Top 5 Tips for Improving Your Remote Productivity
Thanks to a huge volume of studies on the subject, releasing employees to work from home is becoming one of the fastest growing trends in the western business world. With 91% of employees feeling more productive themselves when working remotely, it’s easy to see why it’s catching on from the bottom up.
From the top down it’s a similar picture, in one such study completed by Nicholas Bloom on a 16,000 employee business, they saw that those working from home saw a 13% productivity increase, of which 9% was from working more minutes per shift (with fewer breaks and sick days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter working environment). In the process, the company saved almost £1500 per employee on office space, attrition decreased by 50% and carbon emissions from the companies environmental footprint dropped substantially.
So with all the research pointing in the remote direction, what can you, as an employee, do to make working from home work for you? We’ve worked up our top 5 tips for remote working success and packed them all into this post here…
1. Find your most productive time of day
When possible and in-line with the organisation you work for, assess whether you’re a morning person, a night owl, or somewhere in between the two. Everyone lives with a circadian rhythm, causing wake and sleep in a mostly non-nocturnal pattern, but everyone also fits into one of the three productivity slots. You’ll probably know which one you are already, but it pays to implement this in your work life too – you’re productivity, focus and execution will improve as a result.
If you’re a morning person, starting your work at 12 noon and working into late into the night (late for the author of this post is 8pm, as a guide!) is not going to produce great work day in, day out. In fact, working on a schedule which is completely against your biological clock will cause a decrease in productivity, efficiency and execution. For a morning person, starting work at 6am and finishing in the early afternoon would be ideal. The best work will be done in your best hours.
2. Eat the frog
It’s not a new concept, but it’s still pretty effective when it comes to productivity. Getting the biggest, hardest, most important task of the day out of the way as soon as you sit down to work will make everything else in your day seem like a doddle, and you’ll leave the home-office feeling satisfied and accomplished, regardless of the other tasks you have or have not completed during the day.
We suggest creating a to-do list every evening when you leave the “office” and identifying which task (or group of) is the “frog”. Do that task as soon as you commence work the next day and repeat this pattern on a daily basis for at least a month to turn it into a habitual routine.
3. Dress for the office
It’s a simple idea really, dress as though you’re heading to the office, even if you aren’t going to leave the house. The psychological association with dressing for work gets your brain in gear to actually do work.
If you struggle to do this and opt for your PJ’s more than your work shirt, try to schedule in at least one in-person meeting or video conference call per day. Ensure they are, where possible, batched together towards the start or end of your work day to improve time management.
4. Create your workspace
Arguably the most essential of the tips here today, creating a workspace which works for you is key to unlocking productivity and efficiency. Ideally, your workspace should be quiet and free of other distractions. If you work well with music, ensure you have a good set of speakers and some pre-made playlists ready to go every day so that you can just set up and go.
Similarly, ensure your home office has a good chair and a desk suited to your height and posture – you’ll thank yourself for choosing a quality office chair and desk after you’ve spent a few weeks sitting in it all day, every day.
We suggest, if at all possible, using a room that isn’t one you’d relax in after work has finished. This creates separation between work and life, increasing your ability to switch on and off based on the environment you are in at the time.
5. Keep social
It can be incredibly isolating to work from home and it does start to wear you down if you don’t prepare well for it, so ensure you schedule both work and non-work related face-to-face interactions on the majority of days every week. This includes weekends too. Ideally, 4 or 5 days out of 7 should see you interact face to face with people other than your immediate family, neighbours and local postal service.
If you are finding remote working difficult due to isolation, consider working for one or two days a week in a co-working space. We’re sure that you’ll appreciate the morning greetings and events that a coworking space can bring if you try it for a day or two a week for a few months at a time.
So there you have it, our top 5 tips for remote working success. Have any you think we should add here? Let us know!
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