Remote work may become the new normal for many people after the current pandemic. That can be a good thing — after all, who doesn’t love skipping their daily commute? — but it also comes with its share of challenges.
If you’re looking for some tips to work from home successfully, you’ve come to the right place. At Perillon, we’ve been working remotely in response to COVID-19. During this time we’ve continued to develop new features, support our existing clients, and even implement the Perillon system remotely for new customers.
We asked our team for their best tips for working from home successfully. Here’s what they had to say:
Invest in the right tools
Remote work doesn’t require a ton of tools or equipment — all you really need is a laptop and an internet connection. However, there are some basic tools that can make working from home easier.
For starters, a good internet connection is essential. Over a third of people say that weak internet has prevented them from doing their work, according to a survey conducted by WhistleOut. A Wifi booster or mobile hotspot can help make sure you have a reliable signal.
Depending on your home office setup, you might also want to invest in a wireless mouse and keyboard. And if you do a lot of video conferencing, a headset or external microphone can help with sound quality.
In addition to hardware, there are several software tools that can make working from home easier. Video conferencing tools, team chat apps, and task management software can all help you be more productive.
If you don’t have an EHS task management software system, now is a good time to implement one. Task management software can help you plan, track, and manage all your team’s tasks while working remotely. Look for a cloud-based system, which will allow you to access your tasks, documents, and data from anywhere through a web browser as if you’re sitting at your desk.
Establish a routine
One of the best parts about working from home is being able to work when you want. In fact, Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019 survey found that 40% of people believe a flexible schedule is the biggest benefit of remote work.
That said, establishing a work schedule — even if it’s not the traditional 9-to-5 — can help you feel more productive and less distracted.
Our Director of Client Services, Kyra Sharp, finds it helpful to stick to a set routine for work hours. “In my case, we still have an elementary age child at home so adjusting work hours to start earlier in the day has been helpful since I can get a lot accomplished before they are up.”
Of course, the downside of being able to work anytime you want is that you can easily find yourself working all the time. The same Buffer survey found that unplugging after work was the biggest struggle for remote workers.
To avoid falling into this trap, many people find it helpful to make a schedule with designated ‘office hours’. Be sure to communicate your office hours to your family members, coworkers, and clients.
“[Starting earlier] works well for me given that many meetings are with customers/employees in later time zones such as the east coast and Europe,” says Sharp.
Prioritize your work for the day
Having a plan for the day can help you stay focused and achieve your goals.
“Focus every morning on setting task priorities for the day. Always think a few days out in advance to help decide what is important but not urgent, and what is important and urgent,” says John Niemoller, Perillon’s founder and CEO.
Some people may find it helpful to plan out their to-do list the night before. That way, you have a clear picture of your priorities for the day. You’ll be able to start your work right away without getting distracted by lower priority tasks.
Along the same lines, reminders can be a useful tool to help you stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by family members, emails, or household errands.
Sharp adds, “With Perillon’s task management software, users can set their email reminders to send earlier in the day so they have the reminder first thing.”
Focus on task completion instead of hours worked
Once you have your to-do list, focus on hitting your goals and deadlines — not just clocking in and out.
“Don’t force yourself to work an 8 hour day if one day is lighter than another,” says Niemoller. “Don’t stretch out your day just to fill time. Focus on getting the tasks done, versus how many hours you work.”
Without the distractions of the office, many people find that they’re actually able to get more work done in less time. In fact, a global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight countries showed that the average employee could get their work done in about 5 hours per day if they worked without interruption.
Niemoller adds, “You will find that with no tiring commute, access to the refrigerator, flexibility to exercise, you’ll have more energy to be more efficient in getting the job done faster.”
Don’t forget to take breaks
Most remote work tips focus on how to be more productive while you’re actually working. But it’s also important to make time to get away from your desk.
“Go for a short walk, take a break with a cup of coffee outside, etc. Basically account for your water cooler breaks in an office,” says Sharp.
Eating a nutritious lunch can also help you feel more alert and avoid an afternoon slump. Not only that, but taking a lunch break gives your brain a chance to recharge — which means you’ll feel less stressed and more productive throughout the day.
If that’s not reason enough, consider this: a Tork survey found that employees who take a lunch break score higher on a wide range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction, efficiency, and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.
Working from home can be hard if you’re a “people person” — as many people in the health and safety field are. It’s easy to feel isolated without the usual face-to-face interaction of an office. Around 1 in 5 people named loneliness as the biggest struggle with working remotely, according to Buffer.
It’s important to find ways to stay connected to your colleagues, employees, and your boss. For one, don’t rely solely on email for communication.
“Everyone is going through the same remote work isolation, so others will appreciate shorter, more casual meetings,” says Niemoller. “Pick a few topics that you ordinarily might accomplish via email, and substitute with 10-min calls scattered throughout the week.”
It may be tempting to schedule all your calls for one or two days in an effort to be more efficient. But Niemoller recommends doing the opposite.
“Try to schedule calls for every day of the week, rather than loading up one or two days and leaving the rest empty. Not every call needs to be an intense meeting.”
Supporting your remote team
Working from home can be a big adjustment, but we hope these tips will make the transition easier.
At Perillon, we're here to support you as you adapt to this new normal. To learn more about our EHS software and how we can help your team succeed with remote work, click here to request a demo.
Next, read about how EHS software supports remote work.