Adapting to Distance Work

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    Dec 10, 2020, 9:50 am714 pts

    While distance work has become an increasingly necessary and important part of our lives, it's not without its mystery. As non-traditional as it is often considered to be, many of us overlooked its usefulness, and have found ourselves a little behind on its particular points. With that in mind, we wanted to write this guide to help our readers get started in this world, to understand the key factors, and aid them in getting ahead.

    Creating an Environment

    As much as we can curse the layout and sterility of work environments, they're often crafted this way for a reason. Distractions at home are the killer of productivity, and if we underestimate this, simple jobs can end up taking twice the time they usually would.

    Addressing this issue can be quite simple, however, in that it requires little more than crafting a small, dedicated work area. In this area, you don't want to completely forgo elements like family photos to keep you in a good mood, but you do want to cut down on non-essentials. Exactly where you draw this line is a personal balancing act, so it can require some experimentation.

    main home workstation setup by blakespot, on Flickr
    "main home workstation setup" (CC BY 2.0) by blakespot

    The other side of this coin is the influence which the other people in your home can have. Whether family or roommates, everybody around you needs to be informed that work time is still work time, and that interruptions, unless absolutely necessary, are not acceptable. In terms of the noise element, a good cover can be noise-cancelling headphones and online white-noise generators. Combined with a well-lit environment, this should allow you to operate at peak efficiency.

    Using the Right Tools

    Once your environment has been set, it's time to look at your tools. Starting here, the obvious choice is a laptop computer. Going from this point is highly flexible, depending on what your job is and what it necessitates.

    For simple tools like word and database management, Apple users are fortunate that programs like Pages in the iWork suite are now free, meaning you won't have to go out and buy anything to get started. These programs even interface well with Microsoft's Office software, so you don't have to worry about basic incompatibility.

     by bizmac, on Flickr
    (CC BY 2.0) by bizmac

    What could be more problematic are occasions where users need access to software only available at work. This can also be solved, however, through the use of remote access software. Anydesk is a popular example here, though Anydesk alternative programs like SolarWinds Dameware Remote Everywhere can be more effective for modern users. These essentially let users mirror their work computers at home, also integrating tools like voice calls and session logs to track progress.

    Getting Accustomed

    Any sort of major change like moving to distance work will come with a teething period, and it's only natural that this period will be less efficient. Give it a couple of weeks, as many workers have reported, and productivity often changes in the opposite direction.

    Not having to commute, buy food at work, or manage with constant interruption by certain workmates; all these issues and more can be solved by at-home distance work. It might have taken modern businesses some time to adjust to this new model, but make no mistake, the advantages here are undeniable. Keep the ideas of this article in mind, give yourself time to adapt, and you could be surprised at what your new form of work could bring.


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