How to improve productivity as a remote worker

Given the developments in tech, a growing number of employees and business owners have been working from home. Amid the recent COVID-19 outbreak, more are following suit. But how can you stay productive working from home?

Although research indicates the reality of improved productivity as a remote worker, there are more to this than meets the eye. 

We can not deny the awesome positives that come with the flexibility to work such as remote locations of choice, flexible work hours and of course less time commuting. The freedom that comes with remote work contributes to improved productivity for those working remotely as a beginner. 

However, with time a new challenge arises, it is the battle to stay productive. This stems from several factors such as working beyond work hours, the blurred demarcation between work and personal time, etc. 

Let’s get on some tips that can get you into being a productive remote worker.

1. Have a unique workspace

This can not be overemphasized, but having a consistent workplace has many effects on the quality of work you generate, the state of your body and your mental health. First of, how comfortable is your workspace? Does your body hurt after a few hours of work? Because if it does you’d be spending time concentrating on bearing or soothing the aches rather than working.

Secondly, having to use different workspaces all the time, can affect your work style. This even adds to the stress and a need to stay away from work (absenteeism). With this noted, pick a unique workspace that also enables you to switch easily from work to home mode. 

2. Stay loyal to your fixed schedule

But why? It is simple. Knowing that you have a fixed time to take a break or get on other engagements, forces you to focus on completing a task. In doing so, you get much done (productive right?) and then take that break. Hence, having set working hours in undebatable if being a productive remote worker is something you really want.

3. Be deliberate about being organized and tidy

Here, we are not just referring to keeping junks out of your workspace, that too is important. But, how neat are your calendar, planner or even scheduling tool? Having a clogged up planner or schedule easily puts you in a mental state of avoiding work or building stress on too much work to get done (panic mode). For most remote workers this tidy habit should extend to the email. How often and when do you sort and clean up your emails?

Having a clean workspace and tidy organizer, keep the mind tidy and energized for a work mode.

4. Get out and meet familiar faces

This does a lot for your mind. Remote working comes with some set level of lonesomeness, which affects our mind when dwelling on too much. The antidote, however, is going out to interact with others. As earlier highlighted, when setting your schedule, set a time block to hang out with friends and family, learn something new. Do this and watch your creative mind stay alive, it also a must in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and avoid burn out. Burn out affects your level of productivity.

5. Keep the communication bridge strong 

Working remotely has a different side to collaborations during brainstorming and more, with your team. However, building a strong communication line to make up, will build your efficiency with work. In communicating daily with your colleagues and manager, you cull assumptions, work with clarity and take initiatives where necessary.

This effort builds trust with your colleagues and managers. Working within such practice of communication and trust allows for a free hand on creativity and productivity.

6. Make others understand how you work

Starting out as a remote worker can be puzzling for your friends and family. The workstyle might be new to them, especially when they see you all day just sitting on your pc. To them, that means you are free to run errands and hang out. You have the responsibility of making them understand your schedule (working hours and break) and sticking with it completely (remember the importance of work-life balance). This is how you set boundaries they will respect.

7. Be accountable for your time and plan

In planning and scheduling your time, it might seem that setting fixed time doesn’t work for you. This comes especially when you have childcare responsibility. Using a time tracker you can find out which task you spend time on the most. Can you outsource that task out? Or improve on a better way to get it done? Then do it. This helps you stay focused on the really salient tasks. The key is balance and prioritizations. 

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