Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to suspend most of their on-site operations and adopt remote work or hybrid setups, many for the first time. Though this change was initially necessitated by health and safety restrictions, many employees found working from home boosted their productivity and sense of well-being. Now, more and more businesses have become open to the idea of continuing to offer remote work opportunities once the pandemic has passed.
Have you been looking to make the change from on-site to remote work? Are you curious about what you’d need to thrive in a fully remote or hybrid setup? This article outlines a few of the most important factors to consider before taking on a work-from-home job.
How to Keep Yourself Healthy
Employees who work from home are likely to develop injuries or chronic pain from sitting or performing repetitive tasks for extended periods. Accessories like compression leggings, gloves, and braces can improve your circulation and prevent you from hurting yourself. If you’re going to be seated for most of the day, for example, consider investing in a pair of compression over the calf socks—your legs and feet will thank you for it.
Not having to report to an office also means not having to commute to and from work every day. This is an undeniable plus for most people, as they can spend less time on the go and more time on productive tasks. It does also mean, though, that they lose the natural exercise they’d typically get from going to work and moving around the office.
To keep yourself in good physical and mental shape while working remotely, it’s important to work out regularly. Even if you can’t always commit to a full routine, it will help to do some light stretches during your breaks or to go for a walk after hours. Setting aside just a few minutes daily for exercise won’t just feel good physically; research shows it will do wonders for your focus, mood, and motivation as well.
What Equipment and Tools You’ll Need
Some companies may provide their remote employees with work laptops, headsets, speakers, and other equipment. But even with company support, you may still have to take some steps to set up an ideal work-from-home environment for yourself.
A high-speed internet connection is a must, for starters, as you’ll probably be on voice and video calls regularly. Consider performing a speed test online to make sure your connection can handle the bandwidth. If you live in a remote area you’ll need to research the best satellite options. You’ll also want to make sure that the computer you intend to use for work is in good condition and outfitted with all the necessary software.
If your current living space allows it, it may also help you to block off a dedicated work area to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Resist the temptation to work from your couch, your kitchen counter, or even your bed, as doing so can make it hard for you to mentally disengage at the end of the day. If you don’t have the space for a dedicated home office, try setting up all your work equipment at a desk, and keep all work-related tasks and documents within that space as much as possible.
How to Manage Your Time
When you work from home, you’ll likely be performing the majority of your tasks independently with limited supervision. While you may have set work hours, your employers will probably expect you to take more responsibility for how you use those hours. It will largely be up to you to keep yourself productive and on-task throughout the day.
If you aren’t the sort of person to make use of schedules and to-do lists, working from home might help you develop the habit. Writing down the most important tasks you have to accomplish during the day may help you stay focused and keep you accountable to yourself. Productivity trackers and other similar apps are also useful for monitoring the status of individual plans or projects.
How Much You Need Face-to-Face Contact
Early into the pandemic, many of us assumed we’d be back in the office after a few weeks, only to find that remote work may become permanent almost two years later. Before accepting a work-from-home or hybrid position, reflect on how the prolonged work-from-home setup affected you during the start of the pandemic. Did you find you became more productive or less productive? How did you feel throughout?
If you think you thrive off the independence and solitude that remote work offers, then scoring that job might be a dream come true. However, if social isolation and uncertainty impeded your remote work productivity, then you may need the interpersonal connections you can get from onsite work more. Heidi Brooks, an organizational behavior professor at the Yale School of Management, says we shouldn’t discount how the workplace allows for social connections that help with personal productivity.
Whether you’re happiest and most productive working alone or with other people close at hand, it’s best to be honest with yourself. That way, you’ll be able to look for work opportunities that are well-aligned with your needs and abilities.
For many businesses, the option of remote work may be here to stay even in a post-pandemic world. Many businesses have now realized they can offer remote or hybrid positions to expand their hiring pool and bring in talent from beyond local borders. Many employees also find that they perform best in these alternative setups. If you think working from home would be ideal for you, don’t hesitate to grab available opportunities in your chosen industry.