This article was specially written as a guest blog for CorporateSpeechSolutions.com by Haley Brown
There’s no overstating just how popular remote work is at the moment. Because of the pandemic and social distancing measures, many companies have had to pivot to a work-from-home set up in an effort to protect their employees against the virus. But despite its convenience and allure, remote work still has its fair share of challenges.
If you’re transitioning to working from home for the first time, take note of these common mistakes and ways to avoid them:
Not creating boundaries between work and personal time
Many assume that a remote arrangement automatically leads to a better work-life balance, when in fact, it’s usually the opposite. An article on Fast Company points out that when your personal space and office space exist within the same environment, the temptation to do “just one more thing” work-wise will always nag at you. It makes it harder to get away from your job, even in times when you’re not expected to be working.
To avoid this, create a schedule that clearly draws a line between when you will and won’t be working. While you can always bend the rules here and there especially when you encounter workplace emergencies, defining your work hours will help you prevent your job from taking up too much of your personal time – a situation that usually leads to burnout.
Relying too much on instant messaging
While instant messaging is a quick and easy way to communicate, the trouble is that it can sometimes leave some room for misinterpretation, so it’s crucial to use these platforms wisely. Digital media and strategic communications expert Dr. Dustin York states that face-to-face talks are especially important for critical discussions – whether you’re brainstorming for a major project or appraising a team member. In his article for The Hill, York went on to explain that teleconferencing, an immersive way of communicating virtually, can be extremely effective in businesses. You may even want to step it up a notch and promote face-to-face interactions (done safely, of course) by going on company picnics, social lunches, and community volunteer days. By doing this, it will make instant messaging platforms remain an important workplace tool rather than a distraction.
Not investing in your workspace
Working from home will make one realize just how beneficial it is to have the proper working setup. If you don’t have a designated space designed for work, it’s likely that you’ll experience negative consequences quickly. For instance, if you allow yourself to work on the bed or couch, it won’t come as a surprise if you start feeling pain in your back, shoulder, and neck. If you work in an environment that’s too dark, you’ll likely experience frequent headaches due to digital eye strain, and poor lighting.
The best thing you can do for yourself as a remote worker is to make an effort to create a workspace that makes you feel comfortable. Take the time to get rid of clutter and organize your desk so you know where everything is at all times, and if your budget allows, invest in ergonomic accessories to help with your posture while you’re breezing through your to-do lists. As mentioned in our ‘Staying Productive While Working From Home’ post, creating a space in your home exclusively for work can help create some mental distance and make it easier to resist distractions.
Allowing yourself to be distracted
Distractions are nothing new when it comes to the workplace, but for remote workers everywhere, it’s especially commonplace. Whether they’re from phone notifications or loud equipment, distractions are almost always there. Factor in your household chores or the TV that’s enticing you to stream your favorite show, and you’re constantly faced with the temptation to abandon your work and focus on other things.
To prevent succumbing to these distractions, best-selling author Nir Eyal suggests that it’s best to have a deep understanding of your triggers or things that prompt you to compulsively look at your phone or open one more email. Once you’ve identified them, engineer your environment in a way that will help you avoid them altogether. You can do this by timeboxing your schedule and deciding what you’re going to do as well as when you’re going to do it. And when you have a template for how to spend each day, you can easily eliminate all the white space and prevent yourself from filling them with distracting activities.
While previously mainly relegated to the in-house IT department, the move from physical to virtual workspaces have made cybersecurity a top-of-mind concern for anyone working from home. Whether you’re in accounting, creative, operations, or any other department, you should be well aware of the cybersecurity risks involved in completely digital workspaces. In the age of remote working, there is a significantly higher demand for professionals with cybersecurity skills.
This is highly apparent in how online business degrees have expanded to include the relevant competencies needed for the digital era. The online business administration degree at Maryville University, one of Forbes’ Top Colleges, includes intensive training in cybersecurity alongside traditional business competencies. Apart from financial and marketing training, students of the program are also instructed in the fundamentals of securing management information systems. In fact, the program is also considered a precursor for taking the school’s higher tech degrees, underscoring how integrated business has become with emerging technology. Whichever department you’re in, as a remote worker, part of your duty is to ensure that the best practices in cybersecurity are implemented on your end.
Although many of us are still adjusting to remote working, the mistakes that we encounter and solve along the way can only make us better and more efficient workers in the digital era. Follow the aforementioned tips and you’ll be armed with everything you need to face the remote working challenges of the future.
Article specially written for corporatespeechsolutions.com by Haley Brown