Working Remotely? Tips for Staying Productive
Working Remotely? Tips for Staying Productive
This past year has taught us nothing if not the value of technology. Not only has it shown us how we can use it to do our jobs remotely but we’ve also learned that being in the office doesn’t necessarily make us more productive than if we stayed at home. Which is good because it looks like we’re in for at least a few more months of this new “normal” way of doing business. Here are some tips to stay productive, whether you’re the one working from home, you supervise those who do, or both!
Communication is Key: The key to success in any role is keeping the communication flowing. Just because you’re no longer sitting at the next desk over is no reason to stop talking with your coworkers, your boss, or those you supervise. Make sure to schedule phone or video check-ins on a regular basis to better connect on your business goals, any upcoming projects and daily tasks to make sure you stay on top of things Slack, MS Teams, and Google Meet are great tools you can utilize to help.
Reliable Tech for the Win! Consistent, stable internet access is vital for anyone working remotely, and anyone wanting to supervise remotely. But there’s more to it. The ability to take video calls requires a camera and good speakers. A big screen (or two) also helps. If working from home means being around kids or pets, a good pair of noise canceling headphones is also a lifesaver. As an employer, providing laptops to remote workers might be something to consider, especially if their tech is older or doesn’t have the programs or features they need to do their job successfully.
Dedicate a Workspace: Set yourself up for success with a dedicated workspace. It’ll be easier to concentrate. If you normally need lots of space to work on projects, you might find a garage, spare room or your kitchen table works just as nicely as your old work office. And remember, if you’re on lots of video calls, consider the background that your coworkers, clients, and others will see.
Make it Comfortable: Good, natural lighting, a supportive office chair, desk lamp, photos and a plant or two go a long way to making any workspace comfortable. If you like to work with music, one of the perks of working remotely is that you don’t need to worry about anyone else’s tastes. You’ll be more productive and engaged when you’re at ease, too. Plus, working in leisure clothing means less wear and tear on your “fancy” clothes!
Set Boundaries: It’s easy to work all the time when work and home are in the same place, but one great part of working remotely is the flexibility to work whenever you are most productive. Be careful about letting clients and coworkers know they can reach you any time of day or night, though. Let your family know when you need to be left alone by closing the door or putting up a sign that says come back later. And do the same with your coworkers and boss. Shared online calendars and auto replies are great ways to let people know when you’re occupied and won’t be available.
Keep a Routine: Get to your remote workstation at a regular, consistent time, take breaks and lunch on a schedule and develop the habit of officially “logging off” at the end of the day. Turn off emails and chat notifications when the day is done so you won’t be tempted to check in. Unless it’s an emergency, keep regular office hours just like you would if you were in your regular place of business. Just because work and home are now the same doesn’t mean you should let them blur together. It’s difficult at times but keeping them separate will help you keep your sanity.
Embrace the Perks! The blurring of work and home means you’ve got to give yourself permission to enjoy being at home. Keep or develop a fitness routine, take periodic stretch and beverage breaks, and eat regular meals – and not in front of your computer! Working remotely means you could be free to schedule appointments during the work day, or work from a location other than your home or city, too. Because as long as you hit your goals, does it matter where you physically are? Just make sure to travel safely and don’t skirt on your work obligations.
Now that so many of us are working remotely, life looks a little different – and maybe a little better. It may be an adjustment, especially if you supervise people, but it can also be a blessing in disguise. Maybe you or your employees are more productive without workplace distractions, or maybe it allows you to spend more time with your family. Just remember that this is a stressful time for everyone, so it’s also important to remember we’re all in this together. Just sayin’.
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