Working from home 101: How to get the most out of remote working experience!
At the beginning of the year, no one could have predicted that by October, many of us would find ourselves working from home, holding conferences from our living rooms and interacting with our colleagues over Zoom or Teams.
If you’re in a position to work remotely, you’ll know by now that it comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, there’s no traffic to deal with and you can get away with wearing pyjamas on the bottom, but on the other hand, you might be missing some of the creature comforts of a professional office environment, or maybe you’re struggling without your usual workday routine.
Here’s what we think everyone needs to make the most of remote working.
A comfortable chair
Anyone who’s been sitting on their dining room chair for 8 hours a day for six months has learned a valuable lesson: dining room chairs should not be sat on for 8 hours a day for six months! Just do it, order a better chair. There are so many options available online; there’s no excuse not to. Many companies are even allowing employees to take their office chairs home, so why not ask yours if that’s an option?
Headphones with a microphone
For many of us who have to share a remote working space with our families (including partners and children all leading their own online lives), we know how chaotic it can get with everyone trying to hold video meetings at the same time. A set of headphones with a built-in mic are critical for surviving remote working conditions. That way, everyone can have their own conversations without interfering with anyone else’s – even if you’re sharing the same table.
We bet you’ve heard this one “I’m not working from home, it feels more like I’m living at work”. If this is you, you need some boundaries ASAP. Ordinarily, you would probably get to work at around 8am and leave close to 5pm. With everyone online all the time though, working hours have become blurred and it can feel like there’s no distinction between work and home.
Our advice? Be firm about your working hours and stick to them within reason – if there’s an emergency at work, of course you’ll pitch in, but emails sent after 8pm can wait until the next morning.
A second screen
Trust us, you might think it’s ok to just work on a laptop, but connecting your laptop to a second, bigger screen will change the quality of your remote working life in a big way. A wide screen makes it easier to have multiple programmes open and keep on top of everything. Now that we all have Teams or Slack open during working hours, it’s really handy to be able to have your messaging platform open on one screen and your spreadsheets or other documents open on the other.
The LG 25UM58-P-Ultrawide Monitor ticks ALL the ultra-widescreen boxes, plus it’s got loads of split screen options. This means you can resize and display multiple windows at once with an impressive 14 viewing modes! Just imagine all the things you can keep track of, so when the boss asks out of the blue on your next Zoom call what the sales projections for Q4 are, you can glance at the screen and answer her immediately. Did someone say employee of the year?
A good routine
Without colleagues around you, it’s easy to forget about things like taking breaks, eating lunch or even just looking up from your work now and again. If you spend all nine hours of your working day sitting on your dining room chair looking at your laptop screen, you will be miserable. Instead, try to keep to the same routine that you would have if you were in the office, breaking up your work with tea breaks or mini walks around the garden. It will help you be more productive in the long run!
Loadshedding is never cool, but it’s so much worse when it happens while you’re working remotely. Without an office park generator, you might be literally left in the dark and unable to connect to the internet and do your work. A UPS (or uninterrupted power supply) will make sure you can at least power your router so you can still connect to the internet even if there’s no power. They’re very small, don’t cost a fortune and are very easy to use.
With these six things, you should be a remote working pro in no time! Unfortunately though, we don’t have any advice on how to help your colleagues remember to hit that ‘unmute’ button before they start speaking at the next video meeting…