If you’re here, it’s probably because you want to improve something in regards to your remote work.
You're probably thinking, wait, aren't people supposed to be more productive during remote work? So what are the studies saying?
Isn't performance shooting through the roof while working remotely? Aren't people saying they're doing more work in less time? Weren't their reports of people spending less time avoiding work during the pandemic?
Yes, yes, and yes.
So what's the deal? Why are we talking about remote work productivity? The answer is simple: working from home comes with problems that can lead to decreased performance.
But don't worry, we're here to help.
This article will share some tips for remote work to boost your personal (and your team's) performance levels.
Reevaluating Performance in a Remote Work Environment
First, let's take a step back and look at performance.
Performance is often measured by the quality of output per workday. In other words, how much quality work are you getting done in a workday?
But working from home doesn't always lend itself to this type of measurement.
For example, if you're a parent working from home, you might have to take a few minutes here and there to take care of your child. Or, if you're working from home with a pet, you might have to take a break to let them out or give them a snack.
These are perfectly normal things that happen when working from home. And they don't make you any less productive.
It's important to remember that performance is relative. What matters most is that you're getting work done and meeting deadlines.
15 Tips for Remote Work Performance
Yes, we've prepared 15 tips to help you boost your remote work productivity. In an effort not to overwhelm you, we've split the tips into the following three sections:
- Work Environment
- Remote Work Routine
- Team Communication/Connectivity
All three sections are pretty self-explanatory. But, so as not to waste any more of your time, let's dive right into the first of the three sections.
1. Make Sure the Desk Is Set Up Correctly
That might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people don't have their desks set up correctly.
If you're spending hours sitting at your desk, it's essential to make sure it's set up comfortably and ergonomically.
Start by making sure your chair is at the right height. Your feet should be flat on the ground, and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
If you can't adjust your chair, try using a footrest.
2. Keep Your Online Workspace De-cluttered
A cluttered workspace can be a major distraction and a huge time-waster. For example, team members spend at least 2 hours a week looking for documents in various parts of their desktop and across variety of apps.
So it's important to keep your virtual workspace clean and organised to focus on your work. Take a few minutes to define a good document structure where your most accessed documents can be found easily. You'll be surprised how much it helps with your performance.
3. Set Boundaries with Family and Friends
If you have family or friends who live with you, setting boundaries is important. For example, let them know when you're working and not and your preferred style. If you go to the kitchen to grab a coffee, it’s fair game. However if you’ve got your headphones on or music playing on your computer, they should not bother you.
It's also a good idea to set up a dedicated workspace since it will help create a physical separation between work and home life.
4. Plan Extra Social Interactions
Working from home can be lonely. But, according to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, remote team members spend roughly 5 hours a week in solitude compared to your average office goer.
To combat this, make sure to schedule extra social interactions for your week.
How can you do this? Extra social interactions can be anything from coffee dates to happy hours with colleagues. The important thing is to make time for socialising.
5. Nix All Browsers/Apps During Work Hours
Are you always looking at your phone? Do you find yourself checking your social media and news sites? If you're like anything like the rest of us - who spend nearly 5 hours a day doing it - you probably do.
We have a solution: uninstall all browsers and apps from your phone during work hours. If you can't do that, at least put them where you can't see them. Out of sight, out of mind. If you’ve got an iPhone, you can also create a work focus profiles which blocks certain apps and notifications during working hours.
Remote Work Routine
6. Keep Your Regular Work Hours
One of the benefits of working from home is having more control over your schedule. But that doesn't mean you should start working at odd hours.
It's important to keep a regular work schedule as much as possible. That means getting up for work and taking breaks at the same time each day. After all, we are habit creatures and having such routines will free up more mental energy to dedicate on what matters. For example, Obama wears exactly the same combination of suits daily, reducing the amount of mental energy spent on clothing, allowing him to spend more energy on other topics.
7. Manage Notifications to Prevent Distractions
Speaking of breaks, you don't want to take too many unplanned breaks throughout the day. That's why it's important to manage your notifications so you're not constantly being interrupted.
Set aside time for checking and responding to emails and social media messages. And when you're focused on work, turn off all notifications to stay focused. If you’ve got an iPhone, you can also create a work focus profiles which blocks certain apps and notifications during working hours.
8. Make Use of Your Peak Performance Time
We all have times of the day when we're more productive than others. For some people, the hours between 8 AM and 12 PM are best for performance. For others, it's late at night.
Figure out when you're most productive, and use that time for deep work. That means no distractions and no multitasking; instead, focus on one to three tasks and get them done.
9. Gamify the Work Process
One way to make work more fun is to gamify the process. That means setting goals and rewarding yourself when you reach them.
For example, you could give yourself a point for every task you complete. Once you reach a certain number of points, you can take a break or treat yourself to something special. Breaking down tasks in smaller items and having a checklist also helps you see that you are making progress.
10. Develop an End-Day Routine
Just as it's important to start your workday, it's also important to have an end-day routine.
That can help you transition from work mode to home mode. It can be something as simple as taking a few minutes to review your day or going for a walk around the block. Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work has a few propositions regarding a shutdown routine.
11. Show Up to Effective Virtual Meetings
If you're working remotely, there's a good chance you'll be attending some virtual meetings. It's important to show up to these meetings on time and prepared.
That means having all the necessary materials and being ready to take part in the discussion. It also means dressing appropriately for the meeting (no pajamas where the camera can see!).
12. Get Some Face Time
In addition to virtual meetings, make sure to get some face time with your colleagues. That can be achieved through video conferencing or simply by meeting up in person if possible.
Face-to-face interactions are important for building relationships and trust. They can also help with communication and collaboration.
13. Over-Communicate Everything
When you're working remotely, it's important to over-communicate everything. Unfortunately, that means sending more emails and messages than you think you need to.
It might seem like you're being annoying, but it's better to err on the side of too much communication than too little.
14. Learn About Asynchronous Communication
Not all communication needs to happen in real time. Asynchronous communication is a way of communicating that doesn't require both parties to be available at the same time.
You can do that through email, messaging apps, or even video conferencing (if one person is happy to listen while the other talks).
15. Socialize With Colleagues
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you can't socialize with your colleagues. It's important to make an effort to socialize. That can be done through virtual happy hours, video games, chatting during breaks, or by introducing some fun team meeting topics.
Sure, socializing is tougher when you're far away from your colleagues. That's why tools like Kosy can be so useful. Kosy successfully simulates the office environment and allows you to connect with colleagues while enjoying the benefits of remote work.
There you have it! Fifteen tips for remote work performance. By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success.
Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Experiment and find what works best for you. If you're looking for a virtual office to help you be productive and stay connected, check out Kosy.
With Kosy, you can have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the flexibility of working from home while still feeling like you're a part of a community.
Kosy offers a variety of features, including video conferencing, messaging, and task management. Plus, it's free to sign up! So why not give it a try?