Chances are you or someone you know is working remotely, otherwise known as telecommuting. 70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week, says a 2018 study by Switzerland based service office provider, IWG. In another study, more than half of hiring managers agree that remote work among full-time permanent employees is becoming more common.
Working remotely has been a dream come true for me. I’m less stressed, more productive and I spend less money on coffees, petrol and work clothes that don’t fit my aesthetic. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. If you working remotely and want to enhance your work-style, keep reading for my favourite tips:
1. Get familiar with online project/team management tools
Know your Zoom from your Skype? Your Slack from your Trello? And when I say Asana, I don’t mean a yoga pose! The boom in remote work and decline of the physical boardroom has paved the way for countless collaborative, cloud-based project/team management tools. Spending time finding out how your team like to keep track of projects and communicate will do wonders for comradery – there’s nothing worse than clogging someone’s inbox when they barely check it!
If you work alone, spend some time thinking about how you’d like to work and keep track of your projects. Moving your to-do list from a notepad to a digital platform will give you the freedom to work from anywhere and collaborate with ease. I promise, ticking off a job on a laptop is (almost) as satisfying as using a red pen!
2. Stick to a schedule of producing work that works for you and your team
No woman is an island and there’s no exception for remote workers. Even if you work for yourself, the work you produce impacts on someone else. So stick to a regular schedule of producing work that fits with your team/client and you.
3. Create a dedicated work space in your home
Some days you’ll want to work from the comfort of your bed (and if you’re in your luteal phase I don’t blame you!). However, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace so that you can separate your work from the rest of your life. This is imperative if you share your home with a significant other, ensuring your home isn’t overrun with notebooks and dongles. When you step into your workspace, you’ll feel like it’s time to get down to business.
4. Mix up your work environment
In saying that, make sure you flex your remote working perks! Take your work to your favourite café (ideally with free WiFi), coworking space or outdoors. A new environment might be what you need to break through that project you’ve been sitting on for a week.
5. Schedule regular breaks
Without the in-built routines of a traditional office, breaking regularly throughout the day can fall by the wayside. Work colleagues tend to break lunch together, or alternate breaks. It’s easy to keep working without these cues, so be sure to schedule in regular breaks. Aside from eating, take a quick walk outside, run an errand, stretch and rest your eyes from the screen.
6. Remove distractions for a set period
If you’re anything like me, the chance to indulge in a little distraction is always taken! This is amplified in a remote working space where there are no work colleagues to judge you for scrolling on your phone for what seems like an eternity (how did I end up on this cake-icing Instagram page anyway?!) So remove distractions where possible. I use AppBlock to block distracting apps from when I wake up until lunchtime and I clean first thing in the morning so I can’t use that as an excuse to procrastinate.
7. Turn your video on in meetings
Sometimes remote working can feel a little isolating. The urge to keep your video off during team meeting calls is hard to resist, especially if it’s 6am on Friday and you’re still in your pajamas, but I hope you’ll take this advice. Turn your video on – this will encourage more of your team to turn theirs on, keep you focused on the meeting and add a key element of communication back to your team – sight. While there’s nothing better than meeting in person, the next best thing is a Brady Bunch-style Zoom meeting.
Do you work remotely? What has your experience been like? What tips do you have for me? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.