Amazing isn’t it, we would have never imagined that we would be spending our office hours at home and meeting with there colleagues over our laptops or PC webcams. Little did we know that there was an epidemic on the way in the form of the COVID-19 that would tun it into reality.
With our workplace becoming our home, there has been an evident shift in dynamics, communication styles, and how we go about performing our work tasks. With this new territory comes a wide array of different obstacles, challenges & how to make the best of our time at home.
Realizing this we thought I would be a great chance to give some tips and information about remote work in general, its challenges, tips & tricks & some of the most essential tools an apps to help you arrange your time better and make your tasks easier
1. What is remote work
To most of us whos day to day included waking up, freshening up, and heading to work remote work or working from home as it’s otherwise called, was a foreign thought. But what defines a remote style of work, in short, what makes remote work remote work and how does it differ from work from Home, flex Jobs & telecommuting?
Ok, so first things first, according to skillcrush.com. Remote work refers to any job or work that doesn’t require you to commute to an office to perform said job. And this has become increasingly less difficult due to the modern age we live in today.
So basically your job or function in your place of work could be remote as long as it can be performed without fully committing to an office. Hoe this is arranged in your office or whats the ratio of your time in the office versus your time away from it is purely organizational but doesn’t affect the nature of your job as being remote. This takes us to our next point, which is what is the difference then between working from home, flex Jobs & telecommuting?.
- Working from Home:
This term is usually used as a synonym of sorts to remote work, but it’s not, it’s more of a subcategory or sub-type of sorts. Remote work is somewhat of an umbrella term that includes under it the many sub-types on of which is the work from home, which means that your working from home.
What constitutes a home, in this case, is not necessarily a household, it could be a cafe, your friends’ house anywhere outside of the office.
- Flex Jobs:
When it comes to defining what are flex jobs in comparison to remote work its more of a working hours difference. In other words, Flex Jobs are those where the hours are flexible, aka not set from 9 am to pm daily.
This does not mean that flex jobs are different than remote jobs, the term simply describes that specific arrangement in terms of working hours being fixed or being flexible, aka adjustable.
“Telecommuters” is a somewhat dated term used to describe those who spend part of their time on the job at the office and the other part of it at home, with the workplace and the residence of the telecommuter being in the same or near geographic areas.
2. Benefits of Remote Working
One of the great things about remote work is that not only does it hold benefits for you as an Employee but also for you as an employer. These benefits are not just purely work-related, a good part of them benefit your personal life and work to social life ratio.
More time spent with the family and other personal benefits that in turn reflect in the quantity & quality of your output at work. Here are some of the core benefits that we believe can felt across the board, whatever your industry is.
- Eliminating Commute:
It’s no secret that both the time & financial cost of commuting daily from your home to work can eat out a good chunk of your monthly salary, especially if you happen to live far from work.
Remote work can either eliminate or decrease the cost completely. Not only does less commute save you time and money, but it can also have a positive impact on your health. To put things into perspective here are some interesting Statistics:
- According to a report by the U.S Census Bureau & Flexjobs.com, the average one-way commuting time in the US is 27.1 minutes, making it a total of almost an hour to go to and return from work.
- Commuters spend about 100 hours commuting, with almost 41 of them being stuck in traffic. Moreover, more than 30 minutes or 10 miles a day of daily commute has been associated with increased anxiety, stress levels, cholesterol, blood sugar & risk of depression,
- Saving Money:
I believe that this has become pretty evident to most people out there, saving on daily costs such as gas, ordering food, coffee, parking fees, car maintenance & much more all accumulate to form a pretty decent bulk of saving in the end,
- As per Statistics, that on average people who work from home save anything from 2,000 to 6,500$.
- Not only do you save but so can your Employer with businesses reporting savings over 30 billion US dollars, during the COVID-19 Epidemic.
- Better Work-Life Balance:
This might be, if not the most felt benefits of most of us being able to enjoy a remote or work from home status. The standard hoe to work and back from work to home routine can get irritating and tiresome quite quickly and we tend to lose sight of our social sight as we pursue our career.
Today if your working remotely you will have more quality time to spend with your family or hang out with your friends or whatever else flows your boat
- Location Independence :
Although this might be one of the lesser valued benefits of the remote work system, however, it has an incredible impact on your productivity & performance. Another benefit that comes to mind that it increases your reach an employee as your not confined by the lack of proximity.
These were some of the Benefits of remote work now let’s move to the possible Limitation or challenges of remote working.
3. Challenges of Remote Working
Similar to anything in this world, as much as remote work has several benefits it still has its challenges & possible drawbacks for some. Here are the most common drawbacks, among others, of the remote work framework:
- Slow resolution of Technological glitches or issues
These issues are more likely not to be resolved as quickly as they were in the office. Examples of such glitches could range from getting a blue screen of death on your laptop or internet connectivity problems.
- Multiple distractions
To some working remotely could be just what they needed to be more productive and get away from the distractions, To others, it might be the complete opposite. Although unlikely some of us have just too many distractions a home, making working from the office the netter alternative.
- Lack of team building & breakdown in Communication:
One of the drawbacks of remote working is that, if not done right can cause few to almost no interactions between the team. This distance and lack of interaction do not only damage the synergy & team spirit but it also means that communication becomes harder. By communication getting harder we mean anything from unclear instruction to critical mistakes that might jeopardize months, even sometimes years of o
- Finding a healthy Work-Life balance:
Although remote work provides a great opportunity to those who seek to finally introduce some much-needed balance between there work time & their social life and physical health to do just that, not all people can achieve that balance, on the contrary work might end up taking all of their time, making remote work either a blessing or a curse.
4. Tips & tricks of Remote work
Now that your familiar with the term of remote work or working from home, its benefits, challenges its time to give you some tips on how you can get the most from your remote work experience. So without further adieu, here they are
- Construct a Schedule that suits you
the time of the day or night when your most active & your commitment, with consideration of course to your Job requirements. In some occasions, you might need to commit for some hours in the day in some professions though such as customer care
- Group Meetings & Appointments
This is especially true if your day is littered with meetings. Just imagine it for a moment if you had to attend five meetings for an hour in a single day, not much will be done
- A change of scenery
Switching into a different environment and different scenery might be exactly what the doctor ordered & help you concentrate more away from the city.
- Have a Co-Working space just in case
You don’t necessarily have to book a full-on co-working, you could Create controlled settings. Since we are not sure when this will end, investing in a decent library work e.
- Embrace Video calls & “Do not Disturb”
With no chance of getting people together in the form of a traditional meeting set up in the boardroom, setting aside the hazard of doing so, Video call & video conference tools and apps are the way to go.
If you’re a first time user, it’s surely gonna be worth it as for veteran user of such video conference tool you’re in good shape.
As for the Do Not Disturb option, that is truly important in a remote work environment as on some occasions you would need to exact a do not t disturb status and explain to your family what that means .
- Take regular Brakes:
It’s easy to get burned out due to the pressure of cramping for long periods you’re bound to lose track of time. That is why it’s essential to be able to go through the day without any hassle or Concerns
5. Essential tools & Apps of a remote worker
To properly navigate the world of remote working you will need a couple of tools to compensate for the lack of direct communication, here are a couple of tools that we are sure will make life easier for you as a remote worker and are essential to making your experience a seamless one.
For communicating with your team, one app that proved to be useful in that are. Slacker is a communication app that offers various chatting options for it users. Other alternative programs include :
- Google hangouts
- Microsoft tools
For Meetings and presentations, we fell in love with an app that recently gained quite a lot of exposure, making it a household name, Zoom. We fell in love with this app as alongside the normal video calls services it offers a collection of options and utilities that make it a great choice like virtual backgrounds. Other options include:
- Blue Jeans
For Time Management, The choice for what tool you choose to schedule your day on is one of the most important decisions you will take in terms of disciplining and organizing our daily efforts. Today we went with Google Calendars due to its easy and intuitive learning curve. Other equally great options would be:
- I Done This
For Product Management, our choice of the day was GitHub. Having a reliable and easy to use Project management system is essential for a well functioning remote work framework.
The main reason behind this is that it organizes the different duties of your team members & keep track of progress. The reason we chose GitHub, is it helps in preventing overwrites and keeping cards where they should be. Other options include:
- Pivotal Tracker
Those are just some of the apps and different types of tools that will make your time spent remotely that much more productive, effective & not alone.
In conclusion, working from home or remote work could be an absolute blessing or a curse, depending on how you approach and prepare for it.
There is no need to fear it though as it is far from being an wild beast as the recent use of the Format has benefited both business owners and employees alike. So prepare your working Area, get your schedule ready and keep calm and carry on remotely that is.