Nowadays, by choice, or simply because of the COVID pandemic more and more people are working from home, doing their jobs remotely. But how should we organize and prevent this from being an open door to constant stress on a daily basis? How to keep our home closed from work stress even when home is also our workspace?
Good practices and tips for remote work with less stress
I leave here a simple list of small rules that have helped me over the years and now even more since like many people I’m also working from home because of the Pandemic, I have a work that allows me to work 100% at a distance, these trips and tricks help me organize and stay calm at home.
Remote Work tips: Set schedules
At home in work-life, it mixes with personal life so keeping a schedule might help us a lot. This new schedule is not a 9 to 5, this is a real schedule for our new home life. If we need for example to make lunch probably is not correct for us to book in an hour for lunch. It quickly becomes obvious that it will not be just a lunch break of an hour since it will be impossible to cook, serve, eat, and clean afterward.
The most important thing about remote work is to define a schedule that matches our home. If an afternoon break needs to be an hour to hang our clothes and give a snack to the little ones or treat animals or just start dinner we need to put that time on our calendar.
It is important to define schedules to mark the expectations on our side in terms of how many hours we will be with our work and not feel that the things of our day that happen are an interruption. We cannot think that it is really like being in an office where there are no other people who depend on us, the schedules are strict and we don’t need to clean and fix anything. We must respect our schedules and define the best hours to be able to provide the best results.
Remote work tip : Setting an alarm clock
The important thing about life at home is to have routines, just as we would have in an outdoor/outside space. I recommend using an alarm clock that can be a watch that beeps or vibrates, your cell phone or an alarm clock on your computer. This ensures that we stay consistent with basic things like eating, drinking water, taking a break to stretch or drink coffee. We eat at the right time and we know that after a certain time it is time to rest. After creating the timetable as I explain in the first tip of Teleworking, then helping ourselves to meet those schedules, an alarm clock is the best way to do it! <
Remote Work tip: Define a workspace
This is important because it helps us to mentally and physically clean up our space. For example here at home we have a division dedicated to the office. When we leave work we can close the door and that’s it, working hours are over. The same can be achieved with a box. If we work in our kitchen or living room for example, have the routine of putting everything in a box at the end of the workday (papers, computer, mouse, notepad, pens). This helps not only prevent work from taking over our home, but also from having a reminder at all times that we need to finish task A or B.
Remote work tip: Have what you need with you
This tip I would say is essential for the success of remote-working. Not having things close to us is the perfect excuse to walk around looking for water, coffee, that pen. Let’s end with the excuses ourselves. Every day we sit together with our water and our basic material. Leaving everything in the box mentioned before will help this to happen and for example, before a call, let’s avoid going crazy looking for the headphones that are suddenly in the other room! This will undoubtedly help us to be calmer, in control and above all it will prevent us from walking around the house and being distracted by the rest of life and other tasks or chores we have.
Remote work tip: Having a to-do list
Organizing our work is important because quickly between incoming emails, orders, and small things that happen at home it is normal for us to quickly become out of focus and not know what to do after what. If we find it more convenient, also make a list of household chores so that your partner knows what things you want to see resolved. They can be simple things like cleaning the toilet lamps. This helps communication in the home and also you declutter your mind from simple things that you are sure they wont be forgotten since they have been written somewhere.
Remote Work tip: Ensuring Comfort
One of the mistakes we make is thinking, I am working from home I will stay in my pajamas and I will work in my bed or on the couch. This is not so much a psychological issue as it is a physical issue. Pajamas are made so that we are covered in our bed, often after a short time at work in those we get cold. Working on the couch or bed is not ergonomic. We will quickly start to have back or shoulder pain from this. Although we are limited with the available space it is important to experiment if the kitchen stools work better than the living room chair. Add a pillow or try changing your desk. Ensuring our comfort and ergonomic position is important just as in our office.
Remote work tip: Communication by the right means
It is important to define with our people with whom we work and with friends and family, if possible, our preferred means of communication. This is because if you spend the day on WhatsApp, Facebook, telegram, skype, Microsoft teams, and Instagram sending messages. If the messages are work-related they will probably get lost. If it’s personal, we’ll spend too much time distracted. The ideal is not to have more than 2 communication channels open. To limit here is to organize. This makes life easier if we have an emergency or need to be contacted or to just check a simple work request.
Remote Work tip: Set times without interruptions
Here it is important to communicate with who we live with. If we have a meeting from 8 am to 9 am it is important that we are able to communicate this. First say beforehand and before you start. Just a simple: “I’m going to join my call now”. It helps to define uninterrupted moments when we are able to have our total focus on a task or activity. With the little ones it can be more complex to explain but defining these periods helps them understand that there are times when they can talk / ask for something and that there are times when they have to wait.
This is also important if we are dealing with things that require our full attention, such as working with numbers, payments, or configurations with large amount of details.
- Define the best schedule that adapts not only to work but with the reality of our home;
- Asking for an alarm clock to help us not forget not only what we have to do more of those short breaks in everyday life;
- Having a physical workspace is essential so that life does not mix with work and vice versa;
- Avoid constantly abandon our workspace, always have the essentials with you that you need;
- Have a list of tasks to help organize us;
- Ergonomics at home must be also a priority and our physical comfort;
- Define communication channels to be able to communicate with everyone and not lose track of the thread;
- Clarify and distinguish time without interruptions in working time normal.