Working remotely was once a seldom practice, but a pandemic which wreaked havoc worldwide has led to a complete shift in attitude. The lockdown restrictions forced companies to turn to working from home, to ensure business continuity.

And so, how did it go? In the beginning, rather clumsily, with technical difficulties, with children barging in during executive meetings, and having to set policies in record times and tweak them on the go. 

How is it going one year later? Teams are working remotely in an efficient manner, with better planning, and technical coordination, that raises the potential for remote work to become a long-term practice.

While making the shift to home office or a hybrid model with people working both from home and office, employers’ main responsibilities were to ensure all the necessary tools and access were available. At the same time employees had to create a work space, habits of self-discipline, and motivation, in order to be effective and support the business.

From HR point of view the following can be recommended while working remotely:

Dress professionally

If a person has an intrinsic motivation to work efficiently and well, I recommend dressing as if you are at work: a tidy appearance and appropriate apparel. This self-discipline will allow you to be internally focussed on work. For many, this will be a test of strength and discipline, with some having a hard time adapting due to complacency; or procrastination leading to postponement of activities.

Create a working environment

Designate a working space/room with a desk, comfortable chair, an additional monitor if required, speaker and headset. Remove anything that could turn into a distraction.

Set goals and share your progress with the team

This ensures you are all connected, and can work towards one common goal. 

Maintain boundaries between work and life

This is the challenging part, as this is influenced by external factors such as children or a spouse working remotely as well. Best practise could be to create a clear daily schedule including the task of organising online-classes for your children, potential time needed to offer them assistance or ensuring childcare, so you can focus on your work.

Take breaks

This is of vital importance. Arrange all work, calls and meetings in a manner that will give you necessary time for lunch, drinking water or even exercise. If you are managing people, the schedule for lunch should be known beforehand so as not to disturb colleagues during lunch while always ensuring coverage. If breaks are taken at the same time, this can create conflicts and disrupt business continuity.

Be consistent and follow a routine

It is of utmost importance to keep to the routine and schedule you created. Any changes or unexpected events should be communicated to colleagues for a good working environment and coverage. If the routine does not work out, or you feel overwhelmed, remember to be kind to yourself and reach out for help.

Working from home requires you to be flexible, adapt to circumstances, and keep trying to develop good habits that enable you to work efficiently. Keeping the remote work goals at the top of your mind will help you be a good remote employee, while also supporting a balanced life.