70% of people around the world work remotely at least once a week, according to a study by IWG that surveyed over 18,000 professionals across more than 96 countries.
But how many of these remote workers are actually getting the most out of working from home?
The benefits of working remotely are well-known, from increased productivity and improved employee wellbeing, to better retention rates and lower staff sickness levels. But it’s not without its problems.
Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019 report, which surveyed more than 2,500 remote workers, revealed the most common issues that people face when working from home. 22% struggle to switch off after work, 19% report feelings of loneliness, and 17% have difficulties collaborating or communicating.
As it turns out, working remotely is a skill in itself that requires some getting used to. Most of us began our working life going into the office every day, so office etiquette – including the daily commute, the chit-chat over coffee, and the allotted lunch hour – is ingrained early on. Switching to a different way of working – one where you can control your schedule, make time for hobbies in your lunch break, and work from your sofa with the cat sat next to you – is liberating, but it can feel completely alien at first.
With that in mind, our very own Claromentis remote workers have shared their tips on how to work from home effectively, so that you can reap the rewards of remote working without the negatives:
Create a morning routine to start the work day
The journey from your bed to your sofa is inevitably much shorter than if you were travelling to a physical office. This lack of transition can make the start of the working day a bit jarring, so formulating a morning routine for your work from home days can really help.
“I start my day with a good breakfast tea or coffee then plug my laptop into my external monitor – this way I am ready for the day”, says Claromentis CTO and work from home aficionado Mike Christian.
Front-end developer Simon Young prefers to get outside before the work day starts. He says: “It’s quite tempting to go straight from waking up to breakfast and turning your laptop on and beginning work whilst eating breakfast. Going outside breaks that up.”
Music can help set the scene too. Mike Christian is an advocate for starting the day with some uplifting music, explaining: “It’s incredible how music can change the mood and atmosphere.”
Have a pet? Keep them around your work station (if you can!)
Pets are wonderful. They provide company, unconditional friendship, and are known to help combat mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
If you’re a pet owner, working from home gives you a great opportunity to spend more time with them – a bonus that both you and your furry friend will appreciate. The sense of calm and structure that they bring can really help your remote working environment thrive. Having your pet curled up next to you on the sofa can help fight feelings of loneliness too.
Pets give you a reason to take a break, helping you switch off and stay motivated. Taking your dog for a walk can signal the end of the day, or spending five minutes giving your cat a fuss can be a good way to take a breather.
Here at Claromentis, we have many dog and cat owners who love the company and ‘help’ that they provide (who doesn’t want their cat sitting on their laptop in the middle of a meeting?) For Mike Christian, it’s his pet tortoise Mochi who keeps him motivated throughout the day. He says: “Mochi loves garden weed and kale. His graceful and slow movement gives me a sense of calm.”
(L – R clockwise) Mochi the tortoise, June the cat, Tilly the cat, and Marley the dog often ‘help’ Claro team members get their work done 😂❤️
Enjoy the comforts of home
Working from home can be a real boost for productivity and concentration levels, as you’re able to optimise your environment to suit your working style. With no office small-talk, loud phone calls, or noisy coffee machines to distract you, you can enjoy the comforts of your own home and work in the peace and quiet – super handy if you need to focus on a meaty project. Software developer Andy Taylor, who works remotely 100% of the time, agrees. He says: “I generally get a lot more done because I can concentrate more on what I’m doing without being distracted by the background chatter of the office.”
Build movement into your day
It’s all too easy to sink into your sofa at 9am and not move again until lunch time. Not only is this a one-way ticket to bad posture, it could trigger the start of a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to all sorts of health issues.
If you work from home every day, or even a few times a week, it’s important to proactively build some movement into your day. This will help boost your energy levels, minimise long stretches of screen-time, and keep you active.
Getting some exercise can give you some much needed clarity too. Simon Young recommends going out for a walk any time you get stuck on a problem. He explains: “Going for a walk helps reset the brain and come back with fresh ideas or a fresh approach.” This works for me too, especially if I get a case of writer’s block – even a quick jog up the stairs can be enough to get the creative juices flowing again!