6 Tips to be Effective at Working Remotely
Remote work is a major workplace trend. The freedom to work from your home, a coffee shop or a beach chair appeals to many workers. Unfortunately, many individuals also struggle to keep a work/life balance and remain productive while on the clock. Whether you’re just getting started as a remote worker or you’re a seasoned pro, your productivity will flourish with these six tips for working remotely.
Jump to Section:
What is Remote Work?↴
Advantages of Working Remotely↴
1. Over-Communicate With Your Team and Clients↴
2. Reduce Distractions↴
3. Leverage Your Peak Hours↴
4. Find the Ideal Workspace↴
5. Remember to Take Breaks↴
6. Spend Time Outdoors↴
What Is Remote Work?
Remote work is a work arrangement that allows you to work outside the office. It’s typically found in the tech industry or other computer-based or phone-based jobs.
While all remote workers have the freedom to work outside the office, there are many other features that might be part of a remote work setup. For example, some employers require you to still maintain a home office and be ready for video calls with professional attire and a quiet, professional environment. Many other remote workers enjoy complete liberty in terms of dress code and location. Many remote work contracts offer more freedom in scheduling. This isn’t always the case, but many employers recognize that workers should be able to work where they want and when they want.
Advantages of Working Remotely
Freedom in the workplace is a beautiful thing. Remote workers can often plan a vacation where they work from a new city or resort and enjoy every evening on the beach or in a new environment. Other remote workers enjoy extra time with their family since they’ve ditched their commute. Here are a few common advantages of a remote work setup:
- Improved productivity
- Increased wellbeing
- Greater flexibility in scheduling
- Reduced transportation costs
- Diverse work environments
A Stanford study of Chinese remote workers found that, over a two-year period, average productivity increased by 13%. This is good news for both employees and employers. If you don’t have fixed hours, this means that you can work less and still enjoy the same paycheck. For fixed-hour or salaried employees, you can outperform the in-house competition and negotiate for a raise based on your improved performance.
Of course, there are some downsides to working remotely. Some remote workers struggle with the isolation, distractions or too much freedom when it comes to work/life balance. Use these six tips to effectively manage your time and make the remote work life work for you.
1. Over-Communicate With Your Team and Clients
If you talk to any remote worker or employee, they’ll probably tell you that communication is key. Not only do you need to have clear communication with your boss and your team, you also need to communicate clearly with any clients you may be in contact with.
Thankfully, there are many great communication tools to gather your team together and collaborate remotely. Use both asynchronous and synchronous communication strategies to work effectively, and think about any follow-up questions and try to answer them in your original message.
2. Reduce Distractions
Music may help you focus on your work, but streaming your favorite TV show or catching up with your friends while attempting to work is probably not going to produce your best work. Find a way to filter out the background noise and reduce distractions while working.
3. Leverage Your Peak Hours
Everyone has an ideal schedule. Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are certain times when you are incredibly productive and others when your work slows to a crawl. This is natural, so do your best to take advantage of your own work pace rather than fight against it. As long as your employer offers a flexible work schedule, experiment with a schedule that works best for your brain. Don’t be afraid to take a two-hour break in the afternoon to recharge and put in a few extra hours in the evening.
4. Find the Ideal Workspace
Your couch isn’t the best work-at-home office. Take the time to set up a distinct office environment and keep it separate. It’s easy to blend your work, play and family time together when you work from home, but this blurring of lines can lead to burn out and reduce the quality of your work.
Ideally, you should have two or more work spaces to keep things fresh. When your desk just isn’t sparking the creativity you need, switch to a standing desk, outdoor workspace or your favorite, quiet coffee shop. Be flexible with your work environment to keep yourself working at full efficiency.
5. Remember to Take Breaks
Employers have 15 minute breaks for a reason. When you first start working remotely, it can be tempting to try to plow through all your work as fast as possible. You may feel like you’re being a hero skipping your breaks and even your lunch break, but you may be hurting your productivity.
Think about working efficiently rather than maximizing hours. If you’re on a flexible schedule, take a 10, 15 or even 30 minute break when you need it. Be sure you still clock in all your time, but use breaks effectively to give your brain a break and refresh yourself for another intense session on the clock.
6. Spend Time Outdoors
Whatever you do, be sure you get outside. There are three important reasons to get outside of your home or typical work environment:
- Build a community
- Enjoy fresh air
- Change your scenery
You wouldn’t feel fulfilled if you lived, ate and slept at your office, so why should you feel that way by staying at home? Take your weekends and evenings seriously and find ways to get out of your home and connect with a group of friends. Whether you meet up with your old buddies for dinner, join a gym or find another community group to join, use your free time for meaningful social time.
Fresh air and sunlight are important for your overall health. Whether it’s the middle of winter or a beautiful summer day, go outdoors as often as you can to improve your overall wellbeing and feel refreshed.
Even the most spacious home can start to feel confining if you never leave. If you have a busy remote work position, it’s easy to let days slip by without leaving your home. Changing your environment is not only good for your social life and your health, it’s also an important way to help your brain recharge and prepare for another productive work day.
Find remote work in your field
The benefits of remote work are clear and by following the tips above you’ll crush the first day at your new job. Start your remote job search today.