Insights

The WFH expert: 5 tips from a seasoned remote employee

Posted by
Brooklyn Lutz
Insights

The WFH expert: 5 tips from a seasoned remote employee

Écrit par
Brooklyn Lutz

Ask me two years ago if I’d enjoy permanently working from home and the answer would be simple.

No.

However, things change. At least they did for me. I joined FHR as the company’s first remote employee, working from my home office in Calgary with a team of colleagues across Canada. It was something to get used to, but I managed to make it work and thrive in my new professional setting.

Fast forward a year and a half. Now all of my colleagues and a large percentage of the Canadian workforce are working from home. I’m glad I had a head start to figure things out.

As one of the employees that were hired at FHR for our specialized experience in agriculture marketing, the workforce had already moved towards a trend of hiring for specific skillsets, regardless of location. While we continue to navigate the waters of COVID-19, I don’t anticipate that changing.

As companies continue considering remote hires and employees continue replacing face-to-face conversations with video chats and instant messages, it’s important that we realize the true reality of working from home and take the necessary steps to ensure there is a balance between productivity and flexibility.

Working remotely isn’t easy and it’s not a cookie cutter situation either. Sure, I did a lot of research when I first started, but I figured out what worked best for me, and so should you. If you're still struggling with making the adjustment to working from home, here are my top five tips to get the most out of your desk in the den and produce quality work:

Create a dedicated workspace

Because of our current situation, you may not have the luxury of setting up a home office like I did. However, keeping your working and living spaces separate is important. Pick a spot in the house to work from (i.e. basement, spare bedroom) and “leave” that area when your workday is complete. This will help turn off your professional brain and allow you to focus on friends and family.  

Determine your schedule and stick to it

It’s easy to blur the lines between professional and personal when working from home, especially since your laptop is always within reach. Choose, communicate and hold yourself accountable to those hours.

Block focus time

Like most people, I’m in meetings for a solid chunk of each week – easily about 20 hours. Setting aside “working sessions” in my calendar helps me save time in my day to accomplish what I need to, without working outside regular business hours.

Limit your notifications

Don’t be afraid to modify the settings on your apps to suit your working style. If you’re easily distracted by pop-ups, consider shutting them off or placing yourself in “do not disturb” mode for a few hours each day to help with productivity and concentration.

Continue communicating

Working remotely doesn’t mean you’re working alone. Connect with your teammates at the start of a project and determine the method and cadence of communication needed. That way everyone is on the same page at the start. Don’t be afraid to send quick reminders or check-in messages periodically – your colleagues will appreciate you for them.

While working remotely may not be everyone’s dream, right now, it’s a reality for most. Keeping an open mind and figuring out what’s right for you will help in the short term and prepare you for a potentially long term shift to remote work.

Ask me two years ago if I’d enjoy permanently working from home and the answer would be simple.

No.

However, things change. At least they did for me. I joined FHR as the company’s first remote employee, working from my home office in Calgary with a team of colleagues across Canada. It was something to get used to, but I managed to make it work and thrive in my new professional setting.

Fast forward a year and a half. Now all of my colleagues and a large percentage of the Canadian workforce are working from home. I’m glad I had a head start to figure things out.

As one of the employees that were hired at FHR for our specialized experience in agriculture marketing, the workforce had already moved towards a trend of hiring for specific skillsets, regardless of location. While we continue to navigate the waters of COVID-19, I don’t anticipate that changing.

As companies continue considering remote hires and employees continue replacing face-to-face conversations with video chats and instant messages, it’s important that we realize the true reality of working from home and take the necessary steps to ensure there is a balance between productivity and flexibility.

Working remotely isn’t easy and it’s not a cookie cutter situation either. Sure, I did a lot of research when I first started, but I figured out what worked best for me, and so should you. If you're still struggling with making the adjustment to working from home, here are my top five tips to get the most out of your desk in the den and produce quality work:

Create a dedicated workspace

Because of our current situation, you may not have the luxury of setting up a home office like I did. However, keeping your working and living spaces separate is important. Pick a spot in the house to work from (i.e. basement, spare bedroom) and “leave” that area when your workday is complete. This will help turn off your professional brain and allow you to focus on friends and family.  

Determine your schedule and stick to it

It’s easy to blur the lines between professional and personal when working from home, especially since your laptop is always within reach. Choose, communicate and hold yourself accountable to those hours.

Block focus time

Like most people, I’m in meetings for a solid chunk of each week – easily about 20 hours. Setting aside “working sessions” in my calendar helps me save time in my day to accomplish what I need to, without working outside regular business hours.

Limit your notifications

Don’t be afraid to modify the settings on your apps to suit your working style. If you’re easily distracted by pop-ups, consider shutting them off or placing yourself in “do not disturb” mode for a few hours each day to help with productivity and concentration.

Continue communicating

Working remotely doesn’t mean you’re working alone. Connect with your teammates at the start of a project and determine the method and cadence of communication needed. That way everyone is on the same page at the start. Don’t be afraid to send quick reminders or check-in messages periodically – your colleagues will appreciate you for them.

While working remotely may not be everyone’s dream, right now, it’s a reality for most. Keeping an open mind and figuring out what’s right for you will help in the short term and prepare you for a potentially long term shift to remote work.

Brooklyn Lutz
Account Manager
With deep roots in farming and a diverse background in communications marketing, client relations, and strategic planning, Brooklyn is a key member of the agriculture marketing team at FHR. Based remotely in Calgary and known for her strategic counsel, Brooklyn creates and executes communications programs that meet the objectives of her clients.