10 Tips for shifting to a remote-office setup

Are you ready to make the jump?
by Drei Laurel | Mar 23, 2020
PHOTO: Sharleen Banzon

If there’s anything the last several days have taught us, it’s that remote-office setups aren’t just a fad—theyre here for good.

It isn’t just the threat of a deadly virus that calls for more companies to begin embracing the remote-work culture, either. On a normal day, traffic is horrendous, impacting workforce efficiency, company income and, most importantly, the lives of employees who need to grind through our country’s less-than-stellar transportation on a daily basis.

Toyota began rolling out a remote work setup for its employees in Japan back in 2016, and even the Philippine government has taken notice of the remote setup’s advantages, with lawmakers pushing for a telecommuting bill as early as 2017 to ease traffic.

All that said, it can be pretty intimidating to make the jump—more so if you’re an employee who’s been following a routine to the dot every day for the past several years. So, here are 10 tips to help you get started:

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1) Turn an area into a remote office.

Simple enough, right? It doesn’t need to be a fancy setup, either. No need for thousand-peso speakers, designer furniture, or lighting. Just a simple, clean desk and a comfortable chair to sit on. A laptop stand could help keep your back and neck from acting up as well.

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2) Find an Internet connection that works for you.

We know this is easier said than done. Depending on your area, you could have your work cut out for you finding an ideal Internet provider. Trust us when we say, though, that you’re going to want to do your due diligence on this. There’s nothing more frustrating than a connection conking out in the middle of a conference call, or file uploads taking ten times longer than they have to.

Tip: Ask around the neighborhood. If plenty of locals are experiencing issues with a certain Internet service provider, chances are you will, too.

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3) Invest in reliable tools.

This applies to the employer as much as it does the employee. Remember: your workforce is as efficient as the laptops they take home.

That said, if you’re a freelancer or have the money to spend on improving on what your company lets you bring home, it wouldn’t hurt to spruce things up. Buy yourself a decent mouse and laptop stand, or even go as far as splurging on an office chair, adjustable standing desk, or a more color-accurate monitor (if you work in photography or video). It’s entirely up to you.

4) Start the day as if you’re going out.

It’s tempting to hop out of bed and just jump into things, but trust us when we say that gets old real quick.

Take a shower, eat breakfast, even get dressed for a normal day out. Beginning your day as if you’re actually heading to the office is a good way of keeping some semblance of order in your routine. The best part is you don’t need to rush anything because you’ve already eliminated that hour-and-a-half-long commute to the office.

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5) Maintain a work schedule.

For some, not having to leave the confines of home can present a challenge to keeping a schedule in check. Make it a point to continue listing down tasks and important dates to keep you focused and prevent complacency. Have a calendar pinned on your desktop or, if you’re more old-school, have a physical calendar on display at your remote work station.

6) Keep in touch.

Most remote-work setups will have you either checking in with your team or superior several times throughout the day. Chat windows can easily get cluttered, so it may be wise to move things to a more streamlined platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams if the option is available.

7) Limit distractions.

It can be tempting to Netflix and chill while you go about your day, but a distraction is still a distraction. You’re being paid to work from the convenience of your home, so hopefully you’ll appreciate it and give your tasks your undivided attention. Think of it as if you’re still actually working in an office environment.

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8) Take breaks.

That said, you’re still entitled to breaks throughout the day. Again, eliminating the time wasted from your daily commute gives you a little extra breathing room when it comes to time management, so take advantage of it. Have a relaxing shower, practice some yoga or a light workout, brew a nice cup of coffee—it’s entirely up to you, provided you don’t plan on lazing away on the couch the rest of the day.

9) Don’t overdo it.

Think burnout isn’t a thing anymore now that you’re working remotely? That’s not the case. As much as possible, separate your work life from your home life—and yes, it is kind of tricky considering, well, you’re now working and living in the same place.

It’s easy to get carried away with work when there’s less standing in between you and accomplishing your tasks, but remember to eat your meals on time, socialize with your workmates (even if it’s through a computer screen), and, most importantly, clock out mentally at the end of the day. Set alarms if you have to.

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10) Be productive with your extra free time.

What you do with your newfound time is entirely up to you, but spending it being productive—paying bills, doing laundry, cleaning your house, emptying your inbox—will pay off big once your off days kick in. This way, you’ll have days reserved purely for leisure.

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PHOTO: Sharleen Banzon
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