Gone are the days of sitting physically in an office to get tasks done. With a laptop, a notepad, a pen, and a space to think, work can be effectively executed. This is based on my personal experience with remote work.
Up until two months ago, I had never had a role that required remote work. The experience has been eye-opening and very different. How do you successfully execute a PR consultancy role working remotely? This is a question I asked myself two months ago when I started work.
A lot of organizations have taken on the remote work approach since the pandemic, there are a lot of resources available on tips to help on working from home. I read quite a few and they all had some things in common. Planning, communication, and taking notes.
I have taken on the advice from the tips I read onboard and come up with a structure to guide me through the day. As a newly employed PR consultant, my responsibilities change quite often so the structure is agile.
For now, I have a rough skeletal structure I follow and it has been helping me stay organised. I am also grateful for the team lead, she has a great organisation system to monitor the team’s activities which helps a lot with my organisation.
Beyond organisation, work from home is cost-effective. I have saved a lot of money on transportation.
Asides from planning, another tip I learned and try to follow is to time block the entire day. The idea is to set a specific time to achieve a task and try to complete it within the specified period. To be honest, in theory, this makes sense but it does not always work like this. I am still struggling with and trying to figure out a system that works with regard to time blocking. I am gradually progressing with this.
Due to the nature of the role, there are many emails throughout the day. This is the major form of communication. The trick I have learned is to attend as soon as they come in. I find myself forgetting to respond to mail or responding too late because I scheduled them for later times.
The other form of communication is via meetings. We have meetings with clients regularly and working from home has not hindered the free flow of information between clients or work colleagues.
I have a notepad to take note of things, I don’t depend on mental notes. Writing things down helps me remember and achieve my tasks faster.
I like the BHM UK structure, no one is breathing down your neck on how to plan your entire day. The task is passed across and it is your responsibility to come up with the best plan to achieve your goals. This allows me to work flexibly throughout the day and to take ownership of my time.
Some patterns I have noticed with work from home include forgetting to take a break, stalking my work email, skipping lunch. This ties in with the time block I wrote about earlier. Discipline is essential for me with remote work. It is easy for me to abandon tasks for later.
Can you truly claim to work from home without having amusing stories to tell? I don’t think so.
I am now the devoted parcel receiver at home. I am embarrassed by my unnecessary online purchases, forgetting to mute my audio in meetings, becoming best friends with Alexa, forgetting to have lunch, or taking 10 trips to the fridge daily. I would say, as long as you work from home, there will be some sort of distractions but they can be managed.
It is important to try and stay active. In August, I did well with staying active after work but not too well in September. Looking to be more active going forward.
Sometimes it gets lonely working from home. From time to time, I call and message colleagues and friends to check in and seek advice if I am feeling stuck with a task or simply destress.
Personal time must be established. At the close of the day and weekends, I make a conscious effort to do other activities outside PR to maintain a good work-life balance. I have also scheduled some time to help with personal study and growth outside of work.
My immediate short-term goal with regards to work from home involves improving my time blocking, finishing tasks for the day during work hours, and ensuring daily physical activities.
Now that I have experienced the bliss that comes with remote work, I am not sure I want to ever go back to traditional commuting to work life. A great piece of advice I think anyone that works from home can benefit from is to be disciplined and plan ahead. There is a blessing attached to COVID-19, after all, remote work is finally here to stay.