Working remotely is becoming an increasingly popular choice. It not only allows for flexibility and comfort for the employee, but it has been shown to increase engagement, productivity, retain talented staff, eliminate some overhead costs and decrease a company’s carbon footprint.
Gallup, a global analytics firm that uses employee data to help companies evolve and mitigate issues, list the aforementioned benefits and more here.
Benefits aside, those who are new to working remotely may face a few challenges adjusting to a working environment they aren’t used to. Here are a few tips that Silo’s remote employees have found helped them stay productive.
Pick the right schedule
Figure out what time of day works best for you. If you’re most productive in the morning, you could start your day early. This is especially true if your kids get home at a certain time, it may help you avoid distractions if you work from 7 am to 3 pm rather than a regular 9 to 5.
If you’re not someone who has to work around family members, it may help you be more productive if you keep the same office hours as your colleagues that work on-site. That way, you know you’ll be available to reply quickly when your fellow employees need your assistance.
“Working the same hours can help the rest of the team get to know you, and can help everyone work together more efficiently,” Emily Price, author of “Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Accomplish More at Work — That Actually Work!” told NBC News in their article “Here’s how to stay productive — and connected — when you work from home.”
Picking a schedule that works for you and sticking to it will help you make sure you keep work time for work and leisure time for leisure. Getting the two confused can not only decrease productivity but, if you tend to overwork, it can leave you burnt out.
In their article, NBC spoke with Jono Bacon, author of “The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation” who said, “if you need to check-in on an evening, or if a work emergency crops up, tend to it, but focus [on using down time] for you, your family and your hobbies.”
Set up a space for working
One great way of separating your “work brain” from your “leisure brain” is by getting up and performing your morning routine the way you would before heading into the office. There is definitely a draw to working in your pyjamas, but you’ll be more productive if you get dressed as if you were heading into work.
Next, you want to make sure you have a space that’s designated for working. You don’t have to have a fancy home office, just somewhere with few distractions. For example, set up space at your dining room table with your computer, notebook, pens and anything else you might need.
“For employees with limited space in their household, even something as simple as a folding table and chair can make a world of difference in avoiding the lure of working in bed,” Tara Lopez, Benefits Manager at Konnect Agency told NBC.
If you want to go a step further, spruce up the space with a plant and make sure you’ve got plenty of natural light.
Just as you prepared to go to work in the morning, it can also help to have a routine to help you transition out of work. It might help to pack up your desk and change into a new outfit that suits whatever your next activity might be.
Remote global business consultant and author, Phil La Duke describes his routine to NBC saying, “When I stop working, I clear my desk, turn off my computer and ‘go home’ by changing my clothes and leaving the office for the evening.”
Moderate your remote work and stay connected
Gallup’s research says that employees who spend 60% – 80% of their time working remotely have the optimal level of engagement with their work.
Spending some time per week working on-site allows the remote worker to stay connected to their co-workers, managers and company.
Working from home can be isolating, so it’s important to stay connected. If you don’t have the option of going into the office a couple of times a week, opt for a phone call or video conference instead of an email when asking for assistance from a colleague. If you have a more complex idea to explain, a phone call will also help you avoid miscommunication.
“If you’re sending tons of emails, it’s almost a reflection that you’re not getting your point across. People may take you the wrong way or get confused,” Dan Schawbel, author of “Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation” told NBC.
When it comes to calling managers, just like you would for an on-site meeting, make sure to set up time in advance to ensure your manager will be free to speak with you.
Stay involved with your company any way you can. Try responding reply all to companywide emails with your opinion or your gratitude!
If you don’t have the option of spending some time at the office and are craving some human interaction, try joining a co-working space or working in a local coffee shop.
Matt Wilson of Under30Experiences.com told Forbes that he encourages people to explore, “Rotate your workspace, find new coffee shops, try day-passes at multiple co-working spaces and explore your city,” he said. Read their article here for more great teleworking tips!
Celebrate your small accomplishments
Working remotely, you might not get the recognition that you normally received seeing your coworkers and managers face-to-face every day. It’s more important than ever to cheer yourself on, even for the little things.
Make a to-do list so that when you complete a task you can scratch it off the list! If you’re particularly proud of something you’ve accomplished, tell a friend about it.
Your manager will always be happy to share your successes with you. If you’re seeing particularly good numbers this month or a customer said something nice about your company or your efforts, share the news with your manager or your team!