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Making Changes With Remote Working

Back in 2014, I started working remotely when living in Italy. There wasn’t an office, and I had no colleagues nearby. This was a first for me, but I had managed to do it for many years.

Since then, I’ve tried many approaches. Some worked. Some were a disaster. I had even returned to an office environment two years ago when I joined PLH Medical, however, I have found myself working remotely again!

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies are requiring employees to work from home. It can be hard if you’ve never done it or haven’t done it regularly.

This post is about my experience. Yours will undoubtedly be different. After all, you must figure out your own rules when working from home. Since the UK lockdown, I have recently reconfigured the space in which I call my office. This is also due to my significant other now working from home which has presented different challenges such as, workspace, taking calls and such! However, it does come with its added benefits such as unlimited brew supplies and also another human being’s company.

Not everyone will have the opportunity to work alongside someone else during remote working, which is why you should be transparent with your friends, your team, and your manager about what you’re doing so you can find the best way to be productive.

Define Your Divide
Being a productive worker when being remote requires discipline, especially if you’re trying to demonstrate that you’re trustworthy and that working from home isn’t something for emergencies only. I have a dedicated working space. I have tried the couch and the dining room table, but those never worked for me. I eventually would get distracted. When you find that place, record a few minutes of audio and listen to it. You’d be surprised how much people on your conference calls can hear. I was surprised to learn that some microphones are designed to highlight background noises such as children crying or dogs barking!

I start every day the same way, which helps me transition to “work mode.” When my headphones are on, I’m working. And I wear them, even if I’m not listening to anything. I also use my laptop computer as an on/off switch. I turn it on while I’m preparing my first cup of tea in the morning, and it stays on for the rest of the day. Turning it off? That’s a signal my day is done.

Engage Your Family
Discussions surrounding working from home often focus on an employee’s relationship with their employer. But what about the family? If you’re new to working from home, understand that it doesn’t just mean change for you. It also means change for those who share the home with you. Thankfully it is just me, my significant other, an unhelpful cat and a house rabbit. However, some individuals may be working from home with small children. Find the right balance between work and home. Set work hours that you can follow, and make sure your family knows what they are. Create physical signals to let them know that you are working (these could be headphones on or a closed office door).

Working from home can be a big change if you’ve never done it before. But if you’re thoughtful about your approach, you can be productive, happy, and successful.

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Gemma Wilson
Marketing & Communications
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