Maintaining productivity when working remotely

The recent years have been privy to the rise of the remote economy.  From individual freelancers and small teams to over a hundred Australian companies with internal remote work policies, remote working has become a viable model for the vast majority of industries. Especially at this point and time where for many people it's become a necessity. While this affords workers more opportunities for work-life balance, working at home or out-of-office comes with its own challenges. Devoid of the physical presence of a supervisor, it can be all too easy for productivity to drop, a challenge that's faced by lone remote workers everywhere. As a remote worker, how can you avoid procrastinating and falling into the pit of unproductivity?

Avoid Distractions

The key to making a long-term living in the remote economy is to stay focused on your current task at hand. Without someone to physically check on your progress, it falls on you to ensure that you're putting in the necessary hours each day. Your smartphone is one of the biggest obstacles. This is why Verizon Connect marketing manager Taylor Fasulas advises switching to airplane mode on your phone in order to banish distracting notifications, adding how studies have found that most people need at least 23 minutes to get back on track after being distracted. Apart from your phone and its notifications, everything else that has nothing to do with your work should be banished from sight. Those 23 minutes could easily add up to hours’ worth of onscreen procrastination. For those of us who need our phone to work and operate, there are an abundance of applications that help block the distracting apps such as social media and games. It's also good to work away from other electronics like your TV. 

Have a Dedicated Workspace

Whether it's an entire room in your house or a desk by the window, you need to set boundaries and have a dedicated workspace at home. From where you're sitting (or standing if you prefer standing desks), most of the things you need to complete (work tasks) should be within reach. This space shouldn’t contain anything that can potentially distract you from your tasks. Unless you need your phone to work, keep and charge it away from this dedicated workspace.

Creating and Sticking to an Action Plan

In a previous Peoplebank post on self-motivation, we touched on the importance of planning your goals in order to avoid procrastination. If you don't know where to start, sitting down and planning out your tasks from the most to the least urgent can provide you direction. By having a realistic purview of your most urgent tasks, you'll have a better sense of how much time you really have on your hands. Not only can this help you avoid procrastinating, it also sets the foundation for developing more long-term strategies that can help you achieve your goals as a remote worker.

Work Socially

One of the biggest advantages of office work over remote work is the inherently social nature of the physical office. Healthy social dynamics can improve your mood and allow you to think more creatively. This is why Evernote’s Jessi Craige reminds remote workers that they're not alone. Whether it's chatting with teammates over Slack or Teams, or setting time aside for video conferences and catchups, there are many ways to keep remote working social. Apart from discussions that can improve your mood, creativity, and productivity, this also opens doors for collaborative opportunities.

If you're looking for some more help when working from home, we also have a blog about what not to do when working remotely, and a blog about working efficiently at home.

Article written for the exclusive use of
By Julia Clarice

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