According to ONS figures, over a third (37%) of the UK’s workforce spent some time working from home in 2020. Pre-pandemic in 2019, this figure was already significant at 27% of workers. With an increasing number of businesses now providing flexibility between in-office and remote work from home, how can employees manage their own productivity? We’ve rounded up our top eight tips for working remotely below.
Customise your home office.
You might be comfortable working from bed, but you won’t be productive. One of the cardinal rules of remote work is to draw a clear delineation between personal and professional time. Create a physical boundary by transforming a spare room into a home office, ideally with plenty of natural light and minimal distractions. Even if you’re space-limited at home, carving out a dedicated corner of the room for work helps put you in the right mindset. Invest in ergonomic furniture to improve posture and productivity.
Set home-work boundaries.
Along with creating physical boundaries, you’ll also need to work on relationship boundaries. Whether you live with friends, family members, or flatmates, discuss your expectations surrounding working from home. This could mean a blanket ‘do not disturb’ policy during working hours and a request for quiet time during the day.
Stick to a schedule.
One of the main benefits of working remotely is the ability to set your own hours, video calls permitting. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, create a schedule and stick to it. Psychologically, knowing what is expected during regular working hours helps put you in a more productive frame of mind.
Get active at breaktime.
It’s tempting to plough through your workday full steam ahead. Yet setting regular breaks helps eliminate fatigue and prevent burnout. Without the natural rhythms of office life, you’ll have to be more intentional in breaking up the working day. You can maximise these breaks by getting active outdoors, resetting your mind for a refreshed perspective once you re-enter the office. It’s too easy to fall into the sedentary trap when you’re working remotely. From yoga videos to lunchtime walks, find ways to move your body while reducing stress and giving energy a boost.
Find a way to switch off.
Additional benefits of working remotely include a more balanced work/home life, but many of us find ourselves answering emails long into the evening hours. When you feel like you’re being pulled in multiple directions you’re bound to be less productive. Create a unique routine that signals the end of your workday, whether it’s refreshing your to-do list for the morning or tidying up your workspace.
Keep the team connected.
One area where office life tends to hold the upper hand is in facilitating in-person discussion with colleagues. However, there are now numerous remote work tools to promote a connected workforce. Whether it’s via Zoom, Slack, or Google Teams, schedule regular check-ins to bounce ideas off one another and check in with the project progress. Keeping the lines of communication open with team management tools helps ensure colleagues remain motivated and on-task.
Make time to socialise.
You can also use remote work tools like those mentioned above to schedule fun, team-building activities to boost morale. Group lunches, virtual quizzes, and fitness challenges mimic the sociable side of office life even when working at home. Remote work can get lonely, which dampens ambition and morale. By taking the time to check in and have fun even at a distance, you’ll all return to the home desk feeling connected.
Use time management apps.
Some of us are naturally organised, and others – not so much. If you find it difficult to stay on top of your work tasks without in-person prodding, you might want to use remote working solutions like to-do lists and productivity apps. Tools like Google Drive keep files in one place for collaboration, while email clients keep your inbox in order. You can also use an online calendar to manage video calls and project deadlines.
Although you’re ultimately responsible for your own success, these remote working solutions can help keep you accountable.
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