Why your direct mail prospects deserve a better offer Mike Gunderson (Gunderson Direct CEO) and…
Navigating the Brave New World of Remote Working
Due to the pandemic, remote working has become increasingly common and desirable for many employees. When I joined Gunderson Direct nearly three years ago, I was the team’s first official fully remote employee. I knew from the beginning that there would be challenges, including how to connect and develop that team component with a very tight group of people.
Over the years, I have discovered a few techniques, tips, and tricks that have helped me be successful:
- Designate a dedicated workspace; this is important. Establishing a workspace is vital for a productive remote work environment. This area should be set up somewhere accessible and free from distractions and interruptions. Having a dedicated space allowed me to transition into work mode mentally and helped me maintain a clear boundary between work and my personal life. At the end of every week, I tidy up my workspace and outline my tasks for Monday morning, so I can start work immediately and hit the ground running.
- Minimize distractions: Remote working environments can often be prone to distractions. To maintain focus, minimize distractions as much as possible. Turn off notifications on your phone. Dedicate blocks of or incorporate time blocks for specific tasks, particularly those you might not enjoy the most. When I really must concentrate and need to focus, I leave my phone in another room, so I have to get up to retrieve it physically.
- Establish a routine: Maintaining a consistent routine is crucial when working remotely. Set your specific working hours and stick to them as closely as possible. I start every day by making my bed, washing my face, getting dressed (even if it is athletic wear), and preparing for work, just as I did when I had an office job. This helps trigger my brain that it’s time to focus, go to work, and be productive.
- Set expectations: When working remotely, setting clear goals and deadlines for your work is essential. My manager always reminds me to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I prefer to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and establish deadlines for each. Set clear expectations for deliverables and communicate. If you will not be able to meet a deadline, say so. If you set clear expectations for yourself, you’ll stay motivated and maintain a sense of accomplishment as you complete each milestone and cross it off an item on that “to-do” list!
- Establish effective communication channels: Good communication is crucial when working in a remote work setup. Utilizing tools such as Slack, Zoom, and e-mail to stay connected and up to date on projects ensures everyone is on the same page and helps to address problems, any challenges, or concerns as they arise.
- Prioritize self-care: Working remotely can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, making it essential to prioritize self-care. I always incorporate an official break in my day, such as taking a walk or stepping away from my desk for lunch. These steps help me refocus and regroup on my priorities for the day.
- Seek social interaction: Remote working can sometimes feel isolating, so seeking social interaction is essential. Our agency has a daily check-in. This meeting is optional and not work related, we like to think of it as coffee or water cooler chat. It helps our team engage and have informal conversations about our lives outside of work. We also have several Slack channels, again unrelated to work, where we can exchange our favorite recipes, recommend a new TV show, or share pictures of the team’s cute kids and pets!
- Maintain a work–life balance: One of the most significant benefits of remote working is the flexibility it offers, like being able to throw on a load of laundry or prepare dinner throughout the day. However, it’s crucial to establish a healthy work–life balance to avoid overworking yourself and set boundaries. For example, if you need to work past your usual finishing time, take a break, switch to handle personal matters, and then return to work. Taking these steps alleviates the pressure we have in our personal lives and makes space to refocus on work.
- Continuously adapt and learn: Remotely work is entering a dynamic environment that requires adaptability. Constantly seek feedback, ask questions, learn from your experiences, and adjust your approach.
Remote working has undeniably changed the way we work. Remote working has brought numerous benefits thanks to technological advancements, shifting attitudes toward work–life balance, and the effects of global events like the COVID-19 pandemic. It has enabled organizations to hire employees based on skills and experience versus location, brought greater flexibility, and eliminated the need for long commutes. This newfound flexibility has also enhanced employee satisfaction, increasing productivity and reducing burnout.
Gunderson Direct has long-lasting relationships with some of the country’s largest corporations, helping them to lower their customer acquisition costs and increase profits using address-based integrated direct marketing programs.
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