Remote work is no longer a trend — considering the pandemic that has gripped the world, working from home (WFH) is a necessity

It’s a way to ensure you stay employed, get a salary and keep finances stable. With global layoffs, you must adapt to this style of working ASAP!

As per a survey by Owl Labs 2019 State of Remote Work report, remote workers are happier at work. The report adds that 13% of them are more likely to stay at their current job for the next 5 years as compared to onsite counterparts.
 
Challenges of remote work collaboration
 
This infographic shows some of the challenges people face when working from home.
 
Yes, working from home does require strict focus for being productive on the job.

And that's why we are sharing top ways for you to maximize productivity when working from home:
 
 

1.Make the Most of Technology 

 
When telecommuting or working from home, you need to check out specific equipment requirements. Of course, a laptop or desktop to suit your primary work requirement is mandatory. Beyond this, here are some gadgets and devices will make WFH easier:
 

a. A Stable Internet Connection

 
Your phone’s hotspot or even a dongle might not suffice your internet speed requirements. You may experience connection drops. It’s advised to get high-speed wifi or cable connection depending on the device you are using — say laptop or desktop.
 
Now, keep in mind that there are multiple internet schemes available. There are some internet service providers who give options of unlimited speed or download, but these are very expensive.

Ideally, a speed of above 10Mbps is good for writers, data entry work, etc.
For a Digital Marketing Agency, designing, HD streaming, online gaming, etc. you need at least 25 Mbps.
 
It is advised that you use your internet judiciously and don’t waste precious data. All internet service providers have a Fair Usage Policy or FUP. This sets a limit on the data usage for your particular plan. To save on data:
  • Do your research, review, etc. and switch off the internet or turn off Wi-Fi on your laptop.
  • Don’t waste time and data browsing videos, online shopping, etc.
  • Download only what’s required

 

b. Telecommuting Gadgets

 
Telecommuting and staying in touch with your workplace is a key aspect of successful WFH set-ups. For this you require some basic tools/ gadgets like:
 

Web Camera

Most laptops are equipped with a web camera. However, some desktop models and laptops don’t have this advantage. In such cases, get an external camera
 
There are good quality, affordable ones available —order it online if you don’t want to venture out.
 
Many offices encourage video-calling so that you connect with your colleagues and e-live the coffee breaks or water cooler talks!
 

Headset

With schools shut, restrictions on movement, etc. almost everyone is home. And all that noise can be distracting! A headset can help you stay focused on the task at hand.
 
It’s also a good way to block external noises during calls or conferences. Look for a quality headset that fits comfortably on the ears. When not on a  call, switch on your favourite music and wear a headset to reduce external noises and minimize distractions.
 
Changing & upcoming work from home trends
 


c. Software & Apps

Your home PC software should be in sync with the version you were using at your regular workplace.
 
Some other options include:
 
  • The latest version of Microsoft Windows
  • Good antivirus software like Norton (very, very important) 
  • Acrobat/ Adobe Reader
  • Processing software like Google Docs
  • Grammarly (for writers)
  • Any other software that your workplace suggests
 
You also need apps/tools for remote conferencing services. They enable you to have group calls, video calls, share screens, etc. These give the feel of being in a virtual conference room. Here are some of them:
 
Zoom: Zoom Video Communications offers remote conferencing services that combine video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.
 
As per the free plan, you can host up to 100 participants, have unlimited 1-1 meetings and enjoy 40 mins limit on group meetings.
 
SkypeOne of the older and still popular used telecommuting tools,Skype is free!
 
You can have audio and video calls for free but for conference calls with team members you need to sign-up for their premium membership plans. It works on iOS, Android, Macintosh OS X and Windows.
 
ZohoZoho enables you to work from home with features like Zoho Assist andZoho Remotely (completely free).
 
It provides a complete suite of web and mobile apps to assist communication, collaboration, and efficient production. Zoho has a series of added features that let IT support access software. 
 
TeamViewerThis flagship product is an all-in-one solution for remote support.
 
The TeamViewer also gives you remote and online meetings access to help colleagues and customers remotely. It is suitable to check if on tasks assigned to juniors.
 
AnyDeskAnyDesk is a remote desktop software through which a user can connect to a computer remotely from anywhere in the world.
 
It is suggested for project managers, group leaders, IT professionals, etc. It makes the process of explaining tasks to your employees much easier.
 
 

2. Integrating Work-life Balance

 
Top reasons to work from home
                                            

Top Benefits of Working from Home


When done right, work from home is mutually beneficial for the employee and the employer. It helps establish a friendly and healthy rapport with your boss. Some other benefits include:

Flexible schedule: Apart from Flexitime, when you should be available for group meetings, you can choose your working hours. Some prefer working late in the night, others early in the morning.

Work from anywhere: You miss fewer working days. For example, if you have to take care of a sick parent or family member, simply take your PC to their house. 

More time with family: Working from home means added family time. You save more time when commuting, the breaks you take in between, etc. This extra play-time to be around kids or pets is a stress-buster too, which means a happier you.

Working from home can be a blessing because you save on commuting time, get to be with your family, etc. But it also means that your professional and personal life overlap.
To ensure optimal productivity and maintain a work-life balance, you must set yourself some ground rules:
 

a. Set up a Separate Workspace

Distinguish/segregate your workspace from the rest of the house. No, you don’t really need a dedicated office with glass doors! A corner niche, space under the staircase, etc. work equally well.

If you have a spare room, then set up a desk and comfortable chair in it. Avoid relaxing areas like the sofa or busy zones like the dining table. Chances of distraction are high here!
 

b. Establish a Routine

Getting up at 8.59 AM and logging in for work at 9:AM should not be your mantra. Grab some extra snooze since you are not commuting, but try and stick to a schedule — like you did when working from an office space!
 
You have to draw the line between your working and non-working hours. It’s very easy to let your home and work life get entangled, which will just MESS-UP things!
 
Exertion can be counter-productive! Set up working hours that suit your company and your health needs.

You could be working overtime on some days or have the chance to lot out earlier on others. But on the whole, maintain a time decorum.

Also, keep a few hours for Flexitime. Basically this is a set period of about 3-4 hours when you should be available to your employer.

During this period group meetings h conference/ video calls, discussions, etc. take place. It's especially important when people work in different time zones. 
Try and eat on time, avoiding munching on the desk, get up for a coffee break or short walk! These little breaks will perk up energy levels and improve work efficacy. 
 
As part of your routine, do stay connected with colleagues — some chit-chat and gossip is always a stress buster!
 
Make sure your family members, including your kids, know that during working hours, you are off-limits (except emergencies).
 
Remote work statistics of 2019
 
 

c. Do Dress Up

Tempting as it is, avoid pajamas and sweatpants on working days! You don’t have to dress-up as formally — instead think semi-formal Friday’s! Relaxed pants, jeans, and a semi-formal shirt or blouse can do the trick.
 
Lounge clothing has an almost lethargic effect on most people — makes you feel kind of lazy doesn’t it? A Digital Marketing Agency/ advertising agency executive in lounge pants is no an attractive sight!

Opt for presentable clothing so if you have a sudden video call you don’t have to rush to change!
 
Making the switch from an office workspace to remote working can take some time. However, with clearly established routines and delegation of dedicate space & time, it can help boost productivity.