Working remotely is an attractive proposition to anyone who has never worked outside of company walls, but you will want to be careful of how much you romanticize this. Some of us (most of us) have to really keep ourselves accountable to boundaries and workflow, as productivity doesn’t come as easy when you are surrounded by your own things and no watching eyes. If you too have come to this realisation and are looking for some steps to take to get more out of your day when working remotely, let’s discuss some simple things you can do to give yourself the best shot.
Setup your workspace before starting
Before you do any work, you want to set up your workspace to be one that is conducive to work. This means clearing clutter, having a well-lit area with a clean surface, and all the bits and pieces you need for that day ahead. You will also want to set up this space for all the things that you may need, like your printer, HP ink cartridges, second monitor and headphones for conference/video calls. If you don’t have this all together, you will absolutely fool yourself into stopping work during your workday to complete. This isn’t productive, this is procrastination. Don’t give yourself the option and get your work setup right from the start.
Keep to a list of schedule
We all work and learn differently. Some of us need a meticulous schedule where each minute is accounted for, and others work best when scribing a list of tasks needed to be completed and crossing them off as they go. It’s important that you do here what works best for you, and put the same responsibility on yourself as you would in an office. What would happen at the office if these four daily tasks were completed? Would you have eight tasks tomorrow? Stay on top of your work as you would usually, as you are only going to be allowed to work remotely as long as this works. You can even set up a task reward system when you cross something off, maybe it’s a walk around the block or making yourself a nice snack. Let the remote benefits help you and not unravel you.
Check-in with your team
No matter what role you have or the sort of work you do, you will have colleagues, partners or peers you can connect with. Ideally, you want to be connecting with people who are also working remote, so that you can empathise with their struggles or be inspired by their productivity. Have you ever had a scheduled conference call and worked like a dog in those twenty minutes before it so that you are up to speed? Knowing that you are checking-in with someone about your workload could be what is needed to push you to productivity. Scheule these calls in the morning so it forces your hand to be up and at your workspace early, and if it is a video call it might even get you up earlier and looking presentable. If you really want to incentive yourself, tell your peers what you are hoping to achieve that day and ask them to ask you about it this time tomorrow. You might love or hate yourself later with this one.
These three tips are going to be the fundamental pillars of a productive remote worker. Creating a work environment, articulating your workload and staying connected should be what you need to excel in this arrangement. Don’t beat yourself up too much if Monday-Wednesday is productive, but the rest of the week is a blur of procrastination. This takes time to master, so pay attention to how you are developing with this new work arrangement.