Making the transition from an in-office environment to working remotely can be harder than it seems. Whether it’s getting used to at-home distractions, dealing with less-than-ideal home office setups or just maintaining the same level of productivity, many employees currently working from home struggle to find their flow.
Luckily, Tim Phan, a Geotab HR Training Specialist, has previous experience with working remotely and has shared some key takeaways for planning a successful workday. Read on to see his suggestions for staying productive, maintaining balance and more.
Embrace the positives
As someone who’s worked remotely previously, Phan knows that there are plenty of benefits to working at home. For him, not having to endure a long commute is one of the bonuses of switching to remote working.
“When Geotab moved to a majority work-from-home status in March, I knew I would not have to commute each morning to the office, which would save me approximately 60-90 minutes of total commuting each day,” says Phan.
He also points out that having a home office set-up allows for a better work-life balance: “I can work uninterrupted for longer stretches of time. I can take breaks and go for a walk around my neighbourhood. I can have lunch with my wife and spend time with my son during the day.”
Adjust your start and finish times to your schedule
Phan also recognizes that working from home allows for some leeway outside the regular 9-5 workday.
“I prefer working earlier in the day, however there are some projects or tasks that I might want to complete later in the evening. Being able to shift my projects and tasks to different times in the day allows me to put my best mental effort into my work, so that I can go above and beyond.”
Though this is not always an option at every company, Geotab allows employees to work on a flexible schedule to accommodate each employee’s needs.
Use the collaborative tools at your disposal
Another key way that Phan makes working from home easier is embracing the tools already on offer for him. At Geotab, Google’s G-Suite is an integrated part of every employee’s workday.
“I have found the best way to collaborate with my team and other Geotabbers is to use G-Suite. I actively use Gmail, but I also communicate through chat and comments within documents.”
From hopping on video calls to holding whiteboard sessions, these tools have always been available to Geotabbers and have only become more prevalent since the shift to remote working.
“With Google Meet, I have regularly scheduled and ad hoc meetings with my team. Whether it is a quick team huddle to see what everyone is working on, or a 60 minute conversation and collaborative work session, I find that seeing my team through video chat helps me feel connected and more productive,” says Phan. “G-Suite also includes Jamboard, which is a fantastic whiteboard tool to brainstorm and collaborate on ideas.”
See also: How to communicate effectively in the workplace
Separate your work space from your personal space
A great way to ensure productivity when working from home is to make sure your professional life doesn’t seep into your personal life. For Phan, a daily routine helps create a mental separation to foster productivity while having a separate room or area to go to for work helps maintain the balance.
“To create my routine, I ensure that I am in my home office at a specific time each morning. I have a morning routine to ‘get ready’ for work, where I’ll go for a morning walk, shower, have breakfast and then change into work clothes. Changing into work clothes mentally gets me ready to feel productive and focused at work. I then go into my home office and feel immediately at work.”
When Phan finishes work for the day he does the opposite: “I shut off my computer and monitors and have a quick routine to change out of my work clothes.”
This routine has helped him out immensely during Geotab’s work-from-home period, as it allows him to separate himself from work both physically and mentally.
It’s okay to miss the office
Like many Geotabbers, Phan misses the work perks, like catered Friday lunches, but finds that what he misses the most is the ability to collaborate and catch up with his colleagues in person.
“I miss bumping into people from other departments and teams and having a chat about what projects they are working on, how their week has been and building relationships with them. It still happens through Google Chat and Google Meet, but it isn’t as impromptu as it was when we were physically together at the office.”
He adds: “Another major aspect that I miss about the office is in-person onboarding for new hires. My role at Geotab as an HR Training Specialist is to facilitate the one-week orientation for new hires. Since March, I have helped onboard more than 100 new hires, but it has all been virtual. I look forward to when I can meet new hires, show them the office and learn more about them in a face-to-face setting.”
When speaking about a future return to the office Phan says: “I look forward to being able to return, even if it is some form of hybrid or blended approach.”
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