I’m a firm believer, that we must do whatever feels right. However, based on the current global situation we are in, it may be hard to comprehend – what does and what does not feel right?
For some – working from home just doesn’t work (pun-intended). For others, it isn’t even an option. But for those, who are newly thrown into this “Let’s Google Hangout this afternoon” type of situation, I encourage you to take the time and reflect on your daily work practices, time-management skills >and, overall, work-life balance.
Right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us all, most of the office-life happened, well, at the office. Meetings, phone calls and business lunches – we knew what was expected of us and what to expect from our colleagues. Now we are faced with quite a challenge – how do we implement this well-structured, community-based classic 9 to 5 environment in our daily home routines?
Apps, Communication & Productivity
Let’s start with a simple idea – almost everything we do on a daily basis can be done online or via phone. Only now are we realizing that the same applies to many business meetings as well. But you need to be focused and efficient.
Taking the time to understand what digital platforms work best for your team is vital for working remotely. A great tool we use at NOTRE is Notion – all-in-one workspace, that takes almost no time to adapt to it. While it is very easy to understand, this tool can help you manage every project in great detail, and it makes sharing the project information with all your teammates and clients really easy.
Speaking of which – communication is key. Now, more than ever, we have to communicate. And we are not talking e-mails here. You and your team should be able to share ideas through an easy, chat-centered platform like Slack, Twist, Microsoft Teams, Zoho Cliq, Flock or any other. However, when it comes to task management – go the extra mile and track the workflow via another task-oriented app such as Asana, Trello, Zoho Projects, ClickUp, etc. This will let you organize your to-do lists, set goals and deadlines, and get everyone on the same page.
Not everything is about the apps, though. As much as we would love to work directly from our bedroom, it is much recommended that you organize your own workspace apart from the comfort of your bed. It is directly related to your productivity and motivation – many studies have shown that having a separate space for work and relaxing strengthens your mental association between working and being at home.
Nothing Like a Good Old Planner
A great author once said: “Working from home comes with great responsibility.” Or maybe they didn’t. But there still is some truth to it – the main stereotype with working remotely is that people now have way more free time to devote to their hobbies, friends, etc. Which is not true, if you don’t know how to manage your time properly. You might even end up with less free time, if you don’t play your cards right.
Working remotely still means being present, getting back at e-mails and getting your things done. The real difference – you set your work-hours. If taking your dog to the vet at 10 AM means you will be able to respond to e-mails later at night – go for it!
This is where our digital (or in some cases – not so digital) tools step in again. As I mentioned – some of us still get away with using the good old planner, but for others I would recommend trying out Google Calendar, Evernote, Zenkit, Joplin or like-wise thought and event organizing apps. Also, if you happen to struggle with distractions even with your to-do list set-up, Serene App might be helpful ensuring that you stay focused the entire time.
This is the beauty of working remotely – I can’t emphasize it enough. Sure, working from 9 to 5 requires less time-management, however remote work lets you actually balance out the productivity hours with healthy periods of relaxation, that really pays off in the long run.
Log Off, Before It’s Too Late
No work from home is as glorious as it sounds. It has its challenges, as you probably have gathered from this post, one major of them being – you have to know when to log off. You might adapt such flexibility through time, leading yourself into the path of no self-care and, ultimately, burnout.
This ties together everything mentioned before – communicating properly with your teammates and letting them know your work hours, as well as managing your time properly.
Be thoughtful of your free time and treat it with great importance – do whatever you enjoy the most and don’t let any notifications distract you. In fact, I tend to disable mine and check the mail-boxes only a few times a day to save precious time. I know this is can be overwhelming at the start, but let me tell you – if you manage to master the remote work-life balance, it makes it all worth it.
All in all, the possibilities of digital media have really grown and it is just a matter of time for businesses and employers to adjust and shift to online work. I am guessing the next few months will be the ones to determine the new work-model. So keep your eyes and laptops open – working remotely is not just a matter of resources anymore. Moreover, it is a question of what works best and feels right for you.