We're currently working (and writing this) from home. In the not so distant past – even just one month ago – remote working conjured up images of a pyjama-clad employee, eating breakfast in bed while checking emails, at about half two in the afternoon.
The world has changed a great deal in the past month. Particularly the business world. Many companies have asked workers (that can) to work remotely, to help fight the spread of coronavirus. For many companies, and for many workers, this might be a challenging time as they try to adjust to an entirely new routine. Because many people are now discovering what remote workers have known for years – working from home has advantages, sure, but it also has a lot of challenges. Even experienced remote workers are facing new challenges with schools being closed as well.
We have a lot of experience with remote working, and we've come across these challenges successfully many times before. Here are a few tips to make the transition easier.
Keep your routine
Maybe you didn’t have a routine in the mornings before you commuted to work. Maybe you flew out of bed some days, and lounged around on others. You might have made breakfast at home, or grabbed something on the go or eaten in the office. We hate to break it to you, but not having a routine is going to be a lot harder when your house is your office. You’re relaxed at home, and you’re no longer tied to your desk or confined to your office. Which is great, but it can also mean that you lack focus. Working from home is still working.
You need a solid routine for remote working, especially if your home is filled with kids planning to take a seemingly endless spring break.
So, focus up. Set a regular time to wake up, eat breakfast and shower before work. And most importantly – get out of your pyjamas. There’s nothing like an unexpected video conference with a client to show the importance of that rule.
Carve out your corner
This will look different for everyone, depending on your situation, but you need to pick one or more dedicated work spaces. If you live alone, this is easier. Even if you’re in a small, one-room flat – pick an area where you enter ‘work-zone.’ It can even be as simple as changing the items on your desk, from free-time items to work-time items.
If you live with a partner, or with kids, or with both – this is a bit more complicated. You’ll have to be flexible. Ensuring that everyone in the house is respecting everyone’s space is a crucial step towards preserving the household’s collective sanity over the next few weeks. So, pick a few work spaces and rotate as needed.
Remember your tea breaks
When you’re working from home, sometimes you can be so eager to be productive, that you go overboard. You can start to feel guilty for every second you’re not in front of your computer. While of course, you need to be focused and working hard, if you don’t take short breaks then you’re going to burn out. With everything going on in the world, you need to remember your mental health.
Take a tea break. That's what you would do if you were in the office. Try calling a friend to have a quick chat, just like you were in the canteen, or check in with your kids or your partner. Just taking five minutes away can make sure you stay at the top of your game.
Keep your lives separate
We've all heard the expression – keep your home life and your work life separate. That applies doubly for remote workers.
I mean this in two different ways. The first is to make sure that your day is compartmentalized into blocks. Blocks for yourself/family, and blocks for your work. Sure, there will be situations that come up where you’ll need to be flexible and improvise – but for the most part, you need to adhere to these blocks. No chores during work blocks, no matter how small. No checking emails during your own blocks, no matter how quick. (Unless your job normally requires this, of course.) If you don’t keep these two worlds separate, one might start to take over the other.
And the second way is to ensure that everybody in the house knows when you’re working and when you’re not. We’ve all seen that BBC interview, and most of us know a colleague with at least one embarrassing story of a child unknowingly interrupting a conference call. Set boundaries and be respectful of each other’s spaces.
Just like the rest of the world, we’ve never seen anything like the current pandemic. Nobody has. But Global Shares knows remote working. We’ve weathered many storms – like the Beast from the East snowstorm, Storm Ophelia, etc. – from the safety of our homes, while our business continued as normal, uninterrupted. We’ve always worked from laptops and implemented strict security protocols, software, VPNs, and hardware that protects our clients and data from every possible situation. We’ve had a long time to perfect these measures, and to strengthen our company-wide supports and communication. That's why, when our Beijing and Hong Kong offices were forced to close at the start of the outbreak, they were able to continue working remotely without any interruption.
For our Global Shares employees, and for the rest of the world, life is not normal, or even very recognizable at the moment. Our hearts go out to everyone affected, however that may be. But here at Global Shares, for our clients and for our partners – it’s still business as usual. If you want to see a demo of our products, we can do that from home and we promise we won't be wearing our pyjamas.