Technology has opened up a whole new way of working, enabling companies to ditch the traditional office and allow employees to work from wherever works best for them. WORK180 is a great example of this – our workforce is completely remote.
More and more Australian companies are building remote teams, with research suggesting flexible work increases employee productivity, reduces turnover and lowers organizational costs.
Yet the ability to work remotely has become particularly pertinent during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, with the world compelled to self isolate and embrace telecommuting.
The benefits of being a remote worker
As an employee, working remotely has a number of benefits. In a recent remote working study conducted by GitLab, 38% of respondents cited a lack of commute as the top benefit, with that time instead being spent with family (43%), working (35%), resting (36%) and exercising (34%). Remote workers also find themselves to overall be more productive (52%) and efficient (48%).
After 26 years as a paramedic, it’s the increased flexibility and autonomy afforded to remote workers that appeals to WORK180 Operations Manager, Robert Lloyd.
“I work without distractions, travel costs are negligible and I save a couple of hours each day from no commute requirement. All these things add up to a much better quality of life, especially health and mental wellbeing.”
How to make telecommuting work for you!
The concept of working remotely might feel foreign, but the benefits often outweigh any challenges. Here are some tips to help you thrive in a post-office world – both during coronavirus and beyond – and maintain balance, boundaries and productivity as a remote worker:
1. Set up a designated workspace
Ideally you want an allocated space to do your work, and if you’re working from home that space should be in a separate room, away from any relaxation zones. Otherwise it can be difficult to unwind at night when your work is in full view. Keeping your desk in a separate zone helps establish healthy boundaries between work and home.
2. Make that workspace ergonomic
Damian Karzon, Technology Lead at WORK180, put a lot of time, effort and investment into getting his home office setup. “It’s at a point where I am more productive there, than in any office I have ever worked at,” he says.
An ergonomic workspace will help you to maintain good posture throughout the day. Invest in a chair with proper back support, elevate your computer monitor so it’s at eye level and make sure your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.
3. Set your work schedule
The beauty of flexible work is that you don’t need to be chained to the desk 9-5 – you can work the hours that suit you and when you’re most productive. WORK180’s Co-founder and CEO, Gemma Lloyd, likes working early in the morning but then doesn’t even attempt to be productive across the 3pm slump.
While Robert likes to start his day by going for a long walk with his dog and hitting his inbox around 10am. But he often balances his schedule around what’s going on in his personal life.
When setting your work schedule, make sure you factor in regular breaks, with a start and finish time. This will keep you productive, so you’re not taking a break whenever you feel like it or not at all. You might even want to schedule in time to do the dishes or put a load of washing on, so you’re not constantly getting distracted by household chores.
4. Prioritize communication with colleagues
Without the possibility of bumping into colleagues in the staff kitchen or at the coffee machine, you need to make a conscious effort to connect and communicate with one another. Make the most of video conferencing and instant messaging platforms. At WORK180, we use Slack and Zoom to stay connected.
“Sometimes it’s harder to communicate things over text. When this happens I tend to jump on a quick call using either a phone call, Slack call or a Zoom video call,” says Damian.
For Robert, he admits he misses the camaraderie and mess room banter of the ambulance station. “But I do chat a lot with the WORK180 team via various forums. My colleagues are entirely supportive and friendly. The privilege of flexible working offsets the things I miss.”
5. Stop work and switch off
If you’re working from home, one of the hardest parts about working remotely can be clocking off at the end of the day. Avoid ‘work creep’ by setting a finish time and sticking to it.
Damian likes to go for a walk at the end of every day. “This helps to break up the work day from the non-work day. It’s also good to get some exercise in.”