Tips for Remote Workers

As our community looks to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many office-based workers in Marin County are now working remotely whenever possible. Working remotely not only reduces the time you spend commuting, it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion in our community.

Research shows that people enjoy many added benefits of working remotely, such as increased flexibility and time gained from no longer commuting, to reduced travel costs and access to more job opportunities. But working remotely can also present some new challenges, whether you work from home full-time or just a few days per week.

Below are some tips and resources to boost your productivity, connect virtually, stay healthy, and find a work-life balance that works for you.

  • Prepare for your work day by reviewing your calendar and to-do list before jumping in.
  • Create a transition to work mode with a routine or ritual that works for you, like making a cup of coffee at the start of the day, meditating, or putting on work clothes.
  • Be clear about your working hours by noting it on your calendar or including it in your email signature.
  • Create a designated workspace to limit distractions, if possible.
  • If you are distracted by noise, try noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds.
  • Learn about tech tools that can help you track, prioritize, and collaborate.
  • Talk to your employer about what technology is available to use.
  • Determine the right type of technology for each meeting.
    • When teleworking, you’ll likely use video communications more than you normally would, and seeing people can help you feel more connected. Video conferencing is a great tool, but can feel more taxing than in-person or phone communication. Determining which type of meetings are better suited for video conferencing and which can be done effectively by conference call can help to balance these demands and minimize fatigue.
    • Technology glitches and other aspects of teleworking can test your patience, so be proactive about getting the help and support you need if issues come up.
  • Be intentional about connecting with colleagues and team members. It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home, so you may consider taking time to check-in with your colleagues about how they are doing at the start of a meeting or outside of working hours, as you feel is appropriate.
  • Schedule check-ins with your manager to ask for tips, feedback, and to make sure you’re on the right track.
  • Move around, stretch, or have an impromptu dance party at least once an hour to get some steps and reduce your stress.
  • Build in longer breaks to help increase focus and improve mental outlook. Consider using a break to take a walk in your neighborhood or go on a leisurely bike ride.
  • If you don’t have an office chair and a desk, use a dining table and straight back chair. The couch and other super-soft seating can make you slouch.
  • Adjust your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and chair to be comfortable and help prevent strains and pains.
  • See Marin County Health & Human Services for more Information on COVID-19
  • Telework can lead to working longer hours sitting in one place and make it difficult to switch off your work for the evening. To help the transition, keep your workspace at arm’s length after hours and consider planning regular evening activities and require “hard” stop times for work (e.g., movie night, game night, an evening walk, or scheduled calls with friends and family)
  • Establish household rules on interruptions while working. Family and housemates are more likely to limit interruptions when a system is in place
  • Don’t forget to take lunch away from your workspace. Consider marking it on your calendar, so colleagues are aware that you are away from your desk.

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