As technology continues to develop and digital work grows in popularity among employees, remote work policies are becoming increasingly widespread. Today, more than 10% of the U.S. workforce works remotely. This trend is proving not only to be popular among employees, but an asset to businesses regardless of industry.
According to this study as explained by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom, 500 employees were split between working from home and working in the office, and those who worked from home were actually found to be more productive.
With those numbers in mind, we thought it would be helpful to provider four tips for making the most of your work day when working remotely.
Tip #1: Designated Workspace
One of the major benefits of working remotely is the ability to work from the comfort of your own home. However, with potential distractions (family and personal errands just to name a few), time waste can set in. To avoid this, set up a home office with a specially designated workspace. Keep in mind your daily tasks and create an environment that will make you feel the most productive during your workday. A few essentials to achieving optimal productivity might include:
- An organized desk with easily accessible tools and technology
- A supportive chair to support workflow and ergonomics
- A well-connected WiFi with strong Internet and email capability
Remember, your desk is a workstation, not a storage facility, so stay clear of over-accessorizing, keeping only the work items you use every day. Adding to this, make sure you have a dedicated space to funnel items that you haven’t decided whether to keep or discard. This will help you avoid cluttering your workspace.
Tip #2: Set Schedule
With no commute and prep time needed, working remote allows you to start and end work on your preferred schedule. Taking advantage of flexible hours is a great benefit for remote workers, but use this sparingly as you’re still expected to be working traditional business hours. It’s important to develop your daily work schedule and maintain that Monday through Friday, as if you were in the office. When you sit down at your workstation you need to fully shift gears from home mode to work mode.
Many remote workers have claimed that working from home means less distractions such as time wasted chatting at the company water cooler. The downside? This can lead to spending longer hours at the desk. To help prevent muscle fatigue, allow yourself time to take stretch breaks and lunch to help you stay fresh throughout your day. The same goes for when you’re feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, or struggling to keep focused. Taking a moment of silence can help you recharge and regroup for the tasks ahead.
Once you have a grasp on what your work schedule looks like, be clear with others about it. Oftentimes, friends and family without experience in remote work misunderstand the process and may assume you have unlimited availability. Be firm about adhering to your schedule and remind people you’re still held to the same responsibilities as office workers.
Tip #3: Communicate & Collaborate
Working from home can be lonely so it’s important to keep yourself connected to others throughout the day. Staying active on your company's communication channels shows you’re engaged and allows for more opportunities to brainstorm and collaborate with colleagues as you would in an office. Try opting for video conferencing rather than just calling in to meetings. This forces you to truly engage and gives you a chance to connect with your coworkers.
Occasionally, switching up your environment can also help from falling into a creative rut. If being around other people with a little bit of background noise feels like a more productive setting, consider purchasing a membership at a local co-working space.
Tip #4: Staying Focused
Working remotely takes some getting used to and there are dozens of potential distractions to impede your focus. Create a work environment to help you stay on track. This might include proper lighting, temperature control, comfort at the desk, and deciding on silence or background noise. A few other considerations to help you stay in rhythm include:
- Remove the temptation for personal social media and online surfing by utilizing an app to block certain sites for a limited amount of time.
- Turn the TV off and try soft music if you can’t work in quiet. Spotify has some great pre-assembled productivity playlists.
- Put your mobile phone away and refrain from personal texting until break times.
There’s no question about it, remote work continues to grow, especially with the advancements in mobile technology. There are many benefits to this workforce policy, but it’s important to remember what a good employee looks like no matter where they’re seated. Emulating these effective work traits whether you’re in the office, a coffee shop, or in your own home, is crucial to making the most of your remote work and frankly your professional career.
Maddie Davis, Cofounder/Editor at Enlightened Digital.
Maddie Davis is a tech-obsessed writer from the Big Apple. Her work for Enlightened-Digital has allowed her to explore a diverse range of topics spanning from the latest developments in cryptocurrency to the ethical implications of a social media society. She's always on the lookout for the next trending topic or must-have gadget.