Ways To Stay Productive When Working Remotely
Employers shouldn’t have to wonder what their employees are doing when they aren’t on-site. Whether you work remotely on a regular basis or only on occasion, it’s important to stay productive and efficient. Being able to ensure productivity outside the office will go a long way to guarantee your company continues to allow you the flexibility to work remotely.
When working remotely, try to follow the same routine you do on days you are going into the office. Wake up at the same time, have breakfast or go to the gym if that is normal for you. Shower, get dressed and be prepared to start your day at the same time you normally would. The only difference when you are working remotely is that you don’t have to contend with traffic during a morning commute. Otherwise, your colleagues should know exactly what time they can expect you to log on and be available.
Schedule Your Day
Before you start your computer and open a single email, decide how your day should be scheduled. You might start by taking into consideration any meetings or conference calls you need to attend. Be sure you have the technology set up to join those meetings and carve out a bit of time to prepare beforehand if you need to. Use a calendar task reminder to keep you on track so you aren’t late to call in or feel unprepared to contribute.
Develop a “to do” list to help you fill in the gaps of your day. Determine what you need to work on and set specific times to make those items a priority. Having a well-scheduled day will reduce the chance you end the day feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything.
Create A Useable Space
It’s important to realize that how productive you can be is reliant on the tools and space available to you. If working remotely is even a semi-regular occurrence, it’s important to invest in a space that helps you instead of hinders you. Set up a desk or similar workstation that allows for the space you need to utilize laptops/computers, video conference tools, phones, printers, etc. If your job requires looking at multiple documents simultaneously, having extra monitors will likely make you significantly more productive than if you had to keep switching between tabs on a laptop.
Whatever space you design for yourself, make sure it promotes productivity and doesn’t overlap with other non-work related activities. For example, being in the habit of working from your bed might lead to an urge to nap more often while working from the couch might encourage you to flip the TV on too regularly.
Even if you have an effective workspace dedicated in your home, sometimes you need a change of scenery. Look into local coffee shops or see if there are co-working hubs nearby that might be able to meet your needs. One of the most important requirements is whether or not you have the connectivity to stay in communication with your colleagues. After that, you want to be sure that a change of location won’t prove to be more distracting than it is helpful. Sometimes, it helps to be in a quiet atmosphere but surrounded by others. In that case, look to your local library if they have free WiFi.
Stay Connected With Colleagues
Staying productive often goes hand in hand with staying connected. Ensuring your colleagues can reach out to you when you are needed is incredibly important. Again, make sure wherever you are has a reliable internet connection and you have uninterrupted cell phone service.
Look to see if there are any tools or products your company has that might allow for constant, informal communication. For example, many organizations support an internal instant messenger service that can be used as long as employees are logged in or online. Informal communication channels may help employees feel more engaged even when working remotely.
When you are at the office, it’s sometimes necessary to step away from your desk in order to come back with a clearer mind or to tackle a problem from another angle. The same goes when you are working remotely. When you are scheduling your day, be sure to schedule appropriate breaks as well. Take the time to stop working and have lunch. If you need to, take a short break to recharge by grabbing a cup of coffee or going for a short walk.
Limit Social Media
Just like at the office, social media can be a “black hole” for productivity. If you feel the need to check social media accounts or personal emails during the day, be aware of how much time you are spending. When there’s no one there with you to set expectations, you need to do so for yourself. Part of the reasoning you may have used when requesting to work remotely was the increase in productivity. If you’re spending hours on social media networks, that reasoning is lost.
Working remotely often offers employees a balance to their home and work life that is appreciated. It’s important to show your appreciation back to your employer by being as productive in the office as you are outside.