With the eruption of COVID-19, remote work has become the main modus operandi for knowledge workers. Although remote work is not a new phenomenon, it is new territory for many workers.
Being the case, it is eminent there are going to be pain points in making the transition, and also mistakes would not too far off.
In this article, we are going to look at the 5 common mistakes to avoid when working remotely.
1) Not setting up a work station
If you have a home office, you are good to go. In the event, you do not have one you must create a work station.
Set up a table and a chair in a quiet area in your home where you will have minimal interruptions. Ensure the area you choose has good lighting and ventilation.
If you think this is not necessary and want to work from the sofa or bed, kindly shelf that idea. Chances of you being productive in these spaces are very slim. This is because your mind associates them with rest, and the possibility of you falling asleep when working is very high. So, set up a work station.
2) Lack of boundaries
To thrive in remote work, you have to create boundaries. This is harder at home since there is no line in the sand demarcating professional life and personal life.
The main boundary you will have to set when working from home is saying no.
This is because people tend to think you are always available, which is not the case.
For this reason, they tend to violate your time with requests that are distracting you from work.
To remedy this, communicate clearly to your friends and family the times you work. Make it clear if anyone needs you during this time they will have to wait until you are through with your work. If someone violates this boundary, say no.
It may be tough if people are used to having access to you when you are working at home. However, there is no going around it. You have to set boundaries if you are to be productive working from home.
3) Giving into digital distractions
You may set boundaries, but you still have distractions going on. You have your phone, social media, notifications buzzing off, cat videos, and a million and one other things going on.
The problem with these digital distractions is they lead you down the internet rabbit hole. Before you know it, you have wasted your day.
To avoid these digital distractions, start by turning off all notifications. If possible, switch off your phone altogether and keep it away from you until you finish your work.
To take it a notch higher, delete all social media apps from your phone. It will save time and allow you to be productive.
4) Having unrealistic expectations
Most of the time, people tend to underestimate how much time it takes to perform a task. For example, if you are an accountant, you estimate it will take you 4 hours to file tax returns for a client. However, when you sit down to do the work, you find yourself spending a whole day on their file.
It is the case of optimism bias when you over-predict success and under-predict failure.
This is why you need to have realistic expectations. It will save you from disappointing yourself and over committing to clients when working remotely.
5) Not finding a Work from Home community
Working from home is a solitary sport, and it can get lonely. That does not mean you have to accept the status quo. It is time to find your tribe.
Start looking out for friends who are also working from home. If you do not find them, go online and look for people who are working from home you can connect with.
Finding a community will give you the support of working online, and take the edge off loneliness.
Some activities you can do together with your work from the home community are creating online co-working days, taking an online course together, career mentoring, among other activities.
When COVID-19 restrictions are over, take it further and engage in-person activities like coffee dates, cookouts, outdoor activities, etc
While reaching out for a community, also do not forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you take regular breaks, call your friends and family, eat healthily, and drink 8 glasses of water.
In case you feel overwhelmed with working remotely, ask for help.
Working from home is now the new normal. Going forward post-COVID-19, it may be the norm for most knowledge workers. Therefore, it is time to gain the skills needed to succeed in remote work.
Avoid the above mistakes, and you will find yourself being very productive while working from home.