Remote work is no longer a deviation from the norm—it is the norm, with more than two-thirds of people working away from the office at least once each week around the globe.
As employers and recruiters seek to cut overhead expenses, they look to hire contractors or simply send their employees home, contributing to the practice’s growing popularity. This creates some pressure among those who aren’t quite used to the idea but may find themselves doing more work from home than they ever dreamed of. So what happens when they find themselves worrying they won’t be as productive working from a home office?
Here are some top tips on how you can become a super productive remote employee.
Before stressing over the what-ifs, it’s important to remember that working from home is a step forward.
When workers are in charge of their own space and scheduling, they end up becoming more involved with their tasks, and when workers are more involved, they are more dependable. To an employer, dependability is key.
In order to get there, however, it takes some practice. To those of you who are just entering the incredible working-from-home world—or those who have been in it for quite some time but need a refresher—here are my top tips on how you can become a super-productive remote employee.
Make Room for Work and Work Only
Creating a working space that is used for that and that alone is essential.
It is said that humans are visual creatures, and having a corner in your home dedicated to work, even if it’s literally just a corner, helps your brain to put you in the right mood.
Limiting the workspace to things pertaining only to work will help boost your productivity in a tangible way.
Setting up your desk, filling it with everything you need for work, and making sure that other elements don’t get mixed in will help to prepare you psychologically for the tasks at hand. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time—or money—to make it an actual office. All you need is a desk, your computer, and small tools such as Post-It Notes, a planner, pens, etc.
Whatever you do, try to not bring in elements from your personal life into that space such as bills, books, or anything else that may distract you. Limiting the workspace to things pertaining only to work will help boost your productivity in a tangible way.
Get Your Schedule Down
Many of us have a hard time sticking to a set schedule, especially during the beginning of our remote working life. However, it is important to organize your life so you can strike a work/life balance, especially once you’ve settled in a new home.
If your boss doesn’t want you to work a set amount of hours daily but you do have tasks to finish within a certain timeframe, give yourself enough time each day to complete your tasks and stick to your schedule. When remote workers don’t stick to their own schedules, they tend to work for longer hours while becoming less productive.This creates boundaries and helps you to know when to start and when to finish work, giving yourself a much-needed break.
When remote workers don’t stick to their own schedules, they tend to work for longer hours while becoming less productive. This leads to unnecessary stress and, in the end, less work and money.
Ditch the To-Do List
Sounds counterproductive, but hear me out.
When you have a to-do list without a deadline to complete said tasks, you set yourself up for failure. That’s because a to-do list doesn’t impose much-needed limitations that will help you push yourself to be the best employee you can be.
Instead, use a calendar and pay close attention to dates.
The calendar works because it reminds you that you can’t procrastinate. It reinforces your schedule without allowing you to lose control over your work, and it reminds you of your tasks ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about hurrying in the long run.
Learn to Embrace Tech
Technology really is here to make our lives easier. In the world of remote work, there’s nothing more important than understanding and learning to love this reality, especially if you need to work with a group of other remote workers who also have their own schedules.
In order to make your life—and the lives of your co-workers and bosses—easier, consider using tools such as Slack, Trello, Google Hangouts, Fuze, and even Workplace by Facebook.
Many of these tools are free to use while some are paid, but depending on your needs and how big your team is, Slack and Trello are some of the most useful tools on the market.
With these cloud-based collaboration services, users stay connected, get notifications, and even keep track of their own progress. Additionally, these tools add a casual and informal vibe to the whole process, making work less stressful—especially to workers on tight deadlines.
Whatever your need, there’s always an app or piece of software that can help.
While you’re learning to use these tools and becoming a better communicator as a result, also consider looking into apps that may help you to boost your creativity by keeping you from spending too much time procrastinating online.
The Checky app is a favorite among remote workers as it tracks how much time you spend on your phone. Other services, such as Freedom and StayFocused, also help, blocking websites for a particular amount of time so you don’t have access to them while working. This greatly limits the time you spend on Facebook, Instagram, etc, helping you focus on work alone.
Whatever your need, there’s always an app or piece of software that can help. All you have to do is to put them to work so that you, too, can become a more productive remote worker.