By this time in 2020, we have all worked remotely at one point or other: answering emails, responding to texts, logging into your system to just check on things. We’ve done it when we’re homesick, during a family vacation, even at night when we’re supposed to be shut down. And there are tons of articles online that give advice about establishing work/life boundaries, setting up a routine, allow mental “getaway” time, etc.
This is not that article.
With coronavirus v2019, it’s not just about transitioning from being an in-office team member to a remote one or even how to be a better remote worker on an increasingly remote team. Suddenly, it’s about becoming a responsible remote worker in a haven of ever-increasing cybersecurity threats, risk of burnout, and fear in the public world.
While Njevity, Inc. has an HQ with regular officemates, many team members only work remotely all over the country. The company also has an open policy when it comes to work-from-home requests. After all, PowerGP Online is designed to help our customers have the freedom to accomplish their work where they desire, so why shouldn’t we encourage our own team to live out what we promise to our customers?
Having lived out the remote work life for so long, here are 5 ways to be a successful (stressed) remote worker:
1. Burnout Is Real
It cannot be said enough. Remote workers are just as much at risk of burnout as in-office workers. (They may even be more at-risk!) Burnout isn’t just about working too much. It is caused by a Petri-dish-blend of the never-ending task list, mixed with your computer always staring at you from the corner of the room, and compounded with additional daily stressors. In other words, at the end of an in-office workday, you physically remove yourself from work. If you work from home, you don’t – and therefore lack the psychological signal that it’s time to put work away. When we answer an email from the couch at 9PM after working all day, we feel dignified. When we answer an email at 9PM at home after working from home all day, we’re still working.
Work with your team and managers to set healthy, known boundaries for working hours. Let it be understood that a text is required if an email needs to be answered with urgency – otherwise, it will (and must) wait until the next day. Go for a walk at the end of each workday to help signal that shut down. Or find another activity that helps.
If you feel over-stressed and at risk of burnout, please communicate and talk through it with your manager.
2. Stay Flexible
Suppose your organization is going from zero remote workers to all or a few to more. In that case, it’s crucial to stay flexible. Know that processes are going to need to be reworked. Lines of communication need to be reorganized. There will be a transition period! So, stay flexible.
Also, you may suddenly have a different coworker… who even works for another company! A spouse, roommate, co-habitator may suddenly be joining your already well-established remote working routine. You may have to share an office. Find different ways to utilize another area of the house. Your work calendars might need to be synced if you suddenly need to accommodate having kids at home. And take it all in stride! There have been some great family moments that have come from a remote working situation.
3. Learn Something New
A new hobby might help you find ways to balance a work-at-home and live-at-home life, but what I really mean is that you should learn something new about your job. It can become imperative to have cross-trained team members, and you may want to help in other areas should someone be out for a length of time.
Reach out to your team leads and managers for those resources if you aren’t sure – or ask which area might be most helpful to learn.
4. Keep Yourself (and Your Company) Safe
Working remotely in an era of some uncertainty signals an opportunity for increased cyber-attacks and phishing schemes. Criminals are hoping your organizational communication channels are breaking down or becoming muddy. Keep a cautious eye out, and overcommunicate to your team leads about anything that might be suspicious.
Of course, follow the processes in place for connecting to remote environments. MFAs (multi-factor authentication), VPNs (virtual private network), and secure hosting environments might become part of your daily lingo – even though they already should be!
5. Engage Smartly
News and social media sites can be wonderous things to help us stay up-to-date with the latest happenings around the globe – but learn to recognize when having that constant connection is doing more harm than good. Read the right content. Do not use screen applications as a transition from “work-world” to “life-world.” Opt-out of conversations if your stress level gets too high.
Working remote provides you with the perfect opportunity to make your work environment as beneficial and successful as you want it to be! Be mindful of that, and take advantage of it!
Working remote has its pros and cons, but when you keep these tips in mind, you might be able to make any situation one that helps you thrive!
If you’re looking for ways your company may be changing to help accommodate a remote workforce, check out 5 Ways to Be a Successful Remote Organization.
As a Cloud ERP, PowerGP Online can help you work and manage the business remotely:
- Premium MFA Security
- Approve and monitor processes like purchase orders on your phone
- Get payroll done
- Generate reports
- Integrate with your other systems
- Control, predict and monitor your cash flow
- And so much more