Remote work predates the internet, but only with current technology has it been widely implemented (and amplified by the COVID-19 lockdowns). The first remote work case is attributed to NASA engineer Jack Nilles and his 1973 term, “telecommuting.” Ten years later, 2,000 IBM call center employees were working from home.
This illustrates that the merits of working remotely have been acknowledged for quite some time. Nowadays, advanced digital technologies provide even more opportunities, like real-time conference calls, task management software, and private and secure internet connections.
However, switching to remote work does not come without challenges — maintaining productivity being one of them. Read on for five ways you can perform better while working remotely.
1. Identify Your Strengths
People work very differently, and remote work allows you to align your schedule accordingly. You can start working at 5 AM if you’re an early bird; by midday, you will be almost done with your tasks. If your body clock says otherwise, though, try working at noon and into the late evening — don’t even bother with the alarm clock.
You should also identify your most productive hours. Getting the most difficult tasks first and leaving easier ones for the end of the day is generally agreed upon.
Some people need to take breaks to reset their minds; others can handle four-hour sprints before feeling tired. Once you’ve figured out how your mind ticks, organize a schedule and stick to it.
2. Organize The Environment
Distraction is the biggest enemy of productivity, and you can run into a lot of distractions at home. Parents have to set rules so they can concentrate on the work undisturbed; so do couples and roommates.
That doesn’t mean those who live alone are primed for perfect remote work productivity. There’s still social media, Netflix, video games, and everything else you enjoy during your free time. Since no manager looks over your shoulder, giving in to such attractions is easy.
Try to eliminate them from your view and create an uncluttered office space at home. It’s best to separate the working room from the rest, but if that’s impossible, create a space dedicated solely to work. Not only will it help you to concentrate better, but once you’re done with the tasks and leave the workspace, you will experience a mental shift towards free time.
Are you set on working from the couch? Just remember that some people who work from the bed or the living room struggle to separate work from free time and may burn themselves out.
3. Prepare Necessary Equipment
Make sure you’re productive right from the start by obtaining the appropriate technology. You should have a fast computer, headphones with a microphone for Zoom calls, a wide monitor, and so on. Routers and online safety software are also crucial elements of successful work.
You should have a fast router that won’t struggle with advanced encryption algorithms — you’ll need that for online safety. Ensure you have WPA2 encryption turned on or install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on a router to secure your home network. Remember that you will be dealing with confidential business data outside of office network security, and it’s up to you to protect it.
You can also use proxy services if you deal with worldwide clients. If you require specific information from a geographically restricted website, use static residential proxies to bypass the block. It will be much faster than asking for information from your contractor.
4. Use Time Management Techniques
Although some people can organize their time efficiently at home, many struggle to focus. They can concentrate more easily in the office space, where they’re often motivated by working colleagues; they lack such discipline at home.
Time management techniques like Pomodoro assist you with this crucial problem. For example, the Pomodoro timer allows you to set working intervals and short and long breaks. You can start with 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, take a five-minute break, and repeat six to eight times before taking a long break. You can increase the amount of time you work once you get used to it.
5. Adjust Your Lifestyle
You chose to work remotely for a reason — concentrate on that. For example, you can use mornings for yoga exercises and a morning run, which you couldn’t find time to do during your morning rush to the office. In addition, preparing your meals at home instead of eating out all the time can significantly contribute to your health.
Are you saving a lot of time by skipping your commute? Dedicate those reclaimed hours to your hobbies. It will give you a sense of reward and accomplishment and motivate you to work harder to maintain your new lifestyle.
You Can Manage Your Own Productivity
Even though remote work sounds easy, you will likely run into one of the discussed challenges. Knowing what you’re getting into will make the adjustment period more manageable, and once you start reaping the rewards, you will notice significant improvements in your productivity.
|This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. Occasionally, we’ll share other people’s ideas about running a remote company. If you have a topic you’d like to pitch for Buildremote, send us an idea here.|