This article was written by Lauren Sovisky on August 5, 2020. The original article may be found here.
Who doesn’t love getting a few extra minutes of shut-eye and the more casual dress code that comes along with working from home? Working remotely can be great – except when your dog decides he needs to go out, again. And has anyone else noticed how your neighbors seem to align their lawn mowing times to your conference call schedule?
Remote work has unique benefits and distractions, too. So how can you make working from home work for you?
We asked a few full-time remote ERIE employees for their top tips for a productive and balanced remote work lifestyle. ERIE family members who are veterans of remote work have a message for the newbies joining their ranks: You’ve got this.
CHOOSING YOUR WORKSPACE:
- Choose a dedicated, private space. Kitchen tables were great for doing homework back in high school, but you might find having a designated space where you can tune out distractions will keep you more productive.
“Definitely have a room where you can close a door or an area sectioned off for privacy. It will really help with minimizing distractions.” – Dustin Eckman, property adjuster, remote for two years
- Let the light in. Natural light has been proven to brighten your mood and increase productivity. So if you’ve always wanted that corner office with the big window, now is your chance to make the office of your dreams a reality.
“Work near a window. I have two that I look out of. I love the outdoors and it helps me to feel better to see outside.” – Kim Lane, senior underwriting support specialist, remote for four years
PREPPING YOUR DAY:
- Develop a morning routine. While you may not need to style your hair or commit to a long commute, waking up a few minutes before you clock in may not lead to the most productive workday.
“I always wake up early enough to get a start in my day. Eating breakfast, catching up on current events, but ultimately waking my mind up so I’m not so drowsy when I begin my work.” – Cherrish Wynder, auto adjuster, remote for two years
- Plan out your tasks and projects. Working from home can bring a lot of distractions, the worst of which is losing motivation to do work. Creating a to-do list of assignments the day before can help make your remote day seem more official and keep you on track with projects.
“Plan your days in advance. It helps when distractions or other tasks arise. I plan so that I know what has to get done that day.” – Matt Ladd, property adjuster, Knoxville Claims Office, remote for four years
- Dress with your day in mind. Another big benefit to working from home is being able to dress outside of the company dress code. No more sweating in a suit jacket on 90 degree days or shivering under the air conditioner vent.
“If you don’t have to meet your customers or have a big meeting, don’t be afraid to spend the day in your comfy clothes. I’m always more productive when I’m comfortable.” – Rebecca Petrie, commercial liability claims specialist, Fort Wayne Claims Office, remote for 12 years
DEVELOPING YOUR #WFH GROOVE:
- Try a snack hack. The refrigerator has never been so close or stocked with all your favorites. (Another bonus? When you work from home, you have a very short list of suspects if someone steals your lunch.) However, it’s important to establish healthy habits when your desk is so close to the family pantry.
“I try not to keep food in my home office because it’s too easy to just turn in my chair and grab it. If I want a snack, I force myself to walk downstairs and get it. Movement … it’s a good thing!” – Jennifer Reed, subrogation supervisor, remote for 17 years
- Connect with your co-workers. While you no longer pass by their cubicles every day, technology has made connecting with co-workers easier.
“Connect with some of your co-workers every day via email, company communications or phone. I always turn my camera on for meetings. I feel more connected when I can see people versus a phone call. However you decide to connect, if you can’t hear someone on a conference call, let them know!” – Kelly Gierczynski, talent management consultant, remote for 18 years
- Take screen breaks. You no longer have in-person meetings or co-workers stealing you away for a coffee. Screens can be harsh on the eyes, causing headaches or strained vision – which can lessen your productivity over time.
“Find ways to step away from your desk. Make time to get up, stretch, do yoga, go for a walk, grab some fresh air or do a quick chore. In the end, it will help you better focus when you begin working again.” – Morgan Kimble, medical claims facilitation supervisor, remote for one year
FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE AT ERIE
Whether you are transitioning to a permanent remote work lifestyle or just a temporary fix… the secret to finding the right balance is finding a company that supports you and your work-life commitments. At ERIE, about 40 percent of our workforce utilizes our flexible work arrangements full-time.