Once a luxury, now a norm. Protective measures around the world are being taken after the outbreak of Covid-19. Companies everywhere have rolled out mandatory remote work, which can be a drastic change to what most employees are used to. Whether you’re new to telecommuting or a veteran at it, here are some tactics and strategies to help you work effectively away from the office.
Staying in touch and communicating regularly are key factors contributing to your efficiency as a remote worker. If you’re a manager, consider starting and finishing the day with a call to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and are motivated to produce the best results. You may also have to arm yourself with patience especially if your employees are new to telecommuting. Regular check-ins are the best way of making sure your projects are on track.
Whether you are in a managerial position, or not, it’s also very advantageous to keep in touch with your co-workers for social reasons. Wishes and congratulations written over email can have a very uplifting effect and are a good way to bond. Casual chats over VoIP or video can be a more entertaining way of taking a break, allowing for a quick return to your work mentality.
Working from home may at times feel unstructured and isolated. This is where frequent calls and chats with your work colleagues are beneficial. It may not be the perfect substitute for face to face conversations but, it will ease the feeling of isolation. It will also help you to remain motivated and on task.
The coronavirus is making it even harder to socialise as it impacts other forms of interactions, not only those in the workplace. Remember that your teammates are in a similar situation, and have most likely the same issues and needs, so share your experiences and worries with them.
To keep your spirits high and your motivation on course you could partner up with one of your co-workers to keep each other accountable. This strategy will help you to decrease the likelihood of procrastinating. I think we can all agree that mild peer pressure can be very successful at getting stuff done!
When you’re working from home you’re forced to manage your time even more so than when you work in the office. You have more flexibility as to when you start work and when you finish work for the day. However, with all that power comes great responsibility... Therefore, choose your hours wisely.
Wake up an hour before you’re scheduled to work. This will give you enough time to prepare for the upcoming tasks, both mentally and physically and will ease the transition from pillow to laptop.
Setting small as well as big targets will ensure your productivity doesn’t drop throughout the day. Furthermore, achieving even small goals will fill you with a sense of success and make your workday more enjoyable. It’s a good idea to keep all your tasks and deadlines online or in a place you can access easily. If possible break up your day and have a variety of tasks at hand, so you don’t lose focus or burn out.
Set a schedule. Make sure you give yourself breaks and use the opportunity of being at home to do some exercise or eat a nutritious lunch. Create your schedule in accordance with your productivity highs and lows, keeping your hardest tasks for when you’re in the right headspace. This will ensure you stay productive and not burn out.
To stay on track you might consider using apps such as:
Use technology to your advantage, not only to communicate and keep track of your progress and maintain your motivation, but also to make sure your VPN and any necessary programs run smoothly at home. At Blue Frontier, our tech team can support your business and make working from home easier.
When you are working, focus just on that. Don’t try to do your washing, walk the dog and water the plants during your work hours. These distractions will not only decrease your productivity but will also negatively impact the quality of your performance. Schedule them into your working hours, as a break or just leave them for after you’ve finished working. There’s a reason why multitasking often breeds mistakes, it is generally recommended you to devote your attention to one task at a time.
Just because you can stay in your PJs, it doesn’t mean you should. Comfort doesn’t always mean productivity. Getting ready and dressing appropriately will help you feel empowered and get you in a working mindset. This means wearing work attire, which will allow you to take those unexpected video calls. PS. don’t be that guy who wears a suit on top but PJs on the bottom!
Use headphones and mute your microphone during conference calls when you aren’t speaking to minimize the amount of audio feedback and random sound interruptions during the conversation.
To help minimise distractions, choose an area in your house which has the most suitable working conditions for you. Take into account the lighting, space, noise levels and temperature. If you’re not sure which area you’d prefer, try them all! There is no right or wrong answer, use the trial and error technique to find what works for you. To keep this place as effective as possible, try to reserve it just for work. Be creative, if you don’t have a desk, use your ironing board!1
We would advise you not to work in bed, as it is an environment you normally relax and sleep in. This could make it hard to concentrate while you work, or unplug after you’ve finished.
If you are finding it a little too quiet, switch on the TV and let it play in the background, however, be mindful and make sure it doesn’t become a distraction. Alternatively, play some music, try out different genres for different activities and see what keeps you motivated and focused.
Make sure the people you live with understand and respect your work ethic and are mindful of your work environment. You don’t want your partner telling you about the dishwasher when you’re on the phone with a client or your cat jumping on your keyboard when you’re in the middle of a presentation. So, lock the door or just make sure everyone knows when they should be mindful and try not to disturb you. With the right arrangements, you may find yourself even more productive than when you were in the office.
Did you ever find yourself with a plan of action, ready to create, but before you start you decide to quickly check Facebook? Two hours later you’re still scrolling on your phone looking at funny cat videos? So, how to protect yourself from this time and productivity black hole? Try removing your social media from your browser shortcuts and log out after each visit.
One of the biggest advantages of working from home is that you have the choice of when, how and where you work. Having that freedom gives you the opportunity to become even more productive than in the office. However, to achieve a high level of productivity you have to treat remote working as a normal day at work.
Your home stops being the place you sleep, eat and relax in and becomes your office. Having this mentality will help your productivity when you find yourself getting distracted. You will have to rely on your self-discipline more than perhaps you are used to. To remain productive and to reach your targets you have to rely on a schedule and make the best decision to aid you in that goal. You may not have to stick to office hours, but you do need to decide when you are most productive and be disciplined.