The Employee’s Guide to Working Remotely
It’s not uncommon where a situation arises and you will find yourself working from home. To make this work, it is important that you keep a few additional issues in mind so that you can make the most of it. We have put together a few simple best practices that you should keep in mind as you operate remotely.
Even though you aren’t in the office, you still need to follow the same security protocols and the processes you would need to follow if you were working in the office. In fact, these processes become even more important, as your home network is likely less secure than the one in the workplace. Here are some tips:
We aren’t telling you to brush your teeth or wash behind your ears, we are talking about practicing good security hygiene while you work remotely. Don’t reuse your passwords, use multi-factor (or two-factor) authentication to secure all accounts, and don’t share out information over email if you don’t know for certain who will read it. In other words, all the basics still apply.
For similar reasons, you also need to be extra careful of online scams or phishing attacks while working remotely. Lost business data is lost business data, regardless of where you were when it was left vulnerable. Make sure you are up-to-speed in terms of identifying and mitigating breach attempts.
Use a VPN
Finally, because you will not be protected by the defenses on the company network, you need to implement a few extras, such as a virtual private network. A VPN uses encryption to conceal the contents of any data you transmit over the Internet, protecting the contents from virtually all attacks.
Again, as you aren’t in the office, your remote work needs to follow the same processes as it would if you were in-house, and you will need to be more deliberate about carrying them out. For instance:
Use Communication and Collaboration
Since you are not working alongside your colleagues and coworkers while you are working from home, you should be extra diligent about remaining in contact with them. Use your email, instant messaging, and phone capabilities to keep the rest of the team apprised as you progress with your tasks.
As we don’t want anything falling through the cracks as we continue our operations, it is important that each team member sticks to procedures with every task they touch. This will help ensure that all the ‘i’s are dotted and each ‘t’ is crossed, and that things progress productively.
While you should still work the amount of time you would be in the office, you may have a little more freedom and autonomy as far as your schedule is concerned. Don’t be afraid to arrange your tasks around any scheduling conflicts you may have, or shuffle your tasks to better fit your productivity levels throughout the day.
Finally, it is crucial that you are able to manage yourself and your time while not in the office environment. Here are a few tips to help you do so, that may be useful to keep in mind.
While the assumption surrounding remote work is that employees are prone to slacking off, it is also likely that you may be tempted to push yourself a little further than you should with your day to try and accomplish as much as possible. While this is an admirable goal, it isn’t effective if you overwork yourself one day and accomplish almost nothing the next as a result. Moderate yourself and stop when it’s time.
Process is crucial to working effectively from home. This means you need to actively make sure you get into a work routine (even one that resembles the one you follow normally). Get up on time. Make yourself breakfast. Make sure you get dressed (at least most days). Establish a place that becomes your work area. Consistency will help keep you on task and feeling sharp.
There are a lot of things at home to help distract you from doing what you need to do. Hobbies, that TV show that you always meant to watch, even household chores can tempt you away from getting down to business. Shut these excuses to procrastinate out, and if you must procrastinate, do so in a beneficial way. Meditating can help you refocus, or even switching to another task briefly can help you refresh your mind.
Remember, your team is here to support you, but they also need that support to be reciprocated. Make sure your remote work is just as productive as your in-house work would be.