With COVID-19 forcing most companies all over the world to send their employees to work from home virtually, remote work activity skyrocketed. Although, there was an immense, initial rush to give all employees access to work-from-home online tools, such as Zoom, Slack and collaboration platforms. But after everyone settled into this state of remote work, it seemed that employees can still be productive and focused when not in the office. There are many reasons for this increase in productivity from a better work-life balance to less commute stress and a customizable office. However, this transition back home has not been easy on everyone. To help alleviate this burden, it is beneficial to develop good work from home habits. Although it usually takes months to build and maintain these habits, getting rid of the bad ones is usually a very long endeavor. However, over time, these good habits usually end up sticking to help you work more productively at home.
What is a Working Habit?
A working habit is any behavioral, ethical, and practical elements applied by employees that contribute to their job responsibilities and duties. These habits set a foundation for employees to work efficiently and effectively with trust, regular attendance, and skillful time management.
Incorporate the top 5 work ethic traits most valued by leaders
Serious workers often maintain an appreciable level of professionalism in the way they dress like, talk like, and work like, especially in the office. However, working at home, it is easy to let things slide that we take for granted in the office. For example, most employees would dress up for the office, but would you dress up for your home desk where you take your work calls? The backdrop of a messy room or an unkempt appearance does not make you stand out as a particularly professional employee. Do everything you can to make it clear you take your job seriously, even from home. While dressing properly for meetings and online sessions is important, professionalism is more than the way you dress. It also has to do with your sense of responsibility, work ethics, integrity, competence, quality of delivery, respect, and overall characteristics as a profession.
Be a team player
Every organization relies on good teams, as effective teamwork in the workplace help drive the organization to success. Some ways to be a team player for your organization is by showing genuine commitment. Team players are genuinely committed to their cause and show it through their actions by contributing as much as possible. Team players also are flexible in the different situations thrown their way. They are able to tackle challenges with their team, while being open to other people’s ideas and perspectives. This means honing in on your listening skills and being receptive to feedback from co-workers. Being a team player not only sets you up for greater success at your job but also brings together different points of views and allows for a diversity of ideas to flourish.
Conduct effective remote communication
One of the biggest challenges facing the remote workplace is communication. Face-to-face communication in an office is often natural and frequent; however, this is more difficult to arrange when working from home. Some ways to maintain effective communication skills from remote locations is to be proactive in communication with your team members, not just weekly check-ins. You should also be open and transparent with expectations for communication preferences with your manager to confirm preferred ways of communicating, whether it be via email or instant messaging on Slack or by phone number.
Create a culture of feedback
Feedback is a very important part of the workplace communication cycle to build a culture for continuous improvement. Through constant feedback, you and your manager play a vital role in nurturing a culture with good work ethics by facilitating open discussions, suggestions, and transparent exchange of ideas. You should be able to feel free to share what you think of your organization, management, and other employees. This culture of feedback and honesty builds employee morale and increases job performance
Master your organization’s technology
Understanding the nuances of the tools given from your manager is vital to working remotely. Depending on the complexity of your company and job role, you will use a variety of remote working tools to collaborate with your team. These project management softwares range from Asana or Basecamp to Word documents and spreadsheets. Remote work often includes utilizing remote conference calls. You will need to know how to turn your webcam off or on, depending on the meeting, mute or unmute yourself, and host or join meetings at the appropriate time.
Integrate these habits into your at-home work life to become even more productive:
Establish a designated workspace
Working from your bed may not always be the best idea because you might be tempted to sleep or relax. Creating your own home workspace provides many benefits, and it doesn’t even have to be a whole room, but it does have to be a distraction free setting. This means specifically dividing your living space into “home” and “a home office” to create a mental and physical link between being at home and being at “work.” You should also give everyone else in your home a solid reminder that you are working to reduce further distractions. Every 90 minutes (if possible), try to get up, stretch, and grab a drink of water to take a break.
Usually, at an office, employees walk around throughout the office, getting in their daily steps. Working from home can keep you at your desk for hours at a time. In between these hours or after, it is beneficial to develop a habit of exercising daily. These physical activities might include swimming, running, jogging, walking, and dancing, to name a few. Being active has proven to have many health benefits in the long and short run, both mentally and physically. One reason for exercising daily is that it can make you feel happier. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, and it doesn’t matter how intense the workout is. Just going out for a brisk jog can help uplift your mood. If you are trying this in between your work hours, it can even help you become more productive with your happier mood.
Create daily routines
Creating your own routine can provide very easy structure for your day to become productive. These specific routines while working from home will help you get into the flow of work. For example, in the morning you could read your emails while eating breakfast and spending time to detail the number of tasks you have for the day. Doing this every morning will help you fall into this habit and seamlessly transition you into your work schedule. You could also apply this to your mid-day and end-of-day work schedules. Research has shown that integrating these habits into your daily life have many benefits to your health. For example, having a regular routine can help you with lower stress levels, form daily habits, help you feel more productive, and help you feel more focused.
Just as it’s important to wear semi-professional clothes like you would at your office, it is very important to take breaks like you would in an office. It’s another advantage to having a designated work area. When it’s time to take a break, you can simply leave your work area and relax in the kitchen or in the living room, taking your mind off work for some time. Taking these breaks clears your mind, allowing you to have a more refreshed perspective. Research has found that short breaks throughout the working day reduce stress, help maintain focus and performance throughout the day, and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day. For example, taking something as simple as a lunch break can increase levels of energy for the rest of the day and decreases exhaustion.
When you do a good job, you deserve a reward. It can be as small as buying yourself a treat from the local coffee shop or taking a longer break to scroll through social media. Rewarding yourself throughout the day for these small achievements can help boost your mood and make you happier and more productive throughout the day. As a result, you will become more motivated and driven to finish your other tasks. Your home environment has many more opportunities for enjoyment than your office, such as your TV room, so use them to your advantage by pursuing them after you’ve done something worthy of a reward.
Keep these habits in mind throughout your work day, and you will enjoy the benefits of working from home, without sacrificing your productivity or satisfaction. Everyone works differently, so it might take some time before finding habits that work best for you. Stay consistent with your daily routines and habits, and eventually you’ll be able to find your own perfect system to keep you happy while working.