Tips for Working Remotely: 5 Ways to Maximize Productivity



5 Tips for Working Remotely

Looking to become a remote work superstar? We’ve got plenty of tips for working remotely that will boost productivity and help you make the most of an at-home arrangement. Pick a category for which you could use some assistance, or try all of these tips for working remotely!

5 Tips for Working Remotely

Remote Work Tip No. 1: Create a workspace.

Rather than take the idea of “work from anywhere” to the extreme, put some thought (and perhaps a bit of money) into where you’ll be spending your time.

  • Dedicate a space as your home office. A central location puts work-related material at the ready and keeps things from getting lost around the house—saving valuable time and sanity. The area needn’t be fancy, but it should allow sufficient room to perform tasks.
  • Pay attention to noise levels. Quiet areas promote concentration and convey professionalism when conversing via phone or video chat. Locate your home office as far away as possible from common sources of noise, such as the television and the furnace. An office door that closes and a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones also work wonders.
  • Watch the temptation to “make do,” which could ultimately impact your ability to perform. Pulling a dining room chair over to the computer might seem like a cost-effective idea, but purchasing an ergonomic one that keeps your back from aching might prove a preferable route. Better lighting, a faster Internet connection, and a personal space heater and/or fan are other potentially wise investments.

Remote Work Tip No. 2: Reduce distractions.

Remote workers no longer contend with watercooler chat disrupting focus, but plenty of other factors still exist that zap attention.

  • Explain to everyone in the household the importance of respecting a closed office door. Post a “do not disturb” sign along with the time at which you’ll be available.
  • Get rid of temptations. Close computer tabs not in use. Consider web browser plug-ins that block specific sites such as Facebook during the time you’re working. Refrain from turning on the TV “just for a minute,” and definitely don’t install one near your work area.
  • Keep a pad of paper next to the computer to jot down extraneous thoughts and eliminate the fear that you’ll forget something if you don’t act upon it right now.

Remote Work Tip No. 3: Develop a routine.

Remote work often allows greater control over when tasks get done, but a lack of structure can lead to feeling aimless, overwhelmed, or on-call 24/7.

  • Come up with a ritual to mark the start and the end of your workday. Such actions trigger your mind to get into the proper frame. Signal “work mode” by enjoying a cup of hot tea in the morning while looking over your daily schedule. Clearly say to your brain “I’m done for today” by changing your clothes at day’s end like a commuter arriving home.
  • Designate certain points each day for handling email. Constant checking affects concentration and gives the impression that you’re always “on.”
  • Get in the habit of creating tomorrow’s to-do list before calling it a day, while information is still fresh in your mind. Then, you can jump right into things upon your return instead of trying to remember where you left off.

Remote Work Tip No. 4: Utilize tools.

Whether you’re tech-oriented or old-school, play around with time management systems to discover what works for you.

  • Use one central calendar for both professional and personal obligations, perhaps color-coding to promote readability. Errors will be less likely to occur, such as scheduling a client meeting for the same time as your kid’s soccer game.
  • Look into apps that meet specific needs. Get too caught up in tasks to take breaks? Try a fitness app that reminds you to stretch regularly. Need some extra motivation? Consider a productivity challenge app where you can gain or lose achievements based on your work habits.

Remote Work Tip No. 5: Plan interaction.

Finally, remember that remote work is not synonymous with becoming a hermit. Socializing is vital to your mental health and your career.

  • Find ways to stay in touch with colleagues. Attend the office picnic or holiday party. Meet some coworkers for happy hour. “Arrive” to video conferences early just to shoot the breeze. Become a regular on company chat platforms.
  • Investigate alternate places to work on days when your home office seems lonely. Coworking spaces offer a “people-fix” while still maintaining productivity, and networking opportunities abound. Or head to the library, park, coffee shop, or other local places.
  • Maintain a satisfying social life outside of work. Remote workers able to connect with others through volunteer work, family activities, classes, and similar outlets often cope better with the solitude of remote work.

Whether you’re new to working remotely or you’ve been doing it for years, these tips can help you maximize your remote work skills and successfully perform your role.

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