How to (And How Not to) Approach Remote Work
Many businesses are currently finding the best course of action for them to take right now for the good of their employees is to adopt remote work policies. However, this puts a lot of responsibility on the employees to conduct themselves appropriately and spend the time they should be working diligently.
Let’s compare two hypothetical employees throughout their day to show how your team should--and most certainly should not--go about working remotely.
Amy wakes as her alarm clock rings at the same time it would any other workday. She gets up and goes about her morning routine, which now includes a little bit longer time taking care of her dog. When the time comes to log in, she is showered and ready to start the day with a healthy breakfast energizing her.
Meanwhile, over at his apartment, Jeff hits the snooze button a few times before finally jolting up to look at the clock. Seeing that work is about to start, he shuffles into the kitchen in his pajama pants and t-shirt to pour himself a cup of coffee before settling in to work.
Start of Day
At the scheduled time, Amy’s workstation is booted up and she has successfully signed into the solutions she needs to start the workday. Seated in a small corner of her apartment that she has set aside for the purposes of remote work; she gets down to accomplishing everything on her schedule. She starts by reviewing that schedule one more time and making note of who she will be working with on her various activities throughout the day. Using the company’s messaging app, she checks in with her department to briefly go over what each of them are responsible for.
Jeff is still in his pajamas, sprawled out on his couch with his laptop. He has all his important work to do that day opened on his display, but before he does any of it, he checks his social media and gets wrapped up watching a video that someone posted on his profile. Figuring he can start work whenever and just keep going until he’s done, Jeff gets back up and heads back into the kitchen for something real to eat. Once he’s done, he starts cleaning up after himself and without realizing it, finds himself idly tidying up his whole place.
As lunchtime rolls around, Amy stands up from her nook and stretches. Her few morning breaks primarily consisted of taking care of her dog’s bathroom needs, so she’s ready for a break after a morning full of accomplishment. She prepares herself a healthy lunch, entertains her fuzzy companion, and is ready to resume the day once her lunchtime is over.
Meanwhile, Jeff finally got down to business in the late morning and has done some good work in the time he’s been at his desk. Going into his fridge to find himself something to have for lunch himself, he sees the leftover takeout he had delivered the night before. He turns on a series he’s been watching as he works his way through the rest of his kung pao. When he finishes his meal, he puts his dishes in the sink and slumps back into the couch. Yawning, he opens his laptop back up while starting the next episode.
End of Day
Amy, having accomplished all she needed to, closes her laptop and steps away from her desk. Taking a few moments to go over what she got done and mentally review her performance, she calls her parents to check in on them, and gets out the hobby she’s taken up since keeping to her home: knitting (or learning how to, at least). A couple dropped stitches later, and the time comes for Amy to put down her needles, make herself dinner, and feed her dog.
Jeff continues working to the end of his day as well, accomplishing a sizable chunk of his scheduled tasks. However, since he got a late start, he finds himself working much later into the day than he would have otherwise… and, since the rest of the team has since signed off for the day, Jeff has important questions that nobody is available to answer. He finally calls it quits much later, drained.
When the time for bed comes, Amy puts down the book she’s been working her way through and gets herself ready to turn in. One last bathroom trip for the dog later, and she’s climbing into bed, relaxed and ready for rest. She’s careful to have gone to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep before morning.
Late at night, Jeff pulls off his headset and turns off the latest game he’s downloaded to head to bed himself. Flopping under the covers, Jeff tosses and turns for a while, head full of the bright lights and sounds of the game, stomach still a little unsettled from the sweetness of the leftover chicken. It takes him a little while to fall asleep.
Looking back over how each of our example employees spent their day at home, it should be apparent who has a grasp over the accepted best practices of remote work. One should treat working from home just like working in the office, with the same schedule to keep and the same level of responsibility for accomplishing their given tasks on time. There are assorted behaviors that can make this a lot easier to do:
- Keep regular bedtime hours to ensure you are well rested each day.
- Nourish yourself with healthy meals and regular self-care.
- Segment your life by distinguishing your workspace from your living space as much as you can.
- Stick to your usual work hours to keep yourself on task.
- Minimize distractions, like TV or even chores.
- Take up a hobby to cleanly split work hours from personal time.
- Don’t overwork yourself.
- Stay in communication with your team.
Remember, the same temptations can influence everyone, so make sure to practice what you preach as you share these strategies with your team.
For assistance in facilitating the technical side of remote work, reach out to Stradiant today at (512) 271-4508.