With more people moving to remote work in the times of lockdown, a lot of employees and freelancers face the challenge of staying as productive out of the office as they were in. Here you’ll find a bunch of tips on how to increase productivity and stay focused on the conditions of remote work.
A recent Stanford University study has revealed that at least 10.0% of Americans are working from the comfort of their homes, and the proportion of the workforce that is working remotely from home all over the world keeps increasing. In fact, every year, the number of people working from home increases due to advancing technology. Nowadays, companies are assigning tasks to their employees away from the office due to coronavirus lockdown. When you decide to work remotely either because it is more convenient or due to unavoidable circumstances, you want to ensure that your work productivity remains at the peak. Here are some tips to ensure you are productive when working at home; they will be helpful for those who only start diving into this kind of workstyle.
Clearly Designate Workspace at Home
When you opt to work from home, you must designate a part of the house for the office. Identify the most productive area of your home as you need silence to concentrate on your work. Make sure it is away from other disturbances in the house, such as loud music or television. Ensure there is free circulation of air in your working spot.
It is an effective technique to train your brain to get used to working in one spot all the time. Maintaining a workstation will help you create a feeling that you are just working at your office, and it’s your business area. Try to get off the couch and sit on the chair to concentrate better on some serious work.
Plan Your Days First Thing in the Morning
Remote working requires commitment and self-discipline. You have to set a timetable and stick to it as much as possible. Plan your days when you wake up in the morning and ensure that everything you are going to do during the day is assigned enough time. Most people tend to mix leisure with work when they are at home, and this affects their deliverables and general productivity.
With a clear to-do list on your desktop or diary, you can avoid distractions that may come your way. You have a deadline to catch, and that means you must sit back and do constructive work to meet it. Start your day making such a list of tasks.
Install Cloud Storage and Backup
Working at home, you must ensure that you store all your data safely and away from cyber threats. Therefore, you need to subscribe to cloud services to backup and store information.
Of course, there are free cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google that you can use to store all your data. However, if you want reliable cloud storage with a broader range of options for your business, you put your choice on a premium service which will allow you to back up all the information you have stored on a hard drive in a secure server. It is essential because in a sad case if your desktop or laptop crashes, you can still retrieve and collect all the critical information for all tasks. Without cloud storage, working remotely from home can be productive but with much higher risks.
The benefits of using cloud storage:
- you don’t have to buy a hard disk to store all your files in one enclosure. It reduces the cost of buying such equipment for your remote work.
- cloud storage service ensures data redundancy to reduce the risk of data loss. They also provide geographic replication to make your data accessible in multiple places. Here is a list of the best cloud storage services for businesses.
- it meets all regulatory compliance by storing data in the same area where your data originates. For instance, if you live in Chicago, your files will be held in cloud servers in the US.
- cloud storage protects you from the effects of ransomware and malware that may destroy all the files in your computer or mobile device.
Automate Your Payment Process
To streamline your accounting and bookkeeping, you should automate your payment processes. There are several accounting software options available in the market that can help you to keep all your accounts in check. Freshbooks is such a tool that allows you to automate invoice reminders and payment collections. With a robust financial dashboard, you can keep an eye on all your financial transactions at any given period.
Using an accounting software will give you the time to concentrate on managing your business. The software can prepare your invoices, balance your sheets, and conduct checks to ensure accuracy.
When working remotely, you want to avoid any form of distractions that can affect your productivity. For instance, you should do the following:
- Switch off the TV.
- Avoid any loud music that may distract you.
- Play some background music if it helps you to concentrate on the work you are doing.
- Avoid visiting social media and other sites that may eat your working time. You can use apps like Self Control and Freedom to ensure you don’t go online when working.
Keep in Touch with Other Colleagues
When working remotely, you must ensure you are in easy contact with those you are working for. It is typical of many people to share their work with the supervisors, sit back, and wait for the next duty.
Admittedly, this should not be the case, especially if you are looking forward to building a personal relationship with your team or department.
Check-in with your colleagues and work supervisors to find out any upcoming duties and events that you could plan for in advance. Staying in the dark can compromise the quality of work you deliver.
If you have some work-from-home friends, you can take your time to learn something from them. Note that human interaction is critical to spice up your day and learn something new that you can implement in your remote working.
When You Finish Working, Log Off
There is life away from computers and the office. When you complete the day’s work, the best thing to do is log off from the system and shut down your computer. Just call it a day.
You can check your emails when you are about to retire to bed so that you plan your day early in the morning. Trust me. You are likely to drive yourself nuts if you keep checking your emails all the time.
Always leave your workspace and do something fresh like hanging out with your family or planting some flowers in the garden. Doing this will spice up your day and make you even more productive in the upcoming tasks.
If you are a work supervisor with a bunch of workers to watch, you should focus on ensuring they are more flexible. Some of your workers could be working at a friend’s home or in a nearby cyber café.
Working in a hostile environment is not suitable for productivity and flexibility. All your workers must have access to the tools they need to work and deliver on time. You can provide your staff with a laptop, internet connection, and some airtime to communicate with you in case there is a hitch up that they would like you to address.
Secure Your Connection
When working remotely from home, you are more likely to expose yourself to cybercrime. Ideally, most of us leave digital footprints whenever we access the internet to search for information.
Your Internet Service Provider can have access to your browsing history and share this information with other marketing companies. Before you find out, marketing companies will already be flooding your email inbox with promotional emails.
When working online, a virtual private network can secure your computer and prevent any internet privacy issues that may harm your identity. Here are some reasons why you’d better install the best VPN on your computer or mobile phone when working at home:
- It hides your Internet Protocol address from hackers and trackers, making you safe online.
- The best VPNs have malware protection plugins that will protect your desktop from any malware.
- It notifies you when the website you are visiting is insecure.
- A VPN speeds up your internet connection by escaping all the internet blockages that your ISP has enforced.
- It enables you to stay anonymous when browsing the internet. That means you can visit all blocked sites in your country without worrying about your internet privacy.
Take Care of Your Health
It may sound obvious, but many people don’t pay enough attention to this aspect. If you want to be productive when working remotely, then you just ensure you are in the best shape, both mentally and physically. For instance, you can have some massage after work or a work-out early in the morning to keep you fit.
Always get enough sleep if you don’t want to doze off on your laptop. After taking a shower, you still don’t want to put on your pajamas or sweatpants. Get some cool attire out of the wardrobe and put an official dress code. Eat enough food and a lot of fluid throughout the day to keep your brain functioning well.
Take a Break Between Tasks
In common office routine, we have a lunch break and some minutes off work to refresh our mind. It’s a good idea to imitate that when working remotely with limited supervision. You can split up your working hours in two or three and take at least a 30 minutes break before you can resume work. If you are going to work throughout the day, you won’t be productive because of boredom. Take some time away from the computer to relax your brain and stretch your body. You can take a walk outside the house and come back when you are ready for your next task.
Choose the Convenient Tools
To ensure you deliver quality work or keep your productivity in check, you must invest in proper tools. First, focus on getting comfortable equipment for your workstation. For instance, you should get a chair that allows you to flex your body and concentrate more on your work.
In case you are not comfortable with sitting down for long hours when working, you can get yourself a standing desk to reduce fatigue. Change between sitting and standing to boost your working speed and reduce the back pain.
Also, if you telecommute, you must ensure you have a reliable laptop. It should be able to perform the needed tasks and help you to communicate with your team. Investing in the right equipment for your remote working should be a top priority.
Improve Your Focus
Apart from removing distractions such as the radio and disturbing pets close to your workstation, there are other things that you can do to remain focused on your work. Here is a list of things that help most people telecommute effectively:
- Bring some plants into your working space. Plants will regulate the air quality by absorbing all the toxins in the air.
- Prepare a favorite playlist that will help you concentrate when working.
- Make your workspace comfortable.
- Have everything you need ready on your desktop to avoid wasting time looking for things.
- Open the window to get enough light and fresh air in the house.
Working remotely has many advantages but it also requires commitment. You have to stick to your schedule and avoid all distractions that will stop you from the timely delivery of tasks. In this post, I have explained in detail some tips that you can practice now to ensure your remote working is always productive.
About the author: Joydeep Bhattacharya is the author of the SEO Sandwitch Blog, where he shares tutorials on digital marketing. He is also a contributing author on SEMrush, Search Engine Watch, Single Grain, and others.
Title image from Moose Photo Stock
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