COVID-19…just mentioning it makes some people want to rush to the store to see if they can load up on more toilet paper or ground beef. There is little doubt that it’s changing the world we live in on a permanent basis, especially when it comes to how people work. Some have played around on the fringes of working from home for a decade or longer…and for some it will no longer be optional if you want to remain employed.
As you consider working from home—or just get prepared to do so, whether you like it not!—we have compiled some stats you should know and some tips for making it successful.
Remote Work Stats to Know in 2020
- Roughly 62% of employees between 22 and 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally, (Owl Labs)
- 30% of people report working for a company that's fully remote. (Buffer)
- The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. (GetApp)
- 42% of employees with a remote work option plan to work remotely more often in the next five years. (Owl Labs)
- If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. (Buffer)
- 77% of remote employees say they're more productive when working from home. (CoSo Cloud)
- 23% of remote workers say they work longer hours than they would on-site. (CoSo Cloud)
- More than half of remote employees say they feel disconnected from in-office employees (CoSo Cloud)
- 22% of remote employees report that unplugging after work is their biggest challenge. (Buffer)
- 19% of remote employees report loneliness as their biggest challenge. (Buffer)
Determine if remote work is right for you.
For some people, working remote on a full-time basis feels ideal and most productive. However, some people prefer having meetings in person in the office during the week with only one or two full remote days. And, lastly, others might feel like they get the best work done in an office. Everyone is different, so if you think you'd like to work remotely, or if you are being required to due to our current situation, testing out all three of the work styles noted above can be a helpful way to make a decision about where you'd like your role to be on a daily basis.
Schedule meetings and work hours in chunks.
When you're remote, it's easy to get distracted by family, friends, errands, or other aspects of your day-to-day life. Working in your own house might cause distractions as you think of chores or tasks you need to do related to your home. Meanwhile, prepping for multiple scattered work calls might distract you from completing bigger projects that require heads-down attention. To avoid distractions from life or your other duties, establish a solid schedule when you start your remote position.
Set up a schedule and routine for yourself as quickly as you can. This means setting boundaries for what you do during the day. Setting schedule boundaries can involve designating offline times when you aren't working. Since you might be working during or outside of your office's standard hours, you could also set time blocks for yourself to be online when your team is in office.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting things done during the day, but still feeling like you’ve wasted your time and now need to work later in the evening. Setting boundaries for yourself and having a routine schedule will help avoid those pitfalls.
If your office has a calendar system where any of your colleagues can see your schedule and book time with you, check with your manager to see if it's okay to schedule a block of time that says something like, "Do Not Book," "unavailable for meetings," "Writing time," or "Email me to book meetings during this time." With notes explaining why you’re unavailable for meetings on your calendar, colleagues will be able to see that this time is dedicated to bigger projects and tasks.
Over-communicate with everyone.
When you're remote, your colleagues in another time zone might unknowingly invite you to video calls at a late hour that doesn't work for you. Or, even if you are in the same time zone, you might find that there are consistent miscommunications happening because you sent an email rather than having a face-to-face conversation about what you wanted to achieve from a team project. To avoid confusion points between you and your in-office team, err on the side of over-communicating. Be sure to regularly check in with colleagues on phone calls, during video chats, or through your office's direct messaging system. Since people can’t stop by your desk to clear up misunderstandings, it’s important to explain everything with thorough detail and share more information than you think is necessary.
While you should still be polite and professional, be transparent and firm about your schedule, your current list of tasks, your bandwidth, and your expectations of other team members so that your colleagues and managers know what you're up to and what you need from them.
Make sure you come back for Part 2 in a couple days, we'll have more tips to help working from home succeed for you!