Remote working is a new way of work for the many. Given the current circumstances of COVID-19, it is the responsible and correct approach for businesses, where possible, to ask employees to work from home, but this sudden shift in work circumstance is not ideal.
There are many advantages to remote and flexible working, ranging from staff retention, increased company satisfaction and improved productivity. In fact, according to a survey by Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), 89% of employees considered flexible working to be a key motivator to their productivity.
However, ideally this change in work circumstance would be discussed, training would be provided and preparation would be required. This situation is a sudden change in mindset, routine and potentially productivity.
It is important to ensure you are adapting to this change as best as possible, taking steps and measures to ensure that this new normal is keeping individuals motivated and productive in a different environment.
For many, particularly those in socially interactive roles or companies, it can be mentally quite challenging, creating anxiety around this new dynamic. For companies and individuals, we have created a list of tips on how to stay productive when remote working.
What is the most important element of remote working?
Technology! Staying connected is key, it allows for communication, effective management and social interactions with your teams. There are many different tools that can be used during this time to ensure no matter where you are working, your business is still a team. We have created a blog on the technology we use here at Occupop that has helped us and other software's that are helping companies overcome potential remote working challenges. You can read this here.
Our tips on remote working productivity:
Tip 1: Get up and dressed for work
A pyjama day in theory is great but it can affect your self esteem and mental separation from work and sleep. Though we don’t suggest you need to dress in formal corporate wear, ensure you keep your existing work preparation routine and dress in clothes that you would be happy to go out in.
Tip 2: Have a proper workstation
Sitting on a couch or bed isn’t conducive to productivity. Setting up a proper workstation that you associate with work everyday is better for your work mindset. Though having a dedicated office space is the best case scenario, it is not a practical reality for all so make sure wherever you choose is well ventilated, bright and you use a chair with appropriate back support.
Tip 3: Stick to your regular working hours
It’s easy when you are working from home to alter your hours or lose track of time. Stick to the same business hours or at least to the same number of hours you would normally work, should you have a requirement to change hours because of childcare etc.
Tip 4: Keep a task tracker
Focusing on daily and weekly tasks is essential to ensure you are sticking to a routine and staying motivated. It is important to include breaks and personal tasks within this task tracker. How you create this list is up to you but there are a number of platforms that can log all tasks and track achievements or completion, but a notepad and pen is always very effective. Ensure you keep it beside your workstation and tick off the tasks as you go.
Tip 5: Start your day with a team or manager meeting
Ideally using video conferencing, a team or manager meeting is excellent for focus and remote working productivity as you can run through your task tracker and ensure all priorities are being met for the day. It also is essential to have this social interaction, keeping the team mentality and the sense of purpose clear.
Tip 6: Have clear lines of communication
Though it is highly recommended you keep in regular contact with your team, there has to be a limit on the level of communication versus work tasks. Set up formats and channels for communication i.e. email for documents or longer task emails, Google Hangouts for team meetings, Slack for urgent or quick communications and WhatsApp for personal communication.
Tip 7: Carry out a personal task during the day
This is important to break from the focus being solely on work. If possible, do a food shop, do exercise, read a book. Activities like this during the day will help you re-balance and come back to work more motivated.
Tip 8: Go outside as much as possible
You are suddenly out of a regular outdoor routine no matter where or how you worked before, you were outside at some point; your commute, going for lunch, going to meetings etc. Working from home means you could potentially have no outdoor time. Fresh air is absolutely vital for mental health, productivity and focus. Try to get in a walk before work or during the day. Go on a walk for phone meetings or eat your lunch outside. Make sure to schedule this outdoor time, and stick to it.
Tip 9: Stick to regular meals
It’s fair to assume a lot of people’s new working environments is in or very near the kitchen. Therefore, it can be easy to eat at irregular times or snack more throughout the day. Stick to meal routines, not for your waistline but preparing meals is a good way to break from work and stick to your usual schedule.
Tip 10: Don’t sit in silence
This is particularly relevant for those who have a lot of social interaction during the day. It can be lonely and deafening to the point of harmful when you suddenly switch to a completely quiet environment. Playing music can be distracting for some but music like Opera or instrumental music has been proven to help productivity. Podcasts are an alternative option. During the current climate, we wouldn’t suggest the news or COVID-19 related material as it causes more harm than good.
Tip 11: When work is over, put it away
As we said in the previous point, it's likely your workstation will be in a personal home space. You should remove your workstation from your personal home when you are finished for the day, do this by tidying away your work station each evening, and take it out of sight. This gives you the mental trigger that work is over and in the morning switches you back into work mode when you are setting up your station again.
Finally, stay hydrated, Coronavirus or not!
Share these tips with your teams and colleagues so there is a collective mentality about staying productive, happy and healthy during this time 🤗
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