Establishing a nine-to-five routine in the office comes with the territory. There’s the morning coffee, lunch at your desk or out with colleagues, maybe a few meetings in the afternoon and a quick look at tomorrow’s agenda before packing it up for the day. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But when working remotely, those well-set parameters go out the window — and that can include your productivity. We’ve rounded up eight productivity tips for working remotely, so your performance can return to business as usual.
1. Create a Designated Work Space
Our home typically functions as an escape from work — a place to unwind and decompress after a hard day in the office. But you can still create a similar setup for yourself when the space must operate as both. Dedicate a specific room or surface as your at-home office. That way, your mindset can transition into business mode when working in that area more easily.
2. Plan Your Agenda in Advance
This best practice is just as useful at home as it is for your everyday work life. Organizing your desk in the morning can take up a lot of valuable time — save that activity for the end of the day. Remember: this plan is flexible and can change for urgent projects or tasks.
3. Structure Your Workday
The workday can sometimes blend into an unending fog without the boundaries established by in-person meetings and usual office fare. Actively structuring your day’s agenda with the use of your company calendar can help. Once you have your agenda in place (see previous tip), block out periods on your calendar to alert you when it’s time to switch tasks, so you can remain productive. Pro-tip: include stretch breaks or times throughout the day to step away from your computer throughout the day. Your mind and body will thank you.
4. Prepare Your Meals the Night Before
Another productivity hack that can transition to your remote work lifestyle, meal prepping the night before is a great way to develop a work-week routine that sticks. Sure, it may seem tempting to cook an elaborate, home-cooked breakfast or lunch with your kitchen a mere few feet away, but this can create some discord in your now well-structured workday. Remote working relationships require trust between you and your employer — don’t put that in jeopardy by performing non-work tasks outside of your allotted meal break.
5. Protect Your Time
That being said, many workers feel the need to work harder while working from home because those barriers between your office and home life are less defined. Don’t let burnout affect your productivity. Establishing in- and out-of-office hours with your fellow inhabitants, colleagues and managers are key.
6. Communicate Your Expectations
A follow-up to the former tip, clear up any unnecessary miscommunication with your roommates, family and colleagues so everyone is on the same page. Voicing these expectations, such as establishing a work-only time range for each day or regular check-ins throughout the week, helps keep you and your team moving forward.
7. Get Comfortable with the Phone
We get it. In a time when text and email is the preferred communication method, jumping on a call is typically the last resort. Well, working remotely changes things. To resolve urgent issues, calling the person(s) directly can quickly address the concern, while sidestepping any reason for misinterpretation. Pro-tip: it’s always a good practice to quickly respond to messages, email, phone calls and voicemails in a timely manner.
8. Stay Connected to Your Colleagues
A great company culture usually has something to do with the people you work with. Even if in-person communication is no longer an option, make time to check-in with your teammates throughout the day or week to discuss non-work-related topics. Sharing stories and keeping the company morale afloat through technology can help you feel more connected.
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