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Six Proven Strategies: How To Get The Most Out Of Remote Work

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The acceptance of remote working is one of the things we can thank the coronavirus pandemic for. It has narrowed the very essence of work to delivering optimum productivity at work.

In a regular Nigerian office setting, you should be at work from 6am until the moon sets because “you gas show face for oga so him go think say you dey work”.

Besides, there are so many opportunities remote working presents on a global scale.

Remote working, as you will imagine, ought to make you attain a good work-life balance because you buy back time from work commute in achieving the actual work that needs to be done.

I took up a new job in 2020, just after the lockdown restrictions were lifted. And then to my amazement, we were going to be working from home till further notice. Omo mehn! Do you mean I will be lounging and working, wake up at 11am, work for 2 hours and sleep back?

You may quickly think about this when you imagine what the remote working experience is like, but a lot more factors come into play in a work-from-home setting.

We were all forced into accepting the reality of working from home due to the pandemic without preparing to manage some silent but important factors like online communication undertones, the boomerang of participating in endless online meetings, bad internet connection, plus the people in your house constantly bumping into you to ask for something because you are not doing serious work since you are working from home.

I have come to realize that both work styles can be adopted to guarantee better productivity. But in the case where you cannot have the best of both worlds, here are some tips to make the remote working experience a more productive one.

i. Have a worktable: It is not advisable to work from your bed and lean over to work on your laptop, because it can cause very bad backaches, and if you live in a house that has many people, be prepared to be distracted 100 per cent. Have a secluded work-desk space that communicates that you are working and do not wish to be distracted. You can improvise by turning your dining table area to a makeshift workspace if you cannot purchase one.

ii. Have a start and stop time: The temptation in working from home is to get up from bed, face your laptop and sit there all day long without setting a time for work. This is not advisable for your well-being. Indicate your resumption and closing time and set your to-do for each day’s work. It is also good to communicate this to the people you live with as this will make them adjust to your work schedule.

iii. Take breaks: “Work no dey finish, so try to dey relax!” Make time for breaks even if you have pressing deadlines. I know this is easier said than done, but you can infuse your breaks into your to-do rather than have a separate one-hour break time. After you finish each task, take a 10-minute break. This can be taking a walk, going to have a gist with your spouse, or just taking a moment to dance in front of a mirror, after all, you are at home. I deliberately did not mention checking up social media updates because that in itself can be very distracting, but if it makes you relax, then do it, be certain to time yourself though.

iv. Set expectations: Working remotely in a team presents the challenge of not “syncing” properly with your teammates and line manager. This means two people in a team will do the same task often if communication is not properly managed. When you are starting a new week, talk to your manager and teammates to align expectations for work delivery. You can even do this daily because new priorities may spring up, so always check if you are prioritizing the right tasks.

 v. Ask questions: If you are working as a new person remotely, then you will need A LOT of information, both formal and informal. Honestly, this is easier done if you are working in a physical office, but you will need to speak constantly with your direct reporting lines to provide documents that can be read and informalities about the company that is not on the company’s website. Be prepared to struggle with this for a while, but asking the right questions and reading the right materials will put you up to speed in no time.

vi. Create team bonding opportunities: I must admit that this is very difficult to achieve remotely but eventually, we are social beings. Connecting with people is in our very essence of living and delivering on effective work. Teamwork is all about strong personal relationships, the more people know each other, the better they can collaborate. You can suggest your line manager have video catch-up calls with the team where everyone talks about what they are up to outside work.

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Rachel Ogunlana
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