The numbers are in: half of the American workforce is now working remotely. As the crisis continues to unfold, many companies have announced that their employees will remain remote for the foreseeable future. Employees, while excited about the prospect, may be nervous about maintaining their work-from-home productivity long-term. That’s why we have compiled our list of the best productivity tips for remote workers.
By now, you may feel that you have already heard all of the classic tips for remote workers: set up a home office, adhere to a hard start and stop time, sneak in a few hours of work while the kids nap. But we know you have probably been working home for weeks or months. That’s why our tips aren’t for starting from scratch, but all about improving on your already existing system. We’ll show you how to maintain productivity and engagement with our best self-compassion and time management tips.
How to Apply the 8 Productivity Tips for Remote Working
- Foster connections
- The importance of mealtimes
- Fighting the home distractions
- Tune into a podcasts
- Find calm in meditation
- Breathe some fresh air
- Learn to prioritize
- Plan your to-do list ahead of time
8 Productivity Tips for Remote Workers
One key tip for remote working: communicate with everyone, all the time, always. The best way to stay engaged when working from afar is to check-in regularly with your colleagues and supervisors. Training yourself to communicate more than you usually would may be difficult, but once you get used to it, it will make your life much, much easier.
Communicate with everyone you can! Communicate with your family about the times of your uninterruptible video meetings, your deadlines, and your needs. Communicate with your friends to alleviate stress.
This is especially important for managing remote employees. Make expectations clear and help keep employees on track to meet their goals with regular check-ins.
It won’t always be possible. Sometimes you’ll need to keep prepping presentation materials or put the finishing touch on that copy. But when you can afford to, using a lunch break to actually make and eat a nice lunch can be the perfect way to slip a little self-care into a hectic day.
Is lunch not your thing? Use the time to fit in a quick work out, meditate, or just take a walk around the block. Sitting in front of the computer from sun up to sun down will only stunt your creativity and make it harder to be productive.
Employees who work from home may be tempted to step away from their workspaces for a few minutes to put in a load of laundry or do those lingering breakfast dishes. While clearing clutter may seem like an innocent distraction, remember that all that mental gear-shifting is costing you time and energy. Multi-tasking never works!
Give yourself a short amount of time, for example, 15 minutes, for a morning tidy, but then call it quits until you’re done working. Waiting for the buzz of the washing machine or getting derailed by a major dusting will prevent you from concentrating. Instead, focus on getting your work done and save the housework for later. (Better yet, delegate it to the kids.)
It may not seem like it what with the screaming children and stressed significant other, but working from home can be lonely. Podcasts are not only great for staying on top of the news and finding great stories. They also can scratch your out-of-office itch to “chat” with someone else (or have some else chat to you).
Listen while you do the dishes, clean the house (only during off-hours!), or lay on the couch. Make sure to also find time to connect with your real friends! No matter how much you love Michael Barbaro on The Daily, he’ll never ask you how your day was.
These are stressful times. Even though you are working from home, it probably feels like you’re running more than ever trying to take care of things. It is important to find time to sit quietly and check-in with yourself. A little inner peace can go a long way.
Start slowly by carving out 3 or 5 minutes in the morning when you wake up or in the evening when you go to bed. Studies show that meditation can do wonders for anxiety and depression. It will help you gear up to take on the day or calm down in time to get a good night’s rest. Our tip for remote working: make time for quiet.
Remote workers might have a hard time finding the privacy they need. Maybe you didn’t realize it at the time, but the commute to the office and uninterrupted hours at your desk offered a lot of space for thought. Working from home in a house with other people who might be working or schooling from home can build up a lot of steam.
It’s time to take a turn around the block. Get up, get out, and enjoy the fresh air. Stretch your legs and your lungs and so you can get back to work feeling refreshed. Walks are great for whatever spare pockets of time appear in your day. 20 minutes before the meeting? Take a 15-minute stroll to clear your head.
While working remotely, workers may want to show that they are still on top of their game by prioritizing work that takes less time. This makes them appear more productive, but can actually be detrimental in the long run. During these uncertain times, you may not be able to get through all the work you would like to.
Make an effort to prioritize important work and long-term projects even if they don’t have as many short-term rewards. Instead of working more, work smart. Concentrate on the tasks that matter. You can use online tools to streamline your workflow and keep you on track.
Losing the routine and the structure of working in an office can leave you feeling adrift. There’s a simple way to add back the organization you’ve been craving: at the end of each workday, make a plan for how the next day will go. This is important to do while you have that special end-of-day insight into your needs.
That way, when you sit down to get to work, you already have a roadmap of where to go. You won’t have waste time digging through yesterday’s work, trying to make a plan.
Tips for Managing Remote Workers
In addition to our tips for remote workers, we’ve previously covered tips for managing remote workers. Managing from afar isn’t easy, but with our guidance, you can feel secure remote working. And, if you’re interested in hearing from experts on how they manage remotely, check out these 31 remote productivity hacks from the pros.
Managers in need of a guide to managing your (newly) remote workers can remember that right now, compassion is king. Like you, employees are going through a lot right now. Make allowances when possible, and try to keep expectations manageable. Communicate openly and regularly, and help to ease the burden wherever you can.
Written by Valerie Slaughter