Working remotely has seen a steady growth of 159% since the last 12 years, and the trend is definitely en-route to becoming the new normal for several employees around the globe.
During university by seeing the rise of influencers working remotely, I became curious about this style of work and felt it could be something that would suit me. So after graduation I started to work as a remote Digital Marketer at a marketing growth agency, and I loved it!
The job definitely has taught me the good, the bad, and the ugly of working remotely, and so today I want to share with you my tips and tricks on how to stay productive whilst working remotely, because at times it can be a challenge especially when your motivation is low. So let’s jump right in!
1. Get dressed
Hurray you’re now working from home and that means you can live in your pyjamas and fluffy bath gown all day long. I will confess, at first I attended several online (off camera) calls sitting in bed in my pyjamas. However, it got to a point where my concentration disappeared completely, I became sleepy, and all I wanted to do was to take a nap mid-call.
Treat your remote job like any other old office job. Get dressed for the day, pull on some trousers (although still make sure they’re comfortable), throw on a clean shirt, and brush your hair. You will feel the difference right away. I like to add on a red lip, because that just give me the extra “I mean business” attitude.
2. Build a routine
Even though you are working from home or the beach, it is important to build a routine around your work. Without a solid action plan in place you may find that it is difficult to start working on your tasks and projects. You may push “clocking in” towards later and later in the day.
One of the many perks of working remotely is that you get to decide when you are at your most productive – be that early morning or late at night. However, having a familiar routine of when to wake up, have a lunch break, and when is the time you really need to be focused, will definitely make the difference on how productive your day is.
3. Track your hours and switch off
When you’re working remotely, especially if you’re lacking a set routine for your work day, it is easy to get carried away with work and end up doing longer hours than you are actually getting paid for. It is common that remote teams have employees from across the globe and in different time zones. So, if you don’t log off your team communication tools such as Slack, you may receive notifications throughout the day and night.
Therefore, it is important for you to set clear hours when you are clocked-in for work and communicate these to the rest of your team and employer. Setting boundaries between your work and personal life will assure that you take time for yourself too and are not available 24/7.
4. Understand your working style
When you understand your working style i.e. how, when and where you are the most productive, it will become easier for you to build a routine around your work. Once you’ve taken the leap to work remotely, you may find yourself a little lost on how to organise your day and where you feel the most focused. Some people prefer to get their work done in the morning whilst others late at night. Total silence may be the key to productivity for you, whereas I, for example, prefer a little bit of background noise so that my thoughts don’t wander off.
I recommend you to try out different places and times until you find what feels the best for you, but remember to switch it up occasionally to spice things up a bit. One day you might work from your home office, whereas another day you might go to your local café. However, it is good to clearly separate the area where you work and where you relax. Keep your bed off limits to work-related thoughts and tasks, so that your mind knows, when you’re about to go to sleep and it’s time calm down.
5. Keep up the communication
A common misconception about working remotely is that you lose the sense of being part of a work community, because you no longer have a physical office environment where you can chitchat with colleagues. When working remotely you will still have daily contact with your team members. Most remote offices use some sort of a team communication tool such as Slack, Trello, or Microsoft Teams.
It is essential for you to stay on top of everything and openly communicate your goals, milestones, and any work-related worries or issues you may be facing to your employer and team. A lot can go unnoticed when you are working so independently, but don’t let this be a reason for you to hide in difficult situations.
After discovering your working style, it’s also important to take note of your immediate workspace, for example your desk. Like in an official office environment you wouldn’t keep many distractions on your desk whilst working, and the same applies to your remote job. Unless you need to make a business phone call, put your phone on silent and place it out of sight behind your laptop or in your bag. This way you won’t be tempted to scroll endlessly on Instagram and watch every cute cat video you find.
Aim to have only the essential items you need to do your work in sight – laptop, charger, coffee mug, notepad and pen… Having a very minimalist desktop has helped me so much to stay focused and has increased my productivity. It’s simple – the less distractions you have around you, the more you feel obligated to focus on the actual task at hand.
Are you currently working remotely? I’d love to know any tips and tricks you use to keep yourself on task during your working hours.