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Remote working versus working in an office

Healthy changes to make

The rapid shift to remote working has proven many jobs are capable of being done at home. There are some changes that we need to make if this is going to continue.

  • Separate your home and work responsibilities. Between checking the news and taking care of your children, you may feel pressure to work more.
  • Take regular breaks from work, even just for 10 minutes. It is easy to feel that you're always "being on" - which is how burnout happens. Periodically "signing off" allows you to recharge.
  • A solution may be fewer days per week at home. A 4-day workweek can improve worker's productivity by up to 40 percent.

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Remote working versus working in an office

Remote working versus working in an office

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/remote-work-life-balance?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

The steady rise of remote workers

Over the last decade, remote working has become more and more popular.

  • In 2003, 19.6 percent of people were considered remote workers.
  • In 2015, the number has climbed to 24.1 percent.
  • A 2019 study of over 1200 full-time workers showed that 62 percent of people were remote workers.
  • With the pandemic in 2020, even more people are forced to telecommute, and working from home became the norm.

According to many outlets, remote work is here to stay.

Remote working vs working in an office

While there are many benefits to working from home, we need to be aware of a few things.

  • Remote workers may be working on average 3.13 more hours at home than at work. Over time, it can become detrimental to your mental health and your productivity.
  • You're eating and exercise habits may become worse while you're working from home. Fifty percent of respondents to the Bluejeans survey say they have not been able to exercise regularly.
  • Distractions can cut your productivity. The most commonly reported distractions that remote workers face are taking care of kids (27.6 percent), scrolling through social media (26.5 percent), checking on the news (26.1 percent), and getting distracted by streaming services (9.7 percent).

Healthy changes to make

The rapid shift to remote working has proven many jobs are capable of being done at home. There are some changes that we need to make if this is going to continue.

  • Separate your home and work responsibilities. Between checking the news and taking care of your children, you may feel pressure to work more.
  • Take regular breaks from work, even just for 10 minutes. It is easy to feel that you're always "being on" - which is how burnout happens. Periodically "signing off" allows you to recharge.
  • A solution may be fewer days per week at home. A 4-day workweek can improve worker's productivity by up to 40 percent.

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A morning routine is great for productivity too.

Dance Parties And Music Playlists

Infusing music and dance in your breaks can add a sense of pleasure in the otherwise dull and drab routine, enhancing the immediate virtual surrounding of the extroverts.

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The shared context

For the whole idea of remote work to actually work, you have to develop a remote culture for your team.
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Working from home misconceptions

Working from home does not mean you are a remote worker. For a lot of people “working from home” is synonymous with not really working, but instead sitting at home in comfy clothes and doing anything but working. Because no one is really watching you.

Rules for remote work
  • Assume remote, even if you have only 1 person that is not coming to the office. So make sure to share all the information from meetings in a written format.
  • Have a private, quiet, dedicated space for working in your home. Preferably with a door that closes.
  • Have the right digital equipment.
  • Over-communicate.
  • Make sure you get to actual meet your colleagues face to face.
  • Have a time overlap with your team.

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Lower accountability
Lower accountability

Procrastinating is even easier when you have no one looking over your shoulder. Lower accountability can make procrastination more likely at home.

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High tolerance to frustration

People with high frustration tolerances are the ones that generally succeed at remote work. And you can take steps to raise your frustration tolerance and become more conscientious by working on your impulsivity.

A non-conscientious person will find another activity (a distraction most likely) the moment something challenging or uncomfortable comes up. They have to be more conscious to stay in the moment: count to five or take five deep breaths, for example.

A lack of boundaries

When work and personal activities are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work while you are outside your physical office.

Those who work well from home create boundaries in a work-life world without them. Then, once these parameters are established, people who commit fewer ‘boundary violations’ are better off.

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Burnout And The World Health Organization
  • According to the World Health Organization, Burnout is classified as an occupational phenomenon, also known as vital exhaustion.
  • It is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress and anxiety, causing physical and mental problems.
  • The symptoms include energy depletion, exhaustion, increased mental distance, a negative outlook towards one’s job and diminished productivity.
WFH Burnout Symptoms

Burnout is experienced in a different shade at home, where the symptoms tend to be tiredness, confusion, forgetfulness, frustration and anger. As the mood starts to dip slowly, the mind reaches a low state, from which it is hard to climb back.

Taking a vacation is a great idea, to begin with, even if you don’t really go anywhere. The idea is to take a break from your work.

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Remote Working

Remote working is not all glamorous as portrayed in social media, and many remote workers, while being free to roam around, are lonely.

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  • Constant working in isolation leads to irregular sleep patterns, mood swings and eating disorders due to a lack of routine and structure in a day.
A Healthy Balance

Remote working may have tremendous advantages but research suggests that human beings aren’t meant to work in isolation. Working socially with co-workers who are good friends leads to higher engagement and satisfaction in one’s job.

For remote working to be successful, it needs to be tailored to suit one’s particular needs and personality, finding a good fit, while taking care of one’s mental well-being.

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Flexibility with remote work
Flexibility with remote work

Usually, working from home is about flexibility. Every single person will have a different schedule, which will make them more productive.

Early risers and night owls
  • Early risers may work from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., take a break to get kids sorted for school, then start work again at 8:30 a.m and be finished by 2:30 p.m.
  • Some may sleep in and only start working around 10 a.m. They may stop at 3 p.m. and work again between 10 p.m and 1 a.m. when the house is quiet.

It's not always a matter of early versus late. Some people work longer hours on some days to give themselves a break on other days. It's all a matter of fitting work into your lifestyle and when you're most productive.

Batching for productivity

Batching is a common productivity strategy - group similar tasks together so your brain doesn't tire with too much context switching.

For example, to break your day into three-to four-hour work sessions with two- to three-hour breaks or naps in between. That way, you can focus on specific tasks during each session.

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Work-Life Balance When Working From Home
  • Though employees are happy to see the demise of daily commutes and parking hassles, they are finding out that there is no work-life balance at home.
  • Most workers live in apartments that aren’t suitable for 8 to 10 hours of work every day, as it was never designed to be a full-fledged office.
  • Many employees would want to get back to offices as soon as possible due to social and mental issues, like the feeling of loneliness at home.
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HR departments worldwide are fueling the use of technology to have a way to control the employees that are now no longer in the office.

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Start Early and Mimic Office Time

The schedule that makes you start early, and mimic the office hours works best, as you end up being free earlier too. However, night owls may find working at night to be more productive or comfortable for them.

Maintaining a schedule in a routine, while incorporating regular exercise with it, works best.

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Real-time communication drawbacks

While real-time communication inside of a team might lead to solving faster some issues, it also has various disadvantages. 

For instance, having your colleagues come to ask you questions to which you feel pressured to answer on the spot leads to you being continuously interrupted, which results in being less productive and feeling stressed or even getting a burnout, as you try to do everything in proper time.

The asynchronous workplace

When the employees are provided with control as to when they are willing to communicate with their co-workers, there are many advantages that emerge. 

For instance, having the freedom to decide exactly how your working day should look like leads to more satisfied employees as well as to better communication within the team. Further benefits vary from feeling less stressed due to better planning to greater transparency and more efficient work.

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Plan your morning the night before and stick to your plan. 
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Deciding where to work
  • If you know you’re more likely to work from home, invest in comfortable furniture; you feel good it will inspire you to get work done.
  • If you want to join a local co-working space but are intimidated by the price point, ask about smaller memberships to start.
Prioritizing tasks

Don’t let your skepticism about productivity hacks get in the way of finding a technique that suits you and helps you get things done.
If you’re still having a hard time identifying priorities, try working backward by identifying work that’s definitely not a priority. Eliminate those items and assess what’s left.

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