Work From Anywhere: What You Need to Be Successful
September 20, 2021
In recent years, many companies and employees have shifted their views on what constitutes a productive workspace. And in some cases, remote and hybrid work arrangements have become more acceptable and even preferred to working in an office full time.
Many employees have adopted a schedule where they can spend part of their workweek in the office and some of their time working remotely. This allows them to enjoy the flexibility of working remotely while still being a part of the office community.
Staying productive outside of the office presents its own challenges. You need to be prepared to complete tasks anywhere. In this article, we’ll explore a few ways you can maximize your productivity wherever you happen to be working.
The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace
Advancements in things like telecommunications technology and cloud-based software have made being in the same place as your co-workers less necessary. A hybrid workplace is a company that supports a distributed workforce, meaning some employees work in the office while others work remotely.
As businesses experiment with hybrid office arrangements, they’ve discovered that most workers can get just as much done from home as they can in the office. They’ve also found that offering remote work options gives them access to a larger talent pool of workers. Employees also enjoy having the freedom to choose where they work. Now, a large number of companies allow workers to switch between working remotely and in person at their own convenience. But a hybrid office model can have disadvantages, as well.
When employees don’t work in the same space, it can be more difficult for them to communicate and collaborate with each other. This makes it harder for management to promote a positive company culture and an inclusive office community.
Tips for Success In and Out of the Office
While choosing your work experience can be liberating, it can be easy to let your performance slide when you don’t have the structure of a strict schedule. Working on your own terms also means maintaining communication with your co-workers, which can take effort.
Following a hybrid schedule effectively takes planning. In the next few sections, we’ll provide some strategies for maintaining your own hybrid work arrangements without sacrificing relationships with your colleagues or productivity.
Schedule With Reminders
For employers, one of the biggest benefits of offering remote work possibilities is the ability to hire talent from anywhere in the world. Your hybrid team might have members in other cities, states, or even countries. But team members can live in different time zones, which means they might work at different times of the day.
In a hybrid work environment, your co-workers may not be available when you are. You also won’t have anyone to drop by your office and remind you of things like project deadlines. That’s why it’s helpful to schedule meetings, important goals, and everything else online.
Set up an Outlook Calendar or a Google Calendar with all of your important work dates and meetings. Try to schedule things well in advance so your co-workers can adjust their schedules and have them commit to events electronically. Most virtual calendars will also let you set up reminders when an appointment is coming up.
Duplicate Your Office Space
Try to make your at-home environment as similar as possible to your office environment. Being comfortable in your workspace can help you get into a rhythm, while having things out of place can interrupt your workflow and possibly hinder your productivity.
Let’s say you’re an administrative assistant. At work, you use a wireless mouse to navigate spreadsheets. However, at home, you decide to use the trackpad on your laptop even though you’re not used to it. You won’t be able to move your cursor nearly as fast and your work speed might suffer.
Try to put your home work supplies, like staplers, external hard drives, and printers, in the same place as they are in your office. If your pens are located in the front drawer of your office desk, put them in the same drawer of your home desk so you don’t have to waste time searching when you need them.
As a remote worker, you also want to be physically comfortable. Use an ergonomic office chair at home to support your back. You can also get a special desk for standing so you can rise periodically while you’re working to help improve circulation.
If you plan on working in another location, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or library, keep a bag packed with all the supplies you need for work. Having a pre-packed bag will help save you time and decrease the chances that you’ll leave something behind when you leave the house.
Make Communication With Your Team Easy
For remote workers in hybrid teams, maintaining quality communication with co-workers can be a challenge. You don’t see everyone in the office every day so you have to rely on other means of communication, like Microsoft Teams.
Schedule recurring virtual meetings or phone calls with any team members you collaborate with regularly. Try to get together at the same time every week or month. If you form a routine with your teammates, you won’t have to worry about finding time in your schedule to meet with them every week.
When you have hybrid staff meetings, try to make everyone feel included. It can be hard for virtual attendees to jump into a conversation with employees who are physically present. Teleconferencing tools like the Lenovo Series One Video Conference Equipment can help remote workers feel like they’re part of the meeting. The system has beautiful 4K video, crystal-clear audio, and an AI system that zooms in on in-person meeting attendees.
Depending on the type of work your business does, you may also be able to use cloud-based collaboration software to share information. For example, multiple team members can edit and write comments on a Google Doc without having to coordinate their schedules.
Set Clear Expectations and Tasks With Co-Workers
To communicate efficiently in a hybrid work environment, it’s a good idea to limit the time you spend going back and forth about small project details. Explain exactly what you need from other team members as clearly as possible.
Whenever you collaborate on a project, create a technical document with each participant’s responsibilities and set up a meeting to make sure everyone knows precisely what’s expected of them.
Project management tools like Trello can help your team organize its workflow over the cloud. It shows the whole team exactly where projects are in development, what still needs to be done, and who needs to take action.
Make Time for Relationships and Fun With Your Team
Working remotely can be relaxing and fun, but it can also be lonely. When you don’t see your teammates on a daily basis, it can be easy to feel disconnected from them. Put in the effort and time to strengthen your relationships with your co-workers.
Attend things like team-building events, company dinners, and business conferences whenever you can. If that’s not possible, you can always enjoy virtual events with your team. Some companies schedule virtual happy hours so employees can catch up with each other and connect about things other than work.
Key Items for Your Hybrid Workplace
The first step in setting up your home workspace is acquiring all the hybrid office essentials you’ll need. The right equipment can help you transition from working in the office to working at home. This can include:
As companies continue to see the benefits of alternative work environments, they’re offering employees greater levels of independence. Many workers can now do their jobs in homes, coffee shops, or a vacation rental.
But you have to be your own manager. If you keep track of your schedule, create a positive workspace, and focus on communication, you’ll have a great shot at being productive no matter where you choose to work.
About the Author
Paul Montoya has several years of remote work experience as a technical writer and administrative associate. Over time, he’s learned several strategies for staying engaged in hybrid work arrangements.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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