While most of us used to drive to the office to complete our work, safety protocols concerning COVID-19, including the need to socially distance, have led many companies to transition to a remote workforce. Even though vaccines are making the rounds, many employers have noticed the cost-saving benefits of this remote environment, and it appears this arrangement is here to stay.
While that may sound great for most positions, what about business analysts? Is it possible for work to occur while working remotely? As it turns out, there are many ways that business analysts can be successful when working remotely, and here are some tips for doing just that.
Proper Office Setup
Working in an office is great because you are provided with the tech that you need to complete your job, and you can work with minimal distractions. It is a scenario that can seem difficult to duplicate at home, but you can create a suitable workspace in your house where you can still complete your duties, and you could even be more productive. Work in a room with windows and place your desk near them so you can work under that natural light. Recent studies have shown that natural light can make us more productive and feel better overall. A few house plants can produce the same effect.
You'll also want to create a comfortable workspace so you can sit for long hours without pain or frustration. Find an office chair that provides support for your back, and make sure to sit up straight. Your computer monitor should be at such a height that the top of the screen is at your eye level, so you don't strain your neck. For maximum productivity, consider a standing desk where you can stay alert all day and burn some calories.
For business analysts, a good portion of the day involves reviewing complex data or creating comprehensive reports, and if you are not careful, staring at the screen for too long could hurt your eyes. To stay sharp all day, consider buying an anti-glare filter and applying it to your screen or try wearing blue light-filtering glasses. Even with these protections, it is a smart idea to follow the 20-20-20 rule, which says that you should stop working every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, so you can refresh your eyes.
Communication Is Key
Constant communication is essential for business analysts because they must always keep their pulse on what is happening around the organization and report those findings to the staff members and stakeholders to make the proper adjustments. Luckily, advancing tech allows us to communicate seamlessly even when we are all apart.
Consider using messaging and collaboration apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Trello to send messages back and forth with all members of your team in real-time. These apps are great because you can also use them to stay on top of current tasks and projects and mark off assignments once they are complete. For the best success when collaborating online, try to coordinate everyone's schedules so you can get input from everyone and not have to circle back later. Don't forget to account for each team member's time zone.
Sometimes, analysts may want to meet with someone face-to-face, especially if it involves more complex topics or difficult subjects, and luckily, you can get that same atmosphere with video apps like Zoom and Skype. Video programs work seamlessly with your webcam and speakers to create an environment where you can talk about important subjects and see that the other person understands what is being said. Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled meeting time to ensure that your camera and speakers are working properly and that the meeting starts without a hitch.
Proactively Resolve Concerns
With the important work they do, many business analysts may have further concerns about working remotely, including how to limit distractions and ensure that data is not leaked from their home network, but these potential issues can be resolved with some proactive solutions.
As far as distractions go, keep the television off and set a strict schedule of due dates for tasks and stick with it. If you live with family, coordinate with them and block out times where you should not be distracted, such as during those important video calls or when a big report is due.
While it is important to separate work from your personal life, you don't want to get carried away. It is essential to have a work/life balance so you can share those precious moments with your family. One of the best tips for reaching that goal is to set a strict log-off time every day and stick to it. At that designated time, turn off the computer and spend time with your loved ones or do something that you enjoy. This process will leave you more centered as you return to work the next day.
The other concern that analysts may have is the potential for data theft. There is no doubt that analysts know and report on specific data that could be harmful to the organization if it were leaked to the outside world. Some professionals may worry about hackers getting into their home networks. However, you can avoid this situation with common-sense security tactics, including using strong passwords, installing antivirus software, and activating a virtual private network, which will hide your location and automatically encrypt your data so it can not be read even if it is stolen.
As you can see, most professions can be successful when working from home, and analysts are no exception. Consider the tips and advice above and continue to help your company succeed without concern.