Working from home now? Here are some remote working best practices for EMS billers to consider.
Many organizations, including EMS billing offices, are working through unprecedented changes right now, leaving employees feeling anxious and overwhelmed — especially if they are unexpectedly “forced” to work from home.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, work life and personal life were two isolated worlds, separated in time and space by a daily commute. Now the lines are blurred, and every aspect of daily living takes place in the same place.
For some businesses, working from home is not an option. Some large corporations, retail stores, restaurants, and manufacturing companies have had to either furlough employees with hopes of bringing them back or direct them to unemployment without future direction.
EMS billing operations can be split regarding work-from-home practices. Some are equipped for employees to utilize remote computer access to complete tasks daily; others require the same hands-on routine to execute successfully, making work-from-home less home conducive.
Businesses that can set up shop at home and have operated flexibly prior to the pandemic have found this transition easier. But there are best practices to consider when changing from an office-based job to a home-based environment.
Dan Casciato, a seasoned freelance writer, has weathered the recession years of 2008-2010, which helped him create a routine that is conducive to any building or area — home or out-of-home office. Casciato, who specializes in EMS writing and content development, says that mastering self-discipline is key to creating a healthy work ethic from anywhere.
Here are five tips that will help your EMS billing employees work more effectively from home.
5 Tips to Help EMS Billing Employees Work Effectively From Home
1. Create a Permanent Work Space
Your first step in working from home is to find an area at your home where you can get your work done. This could be a spare bedroom, attic, or even a corner space in your basement.
“If you live in a small apartment and have limited space, you can set up a desk for your laptop and office supplies,” says Casciato.
Regardless of where you set up your workspace, designate an area of your home where you plan to work and stick with it.
2. Set Clear Boundaries
Working from home holds the promise of having the best of both worlds — significant work and more time to be with family. To be successful, however, your employees need to keep their work life and home life strictly separate.
“Since you’re at home, it’s so easy to roll out of bed and stay in your pajamas and slippers,” says Casciato. “You can’t do that. You need structure and discipline. In fact, you should treat it as though you’re still going into an office.”
One way you can do this is to have established business hours. Try a split schedule such as 7:00 am-11:00 am and 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. It breaks up your schedule and allows you to spend a little more time with your family throughout the day.
“Your family will also know not to disturb you during those hours,” says Casciato. “But it also helps you to be an effective time manager to balance both your work and family life.”
Finally, get dressed. No matter the interaction for the day, dressing the part is essential. “I pretend that I have a meeting each day to help stay motivated. I dress as if I were leaving and interacting with people. It becomes a healthy routine and serves as a pick-me-up.”
3. Self Care
Your health and well-being are critical, especially now. Be sure you’re eating right and exercising daily. Casciato works out 90 minutes a day before starting work.
“Even without being in the midst of a pandemic, working from home can strain anyone’s mental health,” he says. “You’re cooped up indoors and may be worried about what’s happening in the world. Take a walk around the block in the morning and afternoon to get a little exercise, clear your head, and just take in some fresh air.”
4. Remain Connected
Now that you and your team are working from home, you may miss the water cooler banter, birthday cakes in the break room, or that adrenaline rush of trying to meet a project deadline. Maybe you don’t miss the rush hour traffic or the long days and nights, but you miss your colleagues. If you're not used to working from home, doing this now on a full-time basis can feel isolating at times.
Casciato recommends bringing everyone together by video chat at least once a week and scheduling virtual happy hours with colleagues or friends.
“Try to keep the lines of communication open with your team and make it clear you are always available to talk,” he says.
5. Stay Motivated with a Schedule and List
A simple to-do list can help keep your team organized, motivated, and productive. Working from home has its distractions, notes Casciato, but a list can help you stay on track.
“Working remotely requires a task list and a schedule as any typical 9-to-5 office job,” he says. “One major difference is that your manager or co-workers are not around to hold you accountable.”
A list and a schedule gives yourself a routine and allows you to stay focused on your projects, Casciato adds.
"As you cross off your tasks each day, it can help you stay motivated as well. Reporting and communicating task completion is another help.”
Connect with Other EMS Billers Online
Working from home has its challenges, but if you'd like to connect with other EMS Billers like yourself who are also working from home, we invite you to join our Facebook EMS Billing Peers group. This group serves as an internet water cooler for EMS billing professionals around the country. Sign on when you have a question, if you're curious to see what everyone's talking about, or if you need some remote working advice.