The current global situation has caused a dramatic shift in the way people work, with remote employment becoming increasingly necessary. This is due to the unprecedented level of disruption that is being experienced both in the workplace and in terms of people’s personal lives.
Although overcoming interruptions is a major part of working from home, if there is a desire (or a need), there is a solution.
Studies have suggested that, given the right attitude, resources, and organisational backing, remote employees could potentially be up to 40% more productive than those who work in an office environment.
Balancing the demands of work and home life can be challenging, particularly when you have young children or are trying to dissuade distant relatives from expecting you to be available for a phone call or visit just because you are at home.
As the current situation continues, many workers are facing similar circumstances, albeit without the surprise visits they may have expected. Understandably, this has caused a great deal of anxiety and worry among employees, as they ponder the future of their roles.
Advice for Teleworkers
For those who have never had experience of working remotely before, it can be a difficult task to prevent themselves from being continually disrupted. Even those who have some prior experience of this type of working may find that there are now problems that they have not previously encountered.
Here are five suggestions for minimising interruptions:
1. Family Support Is Priority
Given the current situation, it is not the usual case of working from home because there are school-aged children in the house. To keep up with their studies or simply to be entertained, they may need to use the same technology that you use.
It is recommended that you set aside particular hours and an area of your home specifically for work. During this time, your older children and husband could help with household chores and childcare duties.
2. Get Out of the Hutch
If your hotel room has a door, it is advisable to put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, so that you can concentrate on your work without being disturbed. Letting your family know that you are busy when the door is closed will help ensure that you are not disturbed.
If you find yourself in the situation where you are unable to avoid conducting your work from a shared space such as your kitchen table in your household, it is advisable to undertake tasks that require focus and concentration when the house is at its quietest, for example during the early hours of the morning or when everyone is asleep.
3. Rely on Assistive Technology
Noise-cancelling headphones are a good purchase if outside noise is a constant distraction.
The Bose QuietComfort both in its original and updated versions are exemplary headphones. Although the noise cancellation offered by the Sony WHX1000XM3 may not be as effective as what you would experience with Bose models, it still remains a commendable option for those who are looking to experience music in the background.
Many organisations recognise the benefits of equipping their staff with mobile devices such as tablets or laptops to enable them to work remotely. This also ensures that all personnel are using the same software and operating systems, thereby providing consistency across the workforce.
Getting a laptop for yourself or agreeing to a strict schedule is essential if you and your family members share a computer.
4. Put Things First
The self may be a source of both diversion and stress. Having too many tasks on your list might cause you to feel overwhelmed.
It is essential to focus on the most significant tasks and complete one job before moving onto the next. Breaking down a difficult task into smaller, more achievable goals is beneficial as it encourages a sense of progress. As each task is completed, it can be removed from the list, creating a feeling of accomplishment and providing motivation to continue.
5. Interact with Others (Moderately)
Distractions aren’t limited to those outside the home, though.
A lot of companies are also great locations to make friends. We often visit one other’s offices and hang out in the common area.
When an individual finds themselves in a situation of loneliness or boredom at work, they may be tempted to send numerous unnecessary messages to their colleagues. This is not only disruptive, but could also be seen as unprofessional and inconsiderate. To ensure that you are not that ‘jerk’ or ‘girl’ and foster a positive working environment, it is important to refrain from such behaviour.
Emails provide a convenient way of communication as they can be responded to at a time which is suitable for the recipient. It is essential to carefully review the subject lines of emails to ensure that no important messages are missed. On the other hand, with things such as phone calls, text messages, and instant messages, there is a greater chance of being distracted immediately.
Establishing a ‘Do Not Disturb’ status on messaging applications or temporarily muting incoming calls and texts may prove beneficial when this begins to impact on productivity. If deemed necessary, business owners and managers might consider implementing this as a rule during specific hours of the day in order to reduce the strain on employees.
What Successful Business Owners Can Do
When it comes to remote workers retaining their productivity on the job, many businesses and employees have concerns.
As a business leader, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that your team has the necessary resources to adapt to the new circumstances. This entails actively maintaining open channels of communication and setting standards that motivate productivity.
It is essential for successful leadership to involve being aware of any difficulties that subordinates may be facing in their personal lives; in order to ensure that employees are able to perform to their best, it may be necessary to readjust timetables and deadlines where possible. Furthermore, it is beneficial to provide instruction on how to optimise efficiency through the use of appropriate software programmes.
To a large extent, this is due to technological advancements.
As a manager, it is important to ensure that your team has all the necessary tools and resources to achieve success. Additionally, it is equally important to provide them with the necessary support to help them avoid potential distractions. For instance, many modern browsers and operating systems possess built-in tools which can help to prevent disruptive pop-up adverts. Therefore, it is prudent to remind your team of their existence in order to help them stay focused.
You may temporarily ban access to social media sites and networks on any office-issued device in advance.
In today’s digitally connected world, there is an abundance of online meeting and communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Skype that allow us to stay in touch. To ensure that our team remains up to date and motivated, we should schedule regular staff meetings. Additionally, these online tools allow for more intimate conversations between management and employees, which can help to foster a collaborative and supportive working environment.
Working remotely is not something new, however the current circumstances have presented a unique challenge to both managers and employees, with limited time to adjust to the new way of working.
We hope that the advice provided will help to alleviate the pressure on you and your team during this challenging time. Please remember that, despite the physical separation, we are still all united in this endeavour.