assignments.

Home Office Set Up

Many of us don't have a separate workspace for remote work. We use what we already have, but this isn't always good for us.

When working remotely, you should make sure your work environment is a good one - that is, it's not too noisy, the lighting is appropriate and there are minimal distractions. But that's not all!

Your workspace should also be good for your body. If possible, invest in furniture that keeps ergonomics in mind so that you don't end up with any sort of injury or pain caused by bad posture. If you can't afford new furniture, go for supplementary items that will help with posture.

If you spend a lot of time at a desk where your posture is not appropriate, you can easily end up with long-term, persisting problems that can become a hindrance to your work and personal life. These can also cause other problems, like declining mental health and the cost of healthcare.

Set up a workstation that does not put your health at risk, and make sure your posture is correct and maintained throughout the workday.

Experiment with Productivity

The fact is that when you work from a remote location, your productivity may not be at its best throughout your work hours. Of course, depending on your personality, it may be higher or lower than it is at the office, but you never know until you experiment with it.

At the workplace, you are more likely to simply follow what everyone else is doing, and settle into the work environment, but at home, things are different. In fact, at home, you may actually skip out on breaks!

At the office, taking short breaks does not feel like you're cheating on your work hours, since you are still at the office. For some, working at the office means that you are there for a fixed period of time, so taking breaks won't get you home earlier.

In contrast, taking breaks at home may make you feel like you are wasting time. But breaks are important in helping you regain your focus, and can help refresh your brain after working for long stretches at once.

But don't overdo it. Again, you should experiment with your productivity.

See how many breaks you need, and how long they should be. Test out different locations to see which one gets the most work done, what work setup works best, and how. Most forms of experimentation are not possible at the office but can be easily done at home. When you set up your work day in a way that's best suited to you, you can get a lot of work done.

When taking breaks, you should also make sure that you're actually getting the rest you need.

As an example, the Flexispot Ergonomic Anti-Fatigue Mat can be used to get rid of some of the stress and tension that builds up as you work.

It's designed for dynamic movement, so you have plenty of space to shift your position during the day without stepping off the mat. You can work with your shoes on or off.

The mat has multiple massage points and mounds, so your natural body movement will stimulate a constant foot massage as you move your feet around. Standing can help you get rid of some of the tension in your feet - especially if you're tired - and the massage can promote good blood circulation.

A massage is also good for enhancing relaxation - both, physical and mental - and helps you refocus once you're done with your breaks.

The thick cushioning of the mat helps distribute gravity better when you stand, and therefore adds to the comfort. It's also easy to move around but won't slip if you're standing.

When setting up your workspace, you should keep all these factors in mind. Invest in good technology to provide comfort where needed, and adjust your habits a bit to ensure that you are working your best when remote, without putting your mental or physical health at risk.