If you’re new to remote work, you can give yourself an important advantage by zeroing in on the right mindset and skills. Remote work is now more popular than ever, but many people find out very quickly that working from home is not necessarily easy.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) and work-from-home (WFH) agents need the right approach to their jobs to be successful and stay productive. You can thoughtfully plan your remote work strategy around your own experiences, needs and personality.
Preparing for Remote Work
Since working remotely can be very different from other types of careers, not everyone finds fulfillment and satisfaction from online jobs. If remote work is right for you, it can lead to an enjoyable career with new opportunities, challenges and flexibility. A self-quiz like this one can help you decide if you’re ready:
- Workspace: Do I have a good home office, workspace or coworking space?
- Technology: Am I comfortable with the technology expectations of the job? How do I feel about working my entire day on the computer, with software or while using a softphone?
- Support: What support does my employer offer? How will I learn about my new role?
- Distractions: During my work hours, will I have other distractions competing for my attention?
- Productivity: Do I feel productive working from home?
How to Work Online More Effectively
Although remote work isn’t for everyone, many people can make their jobs easier with the right mindset and approach.
1. Embrace Technology
There are a variety of ways you can integrate technology into your workflows. For instance, you can use tech that’s designed to help you focus, collaborate, plan, complete your projects and stay organized.
As you start your new remote position, you should ask your employer what technologies are particularly valuable for your role. Find out how your coworkers are leveraging technology and make a plan for how you’ll onboard with these new platforms and tools for remote work.
Here are a few ways you can embrace technology:
- Find the Right Remote Work Technology: Remote collaboration tools and other remote work software can make your job easier and give you new ways to get your work done. You can also automate routine tasks to help you save more time in your workday.
- Learn New Skills: Your job may give you a chance to learn something new as a WFH agent. This can be a valuable opportunity to add to your resume.
- Use Productivity Tools: Software designed to help you stay productive can be a great way to improve your focus and streamline your workload. There are apps for time tracking, task planning, to-do lists, creating a focus playlist and more.
2. Find Your Routine
An effective schedule not only keeps you on task, but it can also help you stay productive and focused. You can build your daily schedule alongside your team’s needs for your role and add in your personal responsibilities, downtime and other plans. With your routine already planned, you can prevent yourself from feeling lost or forgetting tasks on your list.
Try your new routine for a week or two. If it’s not working, take a closer look at how you can modify your schedule. Consider these hints for how to create a routine:
- Talk with Your Employer: Find out what your employer’s expectations are. Is there a set schedule? Or is there some flexibility?
- Start and Finish with Routines: You can choose activities to help you start the day and end your workday. For instance, reading before work is a popular way to motivate your brain and begin work with the right mindset.
- Use Time Blocking: Instead of scheduling every hour of your day, consider breaking up your time into blocks with a to-do list or goals. These time blocks are flexible. So if your meeting at 10 a.m. goes 20 minutes over, you’re still generally on track since your blocks are approximate.
3. Build Strong Habits
The right habits help you prevent overwhelm and burnout while also meeting the demands of your job. Your habit-building should focus on health, productivity, achieving your personal goals and promoting your own wellbeing. Here are a few ideas:
- Improving Your Sleep: Avoid short-changing your sleep, even if you’re trying to fit in more hours or tackle a challenging project. High-quality sleep is a basic component of improving your productivity.
- Staying Healthy: Since your health impacts how you perform at work, remote workers should do what is within their power to stay healthy.
- Balance Work and Downtime: Taking breaks during the day and leaving time for personal interests help you give your best at work, even if you work online.
Once you start building these positive habits, they’ll become easier to maintain over time. You’ll see a difference in your productivity if you build consistency and positivity into your remote work.
4. Connect with Others
Remote workers can feel particularly isolated, so taking the time to connect with other people as much as possible will help you avoid loneliness and feel better about your remote work experiences. Connecting is also a great way to build your network, learn new skills, mentor others, benefit from shared knowledge and expand your horizons. You can stay connected in person within your local community, connect online with others through online activities or connect with your coworkers.
Not all of your activities have to be work-related, either. Signing up for a cooking class or trying a new book club can also help you stay motivated and have opportunities to build relationships.
5. Watch for Burnout
Agent quality issues usually happen when you aren’t feeling well. If you notice these signs of burnout, you may want to introduce more self-care into your routines. These could also be signs that you’d prefer to work in a traditional setting:
- Resentment Towards Your Job: No longer looking forward to work? This could be a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.
- Feeling Unmotivated: When you are losing motivation, you need to look for ways to make your job rewarding again.
- Diminished Job Performance: If you notice that you’re not doing as well at your job as you were before, that doesn’t mean you aren’t competent. You may not like the remote work format or may need to adjust your schedule.
Work Productively from Home
Remote work, if it’s right for you, can provide the best of both worlds personally and professionally. What you need to work remotely depends on your role, employer and background. But bringing the right mindset to your job sets you apart and helps you get noticed by the people around you.
Uniphore is looking to fill several remote positions. Find out more here.