Nowadays, we’re using technology to achieve things that we wouldn’t have even dreamt of just a few years ago. The 21st century has presented us with many amazing advancements, from exoskeletons to autonomous vehicles. A lot has changed in the way people work thanks to technology, too. With telecommuting and remote work, location is not the limit anymore. The internet has allowed many professionals to leave their office desks and work from their own homes or wherever they wish, at least once in a while. Read and check the work from home for beginners.

According to the Global State of Remote Work 2018 by OWL Labs, 56% of companies allow remote work. 16% are remote only. In the last ten years in the United States alone, there was a 91% increase in remote work.

In this article, I’ll show you the benefits working remotely can have on the employees’ remote work life balance, well-being, and productivity. I will also guide you through the basics of introducing remote work in your team. You can also count on some practical tips for staying productive while working from home. And lastly, I’ll address the current health situation — and how remote work could help our society minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.

Remote work as a way to increase work-life balance

Statistics show that 52% of employees around the globe work from home at least once a week. Those in America are regularly surveyed about remote work by different organizations. And so far, data shows that occasional work from home influences their work-life balance and productivity in a positive way.

remote work guide for beginners

Additionally, according to the statistics from the U.S., employees who work from home take 50% less sick days than those who work at the offices.

Remote work tips for managers & team leaders

If your company doesn’t allow working from home or you still don’t have a clear policy on remote work, but you’re willing to change the situation — here are a few tips to guide you through the process.

1. Prepare a remote work policy. But before you write down a set of rules, make sure to hear out both the managers and the employees. Discuss all the expectations and capabilities.

Your remote work policy should state:

  • how many days of remote work are allowed per week (or per month),
  • how employees are supposed to request them (if they are),
  • what is the notice period for a remote work request,
  • what is the main tool for communication (for example Slack),
  • what is the main tool for task management (unless you decide to let each team pick their own software)

2. Let everyone know. Send out a message with the policy to all team members, be open to answer their questions. They’ll probably have more than you think.

3. Make sure everyone has the tools they need. Instruct the team on how to install all the required software.  If necessary, have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) set up and guide to remote work the team through configuring it on their computers.

Useful software

There is a wide variety of tools designed to help remote teams plan their tasks, keep track of their projects and collaborate in real time.

Free task management tools

There’s plenty of good free task management tools.

To name a few:

These applications also come in paid premium versions, but the basic free features are often enough for planning tasks and following up on their progress individually or in smaller teams.

 

Online collaboration tools

Collaboration software is more complicated than a simple task manager. That’s why it’s rarely free of charge. But if you’re running complex projects, you may find some of these programs useful:

Of course, you can try them for free first.

If your company uses Microsoft solutions, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 could be a good combination. If your team members use different operating systems, Google Drive is great for sharing files and real time collaboration.

And if your company hires software developers, you probably know Jira already.

How to stay productive while working from home?

1. Set up a home office

If you have a tendency to get distracted or work overtime, you should set up a basic home office —  a designated space for all your work-related activities. A quiet corner with a desk, a chair, and a filing cabinet or a shelf will be enough.

On the one hand, it will help you feel that you are at work and focus. On the other hand, it will also make it easier for you to maintain a healthy work-life balance by keeping the work sphere and the home sphere separate.

2. Set boundaries

Make it clear to your family and friends that remote work is not time off. You can’t do the shopping, cook an elaborate meal or sit down with them for a long chat during your working hours. Why? Because you’re at work.

3. Plan your day

Starting your work day with compiling a to-do list and prioritizing tasks. A roadmap will help you focus on the most important things first when there is no buzz of the busy co-workers around to remind you what’s urgent.

4. Take breaks

Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s a simple method for improving productivity by taking regular five-minute breaks every twenty-five minutes of work. You don’t have to count the time yourself, online timers like this one will do it for you.

5. Communicate with your coworkers

Last but not least, make sure you’re on the same page with your teammates. If you don’t meet online for a daily call for updates, browse through their tasks on whichever task management tool you decide on to follow their progress. And, of course, update your own tasks, so they also know what you’re working on.

Work from home in times of COVID-19 coronavirus

Earlier in the article I mentioned that American employees who work from home take 50% less sick days than those who work at the offices. Right now, when the new COVID-19 coronavirus is quickly spreading across the globe, it makes more sense than ever to allow your team to work remotely in the safety of their houses. It’s easy to calculate that just one day of working from home a week might reduce their chances of catching an infection at the office or on their way — on public transportation — by up to 20%.

As the Verge reports, Google has recommended its North-American employees to work from home until April 10th, and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has encouraged Apple team members to work remotely if possible from March 9th to 13th. Not to mention that more and more governments close down places of public gatherings. And it’s hard to believe they’d be doing it to contribute to the panic. They’re doing it to slow down the spread of the virus.

At Codete, we have experience in working and collaborating remotely. You can take our word for it: it’s possible to successfully deliver a project without being all present in one office. In the present situation, we’re also conducting all interviews online.

If you have any questions regarding introducing remote work at your company, managing remote employees or simply staying efficient while working at your home office, feel free to ask in the comments section. We’ll be happy to help you.

grzegorz.smialek

Greg is a business leader responsible for finance and people departments. He also oversees the company's ongoing expansion efforts into international markets. Greg earned a master's degree in law from Jagiellonian University, and executive certificate from Harvard Business School.