by Nicole Klink / 21 Januray 2022
Are you one of those people working remotely either from time to time or even exclusively? And have you already noticed that you became more stressed, more emotional, more restless, more hectic, more irritable or even less motivated, less focused, more tired, less interested, more (physically/mentally) unbalanced than when back in the times you still went to the office every day? – If so I would like to support you with some suggestions to get back into balance.
Let's get started!
First of all, let me say this: if you are so lucky as to being able to decide for yourself whether or not you want to work in the office or from home, ask yourself which way of working suits you better personally. For many people remote work still has got an air of freedom and progress surrounding it. If you are one of these people, please open the window, air the room and take a deep breath! And then please take a close look at your individual situation and examine the advantages and disadvantages of both options. Be open to the fact that going to the office might be the better option for you!
With this in mind, let's now look at some ways to make remote work more satisfying and productive.
Setting up your workplace.
Make sure that you set up your workplace according to your physical and mental needs. This applies to all work equipment that you use.
A working internet connection is, of course, a basic requirement.
Ideally, all work equipment should be of comparable quality to the work equipment in the office. Here, the ergonomics of the desk and chair should be mentioned in particular. But a decent computer screen, a good source of light and, if necessary, a certain amount of privacy (for reasons of concentration, but also for data protection reasons) are also very important.
Implement structure and regularities from your previous work routine in the office. At the same time, make the best possible use of the flexibility that remote work offers you.
What does that mean exactly? - If possible, do not feel obliged to follow external demands only (customers, superiors, colleagues) when it comes to organizing and structuring time and content of your tasks. Instead also take your biorhythm into account. Ask yourself at which time it would be most comfortable for you to start your working day. Even if your individual office hours are irregular, e.g. because on some days you have to take the child to nursery, but on other days you don’t, getting up at the same time helps to keep your sleep rhythm stable.
Make sure to allocate tasks more challenging to time slots in which you normally show increased concentration. If your concentration drops – e.g. after lunch – switch to tasks that are less demanding. Furthermore, ensure eliminating sources of distraction and interruption.
Try to stick to the organisation and structure of working in the office. If you have found this rather challenging so far anyway, start doing it! This means: set realistic (achievable) goals for your workday and/or your work week and structure tasks by the using schedules, to-do lists, kanban boards or mind maps.
If possible, take short breaks of 5-7 minutes on a regular basis (at least once an hour). Take your eyes off the screen, stand up and walk around the room or stretch.
Remote work and the pandemic in general result in lack of exercise. Therefore create small "islands of exercise". What is meant by this? – Well, don't put a big water bottle or teapot at your desk, but instead use items that require you to stand up to refill. Stand up while making phone calls or walk around if you can. Use lunch breaks for a walk or for taking a run from time to time.
Keep track of your working hours. This applies even more so if you happen to feel that private and professional life seem to be merging too much because of the shared location. Or if you are still performing tasks after hours. Or if you feel that you cannot distance yourself from work. If possible, make sure you communicate clear working hours and enforce too. It can also be helpful to separate the place of work (desk) within the room, flat or house from the privately used corners or rooms.
Agree on sensible communication rules with your colleagues and managers. Consider your needs on the one hand and expectations from others on the other hand, and determine suitable times for email-free phases (times when you do not read emails) or phone hours. Do not forget communicate those so others are aware.
Check which communication channels are most effective and efficient in which situations with which communication partners? Ask yourself if calling someone is the best option. A small issue might grow to taking up a lot of time because you have to make some small talk with the customer or you start privately chatting with your colleague (which from a social aspect is fine).
See which of these suggestions suit your everyday life and can be easily implemented. The more you succeed in reconciling the requirements of remote work with your physical and mental needs, the more you will feel satisfied and comfortable with it. With this in mind: happy working!
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