Transitioning between in-office, blended and remote work can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’ve decided to work at home, in an office or a mix of both, you can stay engaged and productive by making plans and preparations before the transition. To help you out, here are some tips and tricks for a successful transition.
What are the differences between in-office, blended and remote work?
In-office work, as the name implies, means working in an office building. Employees may be hired on a permanent full-time or part-time basis, or temporary basis. Some offices have walls, cubicles and desks, allowing for privacy, while others have an open-plan design. Open-plan offices not only lower overhead costs, they also increase collaboration, innovation, productivity, and engagement. However, the open office can sometimes be loud, distracting, and void of privacy.
A blended work environment combines permanent full-time and part-time staff, temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers. Some employees may have the option to choose flexible work arrangements, for example work in the office from Monday to Thursday, and then work at home on Fridays. This type of environment encourages diversity and flexibility in the workplace.
Remote work is about working outside of the office, whether it’s at home or in a café. People who undertake this style of work are typically thought to be contractors or freelancers, but it’s become an ever more common feature for workplaces to allow permanent employees the option to work from home. Under the right circumstances, working at home can be more productive. It can also increase creativity in people with creative positions like graphic designers. In a job that requires a lot of travel and external meetings, a person will work more efficiently and cost-effectively in a home office in their assigned location.
Changing from in-office to blended or remote working
1. Sharpen the skills you need
If you choose to work at home on Fridays or on a full-time basis, you need certain soft skills that’ll help you stay productive and get your work done. This includes self-motivation, discipline, organisational skills, communication skills, and tech skills. If you already feel like an expert at self management, you can qualify yourself through credentials before the transition to help establish these skill sets both in and out of the office.
2. Have the right tools ready
You’ll need tools that can help you do your job properly, as well as communicate and collaborate effectively with others before making the switch to blended/remote work. For example:
- Home office tools – Laptop or desktop computer, ergonomic chair, table, desk lamp, stationery, printer/scanner/fax machine, folders, filing cabinet, Internet connection
- Communication tools – You can use tools such as Skype,Slack,Flock, or HipChat to make video and voice calls, send real-time messages, and organise conversations with your team by topic, project, or channel.
- Project management tools –Trello andBasecamp allows you to access files and information in the cloud, organise projects between different departments, and set deadline reminders.Asana, ProofHub, andMonday can help you manage projects on one platform. Google Drive, DropBox, and Box are good for sharing and managing documents and files.
- Productivity tools – You can use Timesheets, Tick, andToggl for monitoring projects you’re working on and assessing how long tasks take to complete.
- Security tools – LastPass lets you create secure passwords. A secure cloud storage platform such as Box allows you to store sensitive information. And a virtual private network (VPN) such as VyprVPN ensures your online activities are both private and secure when connecting to a public network.
3. Clearly communicate your work schedule
While the typical workplace may have a set 9 am to 5 pm working day, often remote workers are able to set a more flexible timetable for their work. However, this just reinforces the importance of making sure that your team understands when you are open to be contacted or work collaboratively with your team members. Setting a schedule will not only allow you to remain productive and finish your work for the day, it’ll also ensure that you’re available when your team needs you the most. What’s more, your team will know that they can rely on you just as much as any other employee.
4. Maintain contact with others
When you move out of a bustling office and into a home office where you’re the only person in the room, you may feel disconnected or a little lonely. The solution is tomaintain contact with other people, which includes your team members and your local community. Have a group chat with your team during breaktime on a platform like Chanty or do your work in your local café. You could also consider joining a work and travel program, or a local networking group.
Changing from remote to blended or in-office working
1. Ease your way in
If you’ve been working remotely for a long time, you could gradually transition into office life by working only three or four days in the office and one or two days at home. This can help you stay productive and not walk into Friday completely burned out. Suddenly adjusting your work routine can also be difficult, so stick to your usual routine in the beginning to keep yourself productive. For example, if you tackle small tasks in the morning and big tasks in the afternoon, stick with that. But make sure to tell your colleagues of your work preferences.
2. Make yourself at home
Whether you choose to become a part-time or full-time office worker, you can make yourself at home by bringing in a small plant, drinking your favourite tea, or using an ergonomic chair. You can also stock your desk with the things you need to do your best work, such as snacks, medication, water bottle, and earphones for listening to music. If you have one handy, some professionals like to prop up a photo of their work team, such as at an outing or event (like an awards show) to help feel in the loop with their co-workers.
3. Maintain detailed communication
Working remotely requires detailed communication with your team members to ensure everyone’s on the same page. This can include letting others know of your schedule and what you are working on. When you’re working in the office, however, it’s easy to assume that everyone’s on the same page or that someone will pop in if they need anything. Maintaining detailed communication prevents misunderstandings, builds trust among your team, and ensures that everyone remains productive.
4. Work hard, play hard
Unlike working at home where it’s mostly quiet, it can be hard to stay focused and productive in an office filled with activity and chatter. A colleague might even start a conversation with you while you’re busy. The best way to deal with this is to balance work and play. For example, if a colleague often talks about their weekend on Monday morning but you have a report to submit at 10 am, send them an email when you arrive to work asking if you can come by their office at 11 am with some coffee and catch up on their weekend. This’ll allow you to both focus on work and develop meaningful, light-hearted relationships with colleagues.
Boost your workplace skills with Deakin’s micro-credentials
Whether you’re thinking about working at home or moving back into the office, the right planning and preparation can make the transition as easy, quick, and seamless as possible. So be sure to keep these tips in mind when transitioning between different workplace modes.
If you’re a business manager, providing your employees with the right skills to work in either an office, blended or remote is key for the success of your business. Deakin offers a range of workplace transformation solutions that can help employees gain the necessary skills to work in any environment. Find out more by contacting us today.