How to Maximize Your Remote Working Experience During COVID-19
Although nearly half of the working population of America spent at least part of their work week working remotely even before COVID-19 became a concern, a large number of in-office workers in America and around the globe have suddenly been tossed head-first into the unknown territory of remote working. For some, this may seem like a welcome reprieve from the daily rigor of going into the office, but for others, it may seem like an insurmountable challenge. We are here to help with some tips on how to maximize your remote working experience, and in the end, see some benefits of working from home.
Set Up Your Space
When adjusting to a new way of life and a completely different way of working, it is important to spend some time to take a deep breath and take in the space around you. Those who have been working from home for many years know that it is important to separate work from relaxation in order to help the mind distinguish between working time and resting time. Not only does this help to boost productivity, but it also helps to detach your mind from work when it is time to relax.
One of the best ways to compartmentalize your work life from your home life is to set up a comfortable workspace. You should choose a location in your home that is free from distractions such as other family members or the television. Even if you do not have a separate office room, you can set aside a corner of the dining room or living room, and work out schedules with family members so that they know to stay away from that area during working hours.
There are several easy ways that you can transform your workspace without spending too much money. One fast way to turn empty and unusable wall space into a workable area is to invest in dry erase wall paint. With this easy solution, you can have a writing surface within 48 hours of applying the paint. It even comes in transparent options for those who want to keep the background color of the wall.
Finally, it is a good idea to spend some time surrounding your workspace with a few items that make it feel comfortable and clean. This helps to bring joy to a stressful time and helps motivate you throughout the day. Small items such as a potted plant on the desk, a diffuser, or even a family photo can set the right mood and improve your focus.
Find the Right Desk
You may be lucky enough to already have a perfect desk at home, but many people are in a scramble to find a desk that is compact enough to fit in their home, large enough to fit their necessary supplies, attractive, and utilitarian. When it comes to choosing a desk, it can be difficult to tick all of these boxes while staying under budget.
One of the best solutions is to combine your desk with a home office whiteboard by investing in a Writey Desk. These sleek, compact desks come in two sizes to fit the required space and can be used to take notes (or doodle on during a particularly boring conference call), jot down important information, or keep a checklist without having to use paper or a separate whiteboard.
Gather Your Materials
After picking out a desk, the next step is to gather the materials that you will need. Having everything you need close by before you start working is essential for staying productive. Here are a few ideas for things you might want to stock up on.
If you are not lucky enough to have a whiteboard desk, you may want to get a stick on whiteboard for the wall next to your desk. Having a whiteboard makes it easy to jot down notes during a meeting or even display information for your coworkers. A peel and stick version is much better for a home office as it does not require special installation to fix it to the wall. You can choose any size and have it on the wall in minutes.
If you have invested in a whiteboard for your home office, you will also want to keep a few extra supplies on hand. Chalk markers are a wonderful alternative to traditional dry erase markers. They have brighter pigmentation and can be used to make high contrast markings on a whiteboard for home office that can be seen even on the grainy video of a conference call. A micro-fiber cloth can be used in lieu of a traditional eraser for a cleaner finish. Finally, everyone should be armed with a spray cleaner such as the Remooble to remove stubborn markings and refresh the surface.
Having a plan for each day, as well as an overarching plan, is one of the most important parts of productivity. One of the best ways to do this is to have a planner. Although a traditional day book can be a helpful asset, having the week’s plan always accessible and easy to view at a glance can be an even better solution. A re-stickable calendar that can be written on and then erased weekly can help to keep everything on track.
Pens, Pencils, and Markers
When setting up your home office, you will want to get a collection of pens, pencils, and markers that are in good condition. Toss any writing utensils that are dried up or broken, and replace them. Nothing is more frustrating than needing to write down important information during a conference call and not being able to find a working pen. Dry erase markers and pens should be stored with the cap down to keep them ready for use at any time.
Sticky notes are great for keeping important information within your line of sight, jotting down phone numbers, or even posting cheerful and uplifting messages and reminders. Every home office should be equipped with high-quality sticky notes. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a set of reusable dry-erase sticky notes. These can be used again and again, minimizing paper waste and saving money in the long run.
A Second Monitor
If you are spending a good portion of your day on the computer, one hack for speeding up your remote work is to invest in a second monitor. Many people have monitors from old computers sitting in the basement that can be easily utilized. Connecting a second monitor to your computer or laptop can make it easy to view two documents or tabs at the same time, thereby boosting your productivity. This is especially helpful for virtual conference calls as you can view your coworkers on one screen and documents on the other for a more fluid experience.
A comfortable chair is crucial for positive working from home experience. Many employees are used to their comfortable office chairs but do not have a suitable chair for working from home. Finding a comfortable chair is worth the investment because it will help to improve posture and prevent aches and pains.
Blue Light Glasses
With many more tasks and activities regulated to the computer screen, many remote workers are experiencing eye strain from hours of staring at devices. Blue light glasses help to filter out the blue light that is emitted from screens, making it easier on the eyes and reducing tension and headaches. Blue light glasses are available in every different frame size and shape, and coatings can even be added to a lens prescription to help with computer eye strain.
A hands-free headset can be a lifesaver when it comes to shifting work online. This allows you to be able to talk on the phone and type at the same time, and it gives you better focus and superior audio when on a conference call.
Schedule Your Day
Once your chosen space is set up for a successful workday, you should set aside time to strategize and to plan out your time. In the office, breaks in the day may come naturally in the form of a visit from a coworker, a mandatory lunch break, or even a trip to the bathroom or break room. Many people feel guilty for taking quick breaks when working from home, but breaks are actually essential for maintaining productivity.
In general, the adult brain is only able to focus on one activity for around 90 minutes. After this, it is helpful to schedule in some time to take care of yourself and refresh your mind. Scheduling in this time can help alleviate any guilt and keep you more focused during the 90 minutes when you need to be working.
Improving Your Focus
It is certainly true that home can contain many more distractions than an office dedicated to work. From piles of laundry begging to be folded, to kids asking for more snacks, focusing can sometimes be a challenge. There are certain steps that you can take to help improve your focus.
One helpful tip is to use headphones and play white noise or soundscapes. These background noises are not as distracting as music and can help drown out other sounds that may cause you to lose focus. You can also consider hanging a sign on the door to prevent delivery workers from knocking on the door.
One of the most challenging aspects of suddenly being asked to work from home is the massive changes that it brings to a once familiar daily routine. Suddenly you are not able to stop on your way back from the coffee pot to have that quick chat with your coworker on the other side of the building. There are hundreds of rituals that many workers have on a daily basis that can suddenly go out the window when working remotely. It is important to find ways to bring some normalcy to the day.
The best way to do this is to follow the same morning routine that you had before the pandemic. Even if your day is starting later than usual, set the alarm for a certain time. Get up, make the bed, take a shower, get dressed, and have breakfast. All of these actions ready the mind for a day of work and can have an extreme impact on motivation and productivity. Although it may be tempting to stay in pajamas all day or to not brush your teeth, these simple actions are the glue that holds the day together.
Also, try to bring some normalcy into the interactions that you have on a daily basis with coworkers. If you are used to chatting with a certain coworker every day, maintain this relationship by keeping up a daily online correspondence. These little actions can have a major positive effect on morale and relationships.
Working from home, especially with no advance warning, can be an extremely difficult challenge to overcome. Distractions, lack of face to face interaction with coworkers, a less than ideal working space, and a change of routine can all combine to cause frustration. However, taking some time to put together a small home office, even if it is at the kitchen table or the corner of the living room, can make a big difference. Small investments like a whiteboard desk, blue light glasses, roll up whiteboard, and a dry erase planner can help with productivity. Spending a few minutes per day to plan and schedule the day, and finding ways to maintain normalcy will help you stay focused while also keeping your morale high. After all of these actions, you may even find that you enjoy working remotely.
At Writey, we produce creative products that are designed to make life simpler for our customers. Because of our low prices and products that are unique to our company, businesses and homes can have access to whiteboards, dry erase paint, whiteboard desks, and other solutions at a fraction of the cost.