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How to Be Productive When Working Remotely
“Employees may not have to work at office again,” said Susan Hayter, a Senior Technical Advisor on the Future of Work at ILO, during a recent interview with the UN News.
In the past months, remote working has proved to be the rescue tool for many businesses and families fighting to contain Covid-19, that companies are starting to consider the same working conditions for the post-pandemic period.
So as we gradually explore the continuity of remote working in our life, it’s important to discuss the best coping strategies for this change, besides the tools available to boost our productivity and other work-life balance tips.
Why working from home may affect our productivity?
- The working atmosphere isn’t there: You might not have the proper setting to run a productive workday. Inconvenient ergonomics and space can make it harder to stay focused for too long. Also if you are to take a break, moving from one room to another in the same space that is already your home might not provide the perfect boost to your productivity.
- Too many interruptions: The doorbell is ringing, and now your landline number. Then someone wants to grab something from the room you’re sitting in or maybe they stop to ask you some questions. If you’re a parent of young children, it’s still harder to explain to them that you’re unavailable while they see you at home.
- Less teamwork communication and social interaction: Water-cooler moments are probably the first thing one would miss when working from home. It has been proved that positive human interaction is an important aspect of teamwork collaboration and better performance results. However, working from home makes this communication strictly virtual and sometimes less effective over phone calls and emails.
What are some online tools to stay productive?
Fortunately, technology has been making significant contributions to the remote working system, that many tools have become available to facilitate and automize different aspects of our job tasks.
- Time Management Tools:
Productivity and time management are almost inseparable. With tools like Harvest, RescueTime, and Clockify, you are now able to track the time needed for every task so that you provide your manager with more accurate time estimations, keeping you working at ease and setting all expectations clear. These tools also enable you to study how your time is being spent in order to limit distractions and stay focused.
- Customer Relationship Management Tools:
For businesses that highly rely on customer relations to drive sales, tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zoho provide the perfect platform to manage the individual performance of team members and grow the company’s overall revenue. On the other side, team members are able to track their performance through a clear dashboard that displays all information needed in context besides other practical functionalities such as up-to-date notifications, live chat, meeting schedules, etc.
- Project Management Tools:
The power of tools like Trello, Asana, and Bitrix24 lies in the flexibility of organizing and prioritizing projects in one platform for everyone to see. Thanks to a variety of features, team members can delegate tasks, upload their to-do-list, update the status of their projects, and run team discussions for optimal collaboration and productivity. A mobile version of these apps is also available in order to allow for regular updates that are up-to-the-minute.
- Other Tools:
With a huge set of tools available online, you can seek support in the area that costs you the majority of your time and energy. For example, you can use Google Calendar to manage your meetings, or you can choose dictation software to write your emails by simply speaking them out. There are also apps that help manage your notes in text and multimedia formats so that your thoughts are always organized.
How to stay productive while working from home?
Productivity carries two approaches to it. One is the technical professional aspect relevant to all team members, as discussed above. Another is the psychological aspect which is more personal and customizable, as we discuss in the tips below:
- Have a little walk: As if you’re walking from the parking or the bus station to your office, moving around the house for 10 minutes can provide a good boost to your energy at the beginning of the day, putting you in a positive mood to start work.
- Start and finish on time: When working from home, people might be tempted to start work 30 minutes or 1 hour late, thinking that they will compensate for that by spending the same period of time after work. However, this might make a working day feel longer, causing you to feel less productive during the day and in need of more rest and me-time
- Make it a teamwork: Set yourself on a video call with your office colleagues while you work. This will allow for the communication you need for asking questions or passing on some important notes. It will also create a helpful pressure of “people are watching me. I can’t get off my chair as often as I like.”
- Fight social media temptations: If social media is a major distraction for you, try using Focus 45, an extension from Google Chrome that blocks browsing for 45 minutes to shut down all web distractions. However, if your work involves using social media, then you can use other extensions like News Feed Eradicator to block Facebook news feed and replace them with an inspirational quote.
- Personalize your workspace: Make sure to set up a convenient workspace, with your laptop or desktop properly connected to an electric supply and a good internet signal. Comfortable lighting and seating can add to the productivity of your setting. You can also personalize your desk with a plant, a sweet air humidifier or anything you think can bring a positive mood. Finally, make sure to have all the needed items and stationery at your reach in order to avoid getting off your chair as much as possible.
- Schedule regular breaks and rewards: Make your working day a fun one. Schedule a few regular breaks among your working hours in order to do something you really enjoy, like spending time with your dog or grabbing a delicious healthy snack. This will keep you motivated to work and get finished with your tasks, hassle-free.
Whether you are working from home because of Covid-19 or because you have always worked remotely, remember that this period is a great learning experience for you to understand yourself better: your motives and triggers and the challenges that push you to work at your best.