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6 Tips for Effective Home Office According to Recruiters

In recent years, remote work has become not only popular but often a required element in job offers. According to the Antal report "Activity of Specialists and Managers in the Job Market," 41% of respondents expect the possibility of remote work, and employees in sectors such as IT, marketing, management, and HR even prefer at least 4 days of remote work per week.

As indicated by KPMG surveys in Poland, company directors still adhere to the traditional office work model. Although the hybrid mode quickly gained approval from both younger and older generations of workers, leaders continue to favor stationary work, considering it the most effective form of performing professional duties. Antal experts have prepared 6 habits they apply, which will ensure the highest productivity during home office.

1. Set Clear Boundaries - Bed is not a Desk

Working from home requires structure, that is, more organization and boundaries than working in the office. To increase the efficiency of remote work, it is essential to create an appropriate workspace at home. Although it may seem obvious, setting up a dedicated work area is crucial. Simply placing your laptop on the kitchen table is not enough.

The home office should be both comfortable and ergonomic. In this space, you should have all the necessary items for work to avoid searching for them throughout the entire apartment. Otherwise, focusing on tasks will be difficult, and an uncomfortable position may contribute to back pain - which often happens when we turn on the computer and perform tasks straight from bed. It is also important for this space to be aesthetically pleasing. Otherwise, the mere thought of a home office may evoke strong reluctance - comments Sandra Zborowska, Team Leader at Antal IT Services.

2. Effectively Manage Your Time - The Pomodoro Technique

The efficiency of remote work largely depends on a well-planned day. Setting priorities, creating task lists, and forming realistic goals for each day help maintain productivity and motivation. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves dividing work into short time intervals, called 'pomodoros' (from the Italian word 'pomodoro' - tomato), typically lasting 25 minutes, interspersed with short breaks. After every four work cycles, a longer break follows. The detailed plan looks as follows:

  • Choose a task: Focus on one task you want to accomplish.
  • Set the timer for 25 minutes: Start working on the chosen task.
  • Work until the bell rings: Work intensively until the timer rings.
  • Take a short break (5 minutes): Rest, relax, step away from work.
  • Repeat the cycle: After four 25-minute cycles, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).
The Pomodoro Technique is particularly beneficial in the context of remote work, which often requires greater self-discipline and time management. This method helps address one of the biggest challenges of remote work – maintaining focus and avoiding prolonged fatigue. Through regular breaks, it prevents burnout and increases overall work efficiency – comments Martyna Petrus, PR Specialist at Antal.

3. Let Technology Assist You - Technology Will Ease the Load

Modern tools and technologies, such as project management apps, messengers, or document-sharing tools, are indispensable in remote work. They enable effective communication and collaboration with the team, even when working outside the office. Here are a few examples of tools worth considering for remote work:

  • Monday.com: An advanced project management platform providing extensive customization options and easy integration with other tools.
  • Notion: A versatile knowledge management tool allowing the creation of databases, task lists, notes, and documents in one place.
  • Otter.ai: An application for meeting transcription using artificial intelligence, perfect for keeping records of conversations and important discussions.
  • Forest: An innovative app that helps combat procrastination by motivating users to focus through visual representation of productivity.
  • Zapier: A task automation tool that integrates various apps and online services, allowing for the automation of routine tasks and workflows.
A 2020 McKinsey Global Institute report showed that the implementation of modern technological tools can improve workers' productivity by 20-25%. In the context of remote work, appropriate tools not only facilitate task management and communication but also help maintain a high level of focus and organization – states Martyna Petrus, PR Specialist at Antal.

4. Collaboration is Key - Remember Your Team

In the remote work environment, maintaining strong team relationships and effective collaboration are no less important than in a traditional office. Regular video conferences and online meetings are fundamental, but there are also other methods that can strengthen team dynamics:

  • Virtual Brainstorming and Workshops: Brainstorming sessions, utilizing tools such as Miro or Stormboard, allow for creative and interactive exchange of ideas even when the team is working remotely.
  • Daily Short Synchronization Meetings: Known as daily stand-ups, these short, daily meetings can be conducted online, allowing each team member to share their progress and plans for the day, increasing transparency and supporting mutual understanding of goals.
  • Virtual Integration Events: Organizing occasional informal online gatherings, such as games or quizzes, helps build better interpersonal relationships and maintain a positive atmosphere within the team.
  • Use of Communication Tools: Platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other internal communication tools enable real-time information exchange and continuous contact.
  • Sharing Calendars and Availability: This allows for better meeting planning and respecting each team member's working hours.
Active collaboration and communication within a team are crucial in maintaining efficiency, motivation, and a sense of belonging in remote work. Through these practices, teams can not only achieve business goals but also develop strong, mutually supportive professional relationships – adds Justyna Maruszak, Associate Consultant at Antal, SSC/BPO

5. Take Care of Your Well-being - Utilize Saved Time for Healthy Eating

Remote work offers a unique opportunity to improve dietary habits, directly contributing to increased efficiency. With the time saved from commuting to the office and dealing with traffic, employees now have more opportunities to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. According to the Antal and Sodexo study "How Poles Eat at Work," employees eat more meals while working remotely than at the workplace. This is particularly true for meals such as breakfast and lunch. Interestingly, none of the respondents mentioned skipping a meal while working remotely, in contrast to 9% when working in the office.

Download the Antal and Sodexo report "How Poles Eat at Work" here: https://en.antal.pl/insights/report/how-do-poles-eat-at-work 

Remote work has clearly influenced the dietary habits of many people, focusing them on regular and nutritious meals, unlike the quick solutions characteristic of office environments. The ability to use one's own kitchen makes it easier to prepare healthy meals and tailor the diet to individual needs. On the other hand, the lack of access to proper facilities in offices often leads to choosing less healthy snacks or ordering meals for delivery. These trends underscore the importance of adapting workplaces to the needs of employees, especially when it comes to healthy eating - comments Aleksandra Jędrzejczyk, Team Leader at Antal, SSC/BPO.

6. Minimize the Impact of "Living Distractions"

Remote work brings the challenge of dealing with so-called "living distractions," such as family members, pets, or unexpected visits. To effectively minimize their impact on productivity, it is essential to establish clear rules.

The first step is to designate a dedicated workspace, preferably with doors that can be closed to physically separate oneself from the rest of the house. It is also important to set specific working hours with family members during which interruptions should be avoided, except in emergency situations. You can also implement a signaling system, such as placing a red card on the door to indicate that an important task or meeting is in progress and should not be disturbed. To ensure peace and quiet, using headphones with noise-canceling capabilities can be beneficial. For pets, planning their activities when you are not working—such as before starting work or during breaks—can be helpful. Finally, setting the phone to "Do Not Disturb" mode during working hours can help avoid unexpected distractions. Adopting these methods can significantly improve concentration and efficiency during remote work – advises Justyna Maruszak, Associate Consultant at Antal, SSC/BPO.
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