With the increase in the number of people affected by the coronavirus, several people and companies choose to work remotely (home office). In this article I want to share five tips for increasing productivity for remote work.
I don’t want to start a discussion about the need to keep people away from others in order to reduce the risk of contagion but working at a distance is something that requires infrastructure, coordination and a change in the habits of people and businesses.
Working from home and always being at ease (even in pajamas) within your family environment may seem like a dream for many workers. This is what I believed. I was one of these workers when I accepted my first remote job a year ago.
During this period, I’ve learned that this type of work is not suitable for everyone because it requires a lot of discipline and organization. Also, not everyone is productive in a remote environment that only requires having to talk to their co-workers by phone or Skype.
After all, what does it take for us to be as or more productive in a remote environment than inside a work office?
1 ) BE DISCIPLINED
The main characteristic of a remote worker is to maintain their discipline. Initially, it is important that the worker has access to a work environment at home that cannot be used for leisure or social moments. This will help to establish the boundaries between family and work environment.
Also, it is essential to set your working hours according to the work schedule of your core team. Normally, a remote worker also has other members of his team in remote environments who work at different time zones. Adjust your work routine to match the same work schedule as your team.
Finally, explain to your family that being at home does not make you available to do extra-business activities. Do not get distracted by family matters and negotiate with them to only interrupt you if it concerns important matters. In general, ask them not to make noise and respect your working hours.
2 ) FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION
Working from a distance requires a higher degree of communication than when we are physically close to other people. Actually, without being physically present, it is impossible to observe people’s body language when we communicate. Body language is very important to identify the small nuances in the acceptance or denial of our message.
When communicating, pay attention to the volume of the voice (if you are on a phone call) and be careful about the choice of words during written communication. You will not get a second chance to impress your interlocutor. Poorly written text or poorly placed sentences can ruin all your communication.
As much as possible, make retro-communication to confirm the understanding of your message to the other person (confirm receipt of emails, reading, etc.)
Attention to remote work meetings. Share the agenda in advance, define the participants correctly, and most importantly, set the goal and expected results from this meeting. Encourage the participation of all and send a summary of the main points addressed and pending actions after the meeting ends.
Finally, make use of good communication tools. Have options for e-mail, document-sharing, telephony, and video conferencing.
3 ) FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS
Working in an environment away from your co-workers and managers requires that you keep your focus on your goals. Keeping in mind your short, medium and long-term goals facilitate the definition and organization of your daily tasks.
Organize your agenda prioritizing your most important activities. Set aside a portion of your day to read and respond to your emails. Leave another part for the analysis and accomplishment of more productive tasks.
During my experience, there were moments where I lost a lot of time answering several emails without necessity at the expense of working on more important tasks. Always remember the Pareto Principle where 80% of your productivity is the result of only 20% of your tasks.
Keep track of pending activities. Keep a record of your demands and the progress of the solutions and answers you need.
Always keep your goals aligned with your company’s and team’s goals. There’s no use in spending too much time on an activity that is not a priority for the rest of your group.
4 ) DO NOT FORGET TO MAINTAIN YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE
This tip is very important. Time to work is to work … time to relax is to relax. Don’t forget to maintain a proper quality of life by balancing your work time with time dedicated to you and your family.
Disconnect from your phone and email when you are not working and try to follow your work schedule regularly and schedule time for your personal activities and for your family and friends.
Make sure you have a social life outside of work. I’m not talking about doing barbecues with your work team … I’m talking about having other friends who do not talk about work when you are off.
Exercise regularly. Staying home often leaves us lazy to do exercises. Organize your day to practise any sport or physical activity you enjoy. Leave home if possible … avoid running on the treadmill looking at the computer to see which emails you are receiving.
5 ) INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Working from a distance is not always synonymous with increased productivity. For this to happen, it is very important that you conform to this new work model.
A key point is how you will organize and manage the documentation of your work.
In a traditional office, we can print the documents and file them in easily accessible places. Think about this when you are creating and sharing your documentation. Identify the people who need access to these documents, use tools that manage and control access to this documentation, and keep your documentation up to date.
Be proactive in your work initiatives. Do not expect your boss or colleagues to ask you to do something you already know you have to do. Always try to be ahead in the activities and know the necessary information to carry out your work.
Focus on your work. Avoid distractions, conversations and especially procrastination. This is a great trap for your productivity.
Keep your focus on your activities and then let go of what does not need to be resolved right away. Divide your day into two periods – morning and afternoon. In each, separate a moment to carry out priority and less priority activities. Maintain strong discipline regarding schedules and meetings.
Finally, have fun. We spend a large part of our lives in a work environment. It is important that we take pleasure in working and performing our tasks. Do not take things so seriously … try to relax during the day.
Think of the following when you have a major problem to solve – how serious is this problem in a year? If it’s not important, then stop thinking about it for a few moments before deciding. Let your mind relax and find more interesting alternatives.
When we are nervous or very worried, our mind is not in its ideal working conditions. Stop your tasks for a few minutes, get out for a short period and relax. Think of other things while your subconscious is working to solve your problem. You will be amazed by the result.
Do you have any other tips you would like to share?
Leave your comment about your remote work experience.
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