Remote work or at least hybrid work is here to stay from what we can currently tell. There have been challenges to getting where we are now from the employer’s perspective. For example, employers have had to contend with cybersecurity issues related to remote work.
Employers have had to rethink how they manage and communicate with employees and cultivate a certain culture. Many employers have solved the more rudimentary challenges and see the real benefits of having employees continue to work from home or remotely at least some of the time.
From your perspective as an employee, maybe it’s time you get serious about looking at remote work as your long-term situation. You may be embracing some aspects while still trying to figure others out.
One of the significant challenges from the employer’s point of view when working remotely is managing your productivity. For some people, remote work helps facilitate more productivity because they don’t have the distractions of the in-person office. It’s harder for other people to stay on track when you can work from anywhere.
Regardless of how you feel about being a remote worker, we can all use a little more productivity in our lives. The following things to know about being productive as someone who works remotely as we begin a new year.
When you’re working from home, communication is a challenge.
You may not want to over communicate, but at the same time, if you aren’t communicating enough, your boss isn’t going to have a sense of visibility over what you’re doing. You want to be visible to your boss for accountability to keep you on track so you aren’t passed over when new opportunities arise.
When someone tries to get in touch with you, if it’s during work hours, make sure you’re prompt in your response and let them know what to expect.
For example, if someone emails you checking in on the status of a task, respond relatively quickly and let them know when you expect it will be finished. This actually gives you a deadline to followup on, which is good to help you stay on track.
That doesn’t mean you need to be sending constant, unsolicited updates because that’s a productivity killer. Just respond as needed.
Have a Routine
The idea of having a routine when you work remotely can sound so simplistic, but it’s something you may be overlooking. Not having a routine will diminish your productivity and make you feel scattered.
When you wake up in the morning, start creating habits like you would if you drive to the office.
As you prepare for your day with a morning routine, you’re sending a signal to your brain that it’s time to get started.
Consider Time Blocking
Too often, we associate productivity with multi-tasking. Research shows that multi-tasking can make it harder to get to what you need to accomplish in a day.
Think about a particular approach to how you manage your time. Time blocking is an excellent option to consider.
Time blocking means you plan out your entire day in a specific way, and you give certain blocks of time for tasks and responsibilities.
When you block out your time, it can help you avoid wasting it and prevent others from stealing valuable time.
Single-tasking is critical to successful time blocking. You can be up to 80% more productive if you’re focusing on just one task at a time, rather than dividing your attention across multiple tasks all at once.
If you’re someone who likes to read the news or scroll social media, you can also include these activities in their own time blocks. Then, you’re less likely to spend time on them when you should be working because you know you’ve blocked out a space for them later.
When you’re time blocking, you’ll start with your highest level priorities first, and those are what will ultimately shape the structure of your entire day.
Make sure you remember to include free time and family time in your schedule. Put some buffers in between the tasks you need to do to switch gears and schedule breaks.
When you first start time blocking, give yourself more time than you even think you’ll need at first so that you get an idea of how much time you’ll need.
Use the Right Tools
Employers are paying a lot of attention to facilitating easier remote or hybrid work environments for their employees. As part of this, they’re using tools that promote cybersecurity and reduce the burden on employees of logging in and using multiple apps throughout the day.
In general, to be productive when you work remotely, you need to ensure you have the right tools at your disposal and that you’re taking full advantage of them.
If there’s an issue in this area, consider having a conversation with your boss about what can be done. Explain to them that you feel as if a lack of a tool or certain type of technology could impede your productivity.
If you’re trying to do everything or you feel like you have to be available constantly for your job, then you’re going to experience burnout. It’s better to set boundaries upfront. Let your boss and coworkers know when you’re available and when you aren’t.
Then, you can give your full attention to work during these times.
You may also need to create physical boundaries for your workspace. For example, you might want to create a workspace where everyone in your household knows not to go during certain hours. When you’re done with work for the day, you can leave that physical space and not return to it until it’s time to work again.
This creates physical and mental boundaries that can improve your productivity.