After decades spent in offices, the idea of working remotely seemed alien to a large part of the population even back in 2019, especially to those who have bonded with their colleagues and find face-to-face communication the most effective. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made adjustments, and not necessarily for the worse.
People have switched to remote work for numerous reasons: family, personal, financial. If your employer has not offered you to work from home yet, there is no better time to enquire than now. Studies show that most companies are willing to consider giving their workers opportunities to work from home at least partly, while many employees have already embraced the chance. With the emergence of tools such as Slack, Zoom, Trello and Docusign, companies that never even considered vacating offices have given it a chance and it paid off.
In fact, a number of tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, have officially let their employees work remotely permanently. This is a clear indicator that productivity need not fall compared to the usual state of affairs, and remote work may remain even after the pandemic subsides.
So if you have decided that now is the time, start taking first steps. Ask your boss whether this is an option, but be prepared to motivate your request. The risk of contracting the coronavirus can be one of the reasons, but can you be sure that you can maintain the expected standard of work at all times?
It is a sound idea to start off by suggesting working one or two days a week away from the office. This way you can show your ability to adapt, and as long as your productivity is not negatively affected, this is a great start.
As for the tips to make remote working effective, here are some.
It is easy to fall into the trap of “feeling at home”. There is likely less control, nobody is there to watch you and question your behavior. Therefore, it is crucial that you get yourself in the working mood. Think of it as your standard day at the office. Would you turn up in your PJs? Unlikely (well, maybe once a year!). Would you work lying down? Probably not. So don’t do this at home either. Take the process seriously. You would be surprised what a difference it makes! Besides, there may be urgent calls, and you want to be 100% prepared for them both visually and mentally.
It is also easy to get distracted doing some chores. You may take 15-minute breaks, but anything that would seem unreasonable in the office is a no at home too. Stick to your normal working hours and leave the housework for lunchtime or afterward.
It is highly important to set up your desk. Make sure you get natural light during the daytime and use a comfortable chair. These things are crucial for productive work.
But if your employer does not offer an option to work remotely, don’t lose heart either – there are plenty of openings on offer nowadays if you look out for them, even in the most conservative of industries. One of the easiest ways to look for them is by using an aggregator of all the different vacancies available. Use keywords “online”, “remote” and “home” to find the listing that offers remote work and specify the industry and position you would be interested in. To save you time and not to miss any new ones, you can sign up to a regular mailout to get all the latest job offerings delivered right to your inbox.
The times might be tough, but considering how many companies have switched to online work mode, you will be presented with a number of options. It is up to you to make the most of the opportunities provided. As long as you devote the time to find the job of your dreams, whether it be at your current place or elsewhere, the world is your oyster!