Hello, I am Mr. Hayashi from the Marketing Department of Questetra, Inc.
Today, many companies are introducing remote work (telework). Questetra is no exception, with many people working remotely on a daily basis.
I have been working remotely for about two and a half years, and while there are many good things about it, there are also some things I need to pay attention to.
So, I would like to talk about some things to watch out for when working from home that I have learned from my own experience.
Benefits of Remote Work
The most crucial benefit of working from home is that employees don’t have to commute. In my case, I lived about 30 minutes away from my office by bicycle or bus. But, despite that, I remember how much easier it was to work there.
It is also good for the company to save money on employee commutes and office maintenance costs.
Another advantage of remote work is that you can work quietly and at your own pace without worrying about the eyes of those around you. Speaking of this, an acquaintance of mine who has back pain said, “Remote work helps me because I can work in a comfortable posture, which I cannot do in the office.”
Points to Consider When Working Remotely
On the other hand, remote work also has some unexpected pitfalls. From here, I would like to discuss some points to be aware of from the standpoints of both employees and managers.
No. 1: Take care of your physical and mental health
The ability to work from home or in an environment that suits you is one of the advantages of remote work, but this can backfire in some cases.
- Loneliness of working alone
- Impatience and anxiety due to not knowing what is going on around you
- Difficulty in distinguishing between work and private life
For these reasons, many remote workers experience more stress than those who work in an office.
Therefore, remote workers need to pay more attention to their physical and mental health than office workers.
This may be especially important for those who work remotely and have very few opportunities to go out. I too have always been a stay-at-home person, so I make a conscious effort to get outside at least once a day. These light walks are a simple way to relieve stress.
Come to think of it, I often see people running in the evening after the COVID pandemic. Some of them may be running after work to keep their bodies and minds in good shape.
No. 2: Be more organized in your work
It is easy to get lazy when working from home, but the trick is to keep a balance between your work and leisure, and avoid stress.
Recently, the Pomodoro Technique (*), in which you work hard for 25 minutes and then rest for 5 minutes, has been getting much attention lately. This type of work style may be good for working from home. On the other hand, a work style in which you sit at a desk aimlessly is inefficient and leads to fatigue and stress.
In the above example, the ideal pattern is to concentrate on the work for 25 minutes and then relax for the next 5 minutes and do a little physical activity or drink a cup of tea. Note that if you look at the Internet, social networking sites, or do other work during this 5-minute break, you will not be able to rest your body and mind.
* Pomodoro Technique: A time management technique developed by Francesco Sirillo, a consultant from Italy. It is characterized by repeating a set of short periods of work and short breaks.
No. 3: Communication is important
Now, as already mentioned, loneliness is a surprisingly significant pitfall of remote work.
This depends on your personality, but some people who continue to work remotely cannot stand the idea of working alone at home and want to go to the office. This shows the importance of ensuring some means of communication and having opportunities for communication, even when working remotely.
For example, Questetra uses Questetra BPM Suite for business progress and management, and one of its functions is Open Chat. This is a communication tool that allows users to chat within the company or team, and to send mentions to individuals using the @ symbol.
I mostly use Open Chat to talk to people about business, and it’s helpful that I can easily look back at past conversations.
Of course, we try to ask business questions in Open Chat as appropriate, but unlike in the office, when working remotely, you don’t know what is going on with the other person, so you may wonder if the time is right to ask a question. This kind of consideration, if taken too far, can cause stress.
I try not to waste time by asking questions or getting unnecessary confirmation, but if it is essential for my work I will ask questions in the chat room right away. Another advantage of chat is that the person who answers those questions can reply at a time that is convenient for them.
We also use Google Meet to hold video meetings for problems that are too hard to solve over chat. This is because it is much smoother to talk face to face than to send messages back and forth endlessly. I think that video meetings and open chats have solved communication problems to some extent for me.
Incidentally, our Open Chat sometimes (often?) includes some casual chit-chat. I think this kind of communication is necessary, especially when working remotely.
No. 4: Value sharing
Closely related to the above discussion of communication, I realize that in remote work various types of sharing are more important than in the office. This sharing can range from small topics of conversation at work to information and data necessary for business operations.
I am going to talk about Questetra BPM Suite again, but the reason I am able to work remotely so smoothly is that my business processes are shared by Questetra BPM Suite.
For example, Questetra displays the progress of operations at a glance as shown in the figure below.
Sharing processes and progress is also important to reaffirm that you are working as a team. For example, if it is clear who is in charge of what tasks and where they stand, the loneliness and anxiety of working remotely may be alleviated.
The same can be said for the sharing of work results and deliverables. By clearly defining the goal of your work, your position in the business will become more apparent, and it will be easier to feel a sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment is very important when working remotely, where people tend to feel lonely and anxious.
No. 5: Environment
Now that we have listed the key pitfalls to avoid when working remotely, let’s look at the basic premise of these points.
- It is very important to have an environment suitable for remote work
For example, Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based service that allows users to access and work on the same system from anywhere with an Internet connection, just as if they were in the office. In addition, because work progresses automatically according to a work flow diagram, work can be transferred smoothly even if you are working from home. This is another crucial point for remote work.
Incidentally, there are many cases in which managing employee attendance is an issue for remote workers, but Questetra has solved this problem by using an App called the Attendance and Absence Report Flow. This is a great tool that allows employees to report their arrival and departure times from home, as well as post the day’s work to Open Chat by filling out an entry screen.
In addition, if we are talking about improving the environment, there is no better way than to promote paperless work and eliminate the use of stamps. In the first place, paper documents cannot be circulated when working remotely, and having to go to the office to affix a stamp or sign a document is a real hassle.
Questetra BPM Suite can solve these problems by utilizing functions such as automatic PDF generation and automatic file storage in conjunction with cloud storage. In addition, Questetra is evolving daily to support business efficiency and paperless operations; for example, the integration with Box has recently been further enhanced to centralize and automate the electronic signature process (from generating documents for signature to requesting signatures) for documents stored in Box.
Finally, here is a list of five points to avoid difficulties when working remotely.
- Take care of your mental and physical health
- Have a good work ethic
- Value communication
- Value sharing
- Care for the environment
The above are just a few points to keep in mind based on my own experience, but I would like to work remotely in an environment that is as comfortable as possible while taking care of my physical and mental health.
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