Over the last decade, the popularity of remote work has increased significantly. According to one report, 56% of companies allow remote work, 68% of employees work remotely at least once a month, and 18% are remote workers full-time.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced more businesses of all sizes and shapes to implement work-from-home strategies which means the number of remote employees is predicted to grow in the near future.
When starting out as a remote worker, productivity is one of the biggest challenges most people face. Once you know how to work productively, you can optimize your workflow and save time.
Here are productivity tips from seven remote workers who have experience in working remotely.
1. Separate Work and Home
Working remotely doesn’t mean working from home. However, most remote workers still work from home and all remote employees have to stay home during the lockdown. As a result, keeping a work-life balance when working remotely can be difficult. When you mix your professional and personal life, you get distracted and therefore you spend much time on your work duties.
The solution? Separate work and home. Maksym Babych, a business owner who works remotely and manages a remote team of 40 workers at SPD Load, believes that separating work and home is a key to success:
“The easiest way is to set working hours at home so that relatives don't bother you with small things when you are absorbed in a task. Let everyone know that even though you are at home, you are not available.” - @maksymbabych
2. Organize a Perfect Home Workplace
The idea of working in your pajama attracts more and more employees who want to work from home. At first blush, working on your sofa seems to be a good idea. However, it decreases your productivity. Thus, many experienced remote workers suggest that organizing a perfect home workplace can be handy.
Here’s what Marko Mijatovic from Top10VoipList says: “With over 10 years of remote work experience, I’ve found out that having a well-organized workplace is the most important thing when it comes to boosting your productivity. Working remotely, I spend much of my time at home, so I have many distractions and having my office is a must. However, I also try to keep it clean and it helps to be in the mood for work and save time when working.”
Maksym Babych agrees:
“Organize your workplace. You will need a table, chair, lamp, and everything else that will help you tune in to work.”
- Maksym Babych, SPD Load
Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to organizing a perfect home office. But if you want to find basic tips on how to organize your workplace, check out this handy infographic on workplace organization.
“Having a well-organized workplace is the most important thing when it comes to boosting your productivity.” - Marko Mijatovic
3. Start Your Day the Right Way
Positive morning habits help to get things done. When you know how to plan your day the right way, you can keep track of all your duties and work productively. Simply put, you need to start your day the right way.
Surya Pandita works remotely and he starts his day with planning: “Identifying the tasks you really need to get done on a daily basis is a good way to ensure that you don’t waste time on less important matters. When you start your day, start with making a list of the things you absolutely have to accomplish that day, and then start plowing through them first. Don’t stop to do anything else unless it’s of utmost priority.”
George Mathew, the owner of Thinkingne who has been working remotely for almost 7 years, claims that handling the most difficult task first helps to organize a workflow:
“When you start your day, start by eating the ugliest frog first. The ugliest frog is the most unpleasant and distasteful task on the list. With that out of the way, the rest of the day is smooth sailing.”
- George Mathew, Thinkingne
It doesn’t matter whether you want to check your email, plan your day, or work on the most difficult task, the idea of starting your day the right way means that you do things in the morning that help you stay productive during the whole day.
4. Keep Track of Your Work Time
When you work remotely, it’s more likely that you spend much time doing your private tasks instead of working. Why? We get distracted and it affects our productivity as most employees have to work extra hours to get their work done. However, when you keep track of your work time, you stay organized and focused, so it’s no wonder that most remote workers find this tip handy.
For example, Alicja Olko from CandyBar lays a bet on time tracking: “I work on an hourly basis hence time tracking is important mostly for practical reasons — I need to be able to invoice my clients based on the amount of hours worked in a month. However, tracking work time helps me stay more productive and motivated. It helps me structure my work days and to predict the workload for weeks ahead. It keeps me focused on the task and serves as an indicator of how much time certain elements of my job require.”
She also has a pro tip for morning people:
“I particularly like to turn on my time tracker in the morning, when I work while drinking my first cup of coffee. Doing this first hour of work early and having it recorded in a time tracking software sets me for the day, making me more productive, more focused and also giving me more free time to enjoy life.”
- Alicja Olko, CandyBar
Unsurprisingly, Chioma Iwunze from Time Doctor also supports this idea: “In this era of social-distancing, remote workers can use time management tools like Time Doctor, Clockify, and Rescue Time. Beyond measuring your productivity, these tools have the additional benefit of helping you to avoid distractions. This makes it easy for you to focus on the task you’re working on. So if you want to boost your productivity, dedicate time towards monitoring and tracking your efficiency.”
5. Find Remote Work Tools that Help You
With the variety of tools and apps on the market, every remote employee can find a tool that helps to execute work tasks faster. Everything depends on your job duties. As a guest author, I reach out to bloggers regularly, so using a valid email address checker is a great way to find the right contacts and save time. But if you manage social media profiles, you need to find actionable social media tools.
No matter what your profession is, whether you’re a blogger, an SMM expert, or an IT developer, chances are that you work in a team. Thus, you need to use remote work tools like Fleep to stay in touch with your colleagues, manage tasks, and improve team communication with ease.
6. Pay Attention to Your Health
Health is our biggest wealth. When your physical and mental health is fine, you feel energetic and focused. It helps to get more things done and you don’t feel overworked. Thus, one of the most important things remote workers should do is to stay healthy. Luciana Niţu from Planable is a newly remote worker, but staying in lockdown has taught her a lot. Now, Luciana shares her tips with other people who are trying to work from home:
“After more than one month of suddenly-having-to-work-from-home, I think I found my secret formula and that’s to take breaks.”
- Luciana Niţu, Planable
It may seem obvious, but it’s one that’s easy to forget when working from home alone, Luciana continues: “When I was at the office, my breaks were always related to my team. We took a break after checking emails in the morning, we had the 4 PM fruit break, we took time to share jokes. Now, it’s all happening on my laptop, so my eyes really suffered in the first two weeks. 4 PM turned from fruit break into the moment my eyes were hurting. Thankfully, I listened to my body and I’m now more productive because I stand up, stretch, and look into the distance more often. Don’t let the monitor trap you.”
From eating healthy snacks to doing physical activities and choosing the right ergonomic chair, there are many ways for remote workers to improve their health and therefore boost brainpower and productivity.
Today, more and more people give remote work a try and the number of remote workers is predicted to increase. Although working remotely has many benefits, it can be daunting for some people to boost their productivity and get their work done.
Whether you work remotely or manage a team of remote workers, you need to understand what helps people stay productive. The above-mentioned tips can help you boost your focus and spend less time on your workflow without sacrificing the quality of your work. If you have any productivity tips for remote workers, share your thoughts with us.