Fairview, TX (July 19, 2022) — When I was in college, I worked a retail job; a job that required me to be physically present with customers and coworkers. That was many years — and a global pandemic — ago. Now, I work with folks across the country from the comfort of my home.
In many ways, virtual work is the new norm. Data scientists at Ladders project that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, with more opportunities becoming virtual in 20231. This new reality comes with pros and cons, many of which I’ve personally experienced as a telework employee. So, here’s what helps me stay focused, motivated, and engaged as a teleworker.
Organized and Motivated
If you’ve met me, then you know I like to be organized. My closet is color-coordinated, my spices are arranged alphabetically, and my email inbox is a work of art. My home office is the same way. Working from home allows me to be in a familiar and organized setting, which allows me to be very productive. But I understand that not everyone is this way.
You have to know your own strengths and weaknesses as an employee to decide if you will thrive as a teleworker. Not everyone can focus in a home office, blocking out the dog or the urge to turn on the television. While I can stay focused on a task for many hours in my home, I recognize that in many ways this is the exception, not the norm.
If you are a teleworker, make sure you find a space in your home that is free from distractions; keep it clean, organized, and dedicated solely to your work. Additionally, let your office space reflect your working style. If you like color and artwork, decorate your office space. If you are a minimalist, then keep the decorations simple to set yourself up for success.
Ever heard the saying, “Don’t bring your work home with you?” Well, it’s a lot harder to exercise that healthy boundary when your home and your workplace are one and the same. I’ll be the first to admit I am a workaholic. It’s easy to work and work and work … when you love what you. It’s also easy to work and work and work … when it’s never out of sight or out of mind.
If you have the ability to move your home office into a specific part of your home, I highly recommend doing it. This small gesture sets a physical boundary between the “office” and the “home.” Don’t get me wrong, you can still expect to receive late night or early morning emails from me, but at least I had to walk a few extra steps to get to my laptop.
While I love my cozy home office, I do miss the camaraderie that can only be found in an office. There’s a certain type of bonding that occurs when you work every single day with the same group of people. I consider my coworkers my friends — my socially distanced friends, since most of them are hundreds of miles away. My daily interactions with coworkers come via videocalls, emails, or texts. Rarely do I get to see a coworker in person.
This physical separation can lead to a feeling of isolation. As such, it’s vitally important to bond with your team and talk about life outside of work. We might not have a watercooler where we can all meet up at and talk about what we did on Sunday night, but we can plan a Zoom meeting and simulate the experience. At Connected Nation, we call these get togethers “Coffee with Coworkers,” and they are good for the soul. If you’d like to connect, grab a cup of coffee and meet me on Zoom!
About the Author: Sierra Sees is a Connected Nation Broadband Solutions Manager. She coordinates and manages the activities of planning teams in support of Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program and the development of community-specific community team creation, data gathering, and technology action planning.
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