Technology is making it easier for more people to work remotely; last time we touched on this subject, we talked about strategies for managing a remote creative team. In this sequel, we wanted to offer tactics for those actually doing the remote work.
While working out of the office is more accessible than ever, you’re also prone to distractions that can inhibit your productivity. Without the confines of an office, a set schedule, and an overall work environment, it can be challenging to stay on task. Despite this, a survey in Forbes states that 91% of workers believe that they get more work done while working remotely. Here are six surefire ways to join that majority.
Turn Off Push Notifications
If you can, put your phone on silent or turn it off entirely.
Mobile phones are often the biggest distraction of all. The dings from Facebook messenger, text messages, and Candy Crush notifications immediately take you out of work mode. Don’t forget, each ping is an audible equivalent to a shiny object. Once you pick up your phone and see the photo that you’re tagged in, you’ll soon be scrolling through your newsfeed and that much more susceptible to clickbait.
If you’re expecting a call from your boss or if you need your phone on for emergencies, adjust your settings so that those will be the only circumstances in which you’ll phone will buzz. You'll get distracted every time it makes a noise otherwise.
Create a Set Schedule
Depending on your role and company, you might have the option of setting your own schedule. You don’t have to clock in by 9:03 and you can run as many errands during business hours as you like. However, just because you can work whenever you feel like it, doesn’t mean that you should.
Without a set schedule, you may find yourself becoming disorganized and exasperated. The task at hand will take longer than usual, and your motivation could be jeopardized.
Create a schedule for yourself that is as consistent as you can make it. It doesn’t have to be 9-5, but it should be the same every day/week. Once you train yourself to get into a routine, you’ll be mentally clocked in to do your best work.
Also, don’t forget to take regular breaks. Take ten to fifteen minutes to remove yourself from the task at hand. Recalibrate your mind, and then return to what you were working on. Intentional breaks allow for you to see the project you’ve been working on with a new perspective. You may see errors that you didn’t before or come up with a great new idea to improve your work.
In addition to creating a consistent work schedule, it’s vital to schedule what you’ll be doing during that time. Use Google Calendar, similar software, or have a whiteboard in your home office complete with times of meetings, project milestones, and time blocks that tell you when and how long you should be working on a particular task.
Organizing your days like this will keep you productive and save time on trying to figure out what needs to be done and when. It also helps to maintain a checklist of the tasks at hand so that you don’t forget to email a contact or miss a deadline.
Scheduling will also help you determine when you start and end your days, as well as when to take breaks.
Have a Home Office
Find a room or section of your home and turn it into an office. Set it up with your laptop, your printer, your mug and coffee maker, a picture of your dog, and everything else you need to make it a professional space.
Your couch is not your office. Neither is your recliner or your bed. If you’re working in a space where you're relaxed, that’s where your mindset will be. Working on a project that is tedious or mundane in that kind of environment might tempt you to lean back or lay down. Before you know it, you’ll be waking up 45 minutes later having made zero progress.
Make sure that your family, friends, and roommates know that when you’re there, you’re working. Let them know that you’re happy to have a conversation when you reach a good breaking point, but that you’re otherwise unavailable when working through the day’s tasks.
Treat your home office like a regular office. You'll get things done more efficiently, which allows you to spend more time off the clock. The commute back home isn’t too bad, either.
Leave Your Home (Occasionally)
Just because you have a home office doesn’t mean that you can’t work anywhere else. Enjoy an occasional day out somewhere, like your favorite café or library. Changing locations helps recharge your batteries and allows for you to become more productive.
If you work at home alone, it could also curb a sense of isolation. Being in a setting where others are around can make you feel more comfortable. The added background noise can even keep you focused!
If it’s a beautiful day out, take your laptop to your backyard or a local park. Enjoy the crinkling grass under your feet and the soothing rays of sunlight. An article in Good Therapy reveals that a study done on people who worked in different lighting were more productive in natural light than artificial light. Lastly, working remotely gives you the freedom to work outside, so enjoy it when you can.
Use Productivity Timers
A great way to judge your level of productivity is to experiment with how much you get done in certain working conditions. Using the Pomodoro technique or other timer based work blocks can help you measure how effective your remote setup is.
You can use these methods to determine how many hours you’ve spent on a task. This can help with creating invoices and rate sheets if you’re a freelancer. It also gives you a clearer idea of how long a particular project will take you in the future.
70% of Fortune 100 companies have managers leading hybrid teams. Team members work both in-house and remotely but are able to collaborate virtually through the proliferation of new technology. This trend is likely to grow and more people will have the ability to enjoy working wherever they wish. When you are working remotely, just be sure to follow these tips and become more productive while working beyond the walls of their office building