One of the biggest pushbacks to remote work is the overarching fear that remote employees will produce less when working at home rather than in an office environment. But when working from home became the new normal during the pandemic, researchers were able to assess if these fears were rational or not.
It turns out that employees who work from home spend at least 10 minutes less a day doing extracurricular activities during work hours. 47% of remote employees increased their productivity rates within 9 months of being home and the overall performance of remote employees increased by 13%.
With so much research proving that remote employees can be more productive when they’re home, how can you ensure that you’re part of the percentile that’s moving forward? The challenge remote employees face is being able to identify contributing factors to their productivity.
For some people that may mean putting your cell phone on “do not disturb” for the day, or maybe you need to take a walk during your lunch hour to help clear your head. Identifying what works best for you is how you’ll be able to produce consistently while keeping the quality top-notch. Below, here are five tips that can help increase the productivity of remote employees.
Switch Up Your Environment
One of the benefits of working remotely is the ability to work wherever you want. Take your laptop and sit outside for an hour on a sunny day, or answer your Friday afternoon emails at a local coffee shop to wind down your workweek. You can even switch your environment up at home, for instance, if you’re used to working in your office, take a call in your living room or utilize your outdoor space.
According to The Collection 527, a coworking space in Los Angeles, remote employees can also benefit from working in local coworking spots. Coworking spaces typically offer versatile seating options, free coffee and tea, printing services, networking opportunities, comfortable lounges and chairs, and more. Check out coworking spaces in your area to see what works best for you. Many spaces offer day passes that give you a feel for the environment before you commit to a hot desk, private office, or any other packages.
Remote work will be a change of pace and take adjusting to, no matter how excited you are. Setting boundaries is one of the best ways to ensure you can handle those changes, and that means with yourself and work, but also with your friends, family, and home. For instance, think about making the workday a TV-free time. That means even if you choose to take your lunch hour in the living room, you’ll do something else.
Limiting activities that encourage leisurely behavior, such as TV, can help you distinguish your workday from your downtime at home. You may want to set boundaries with whoever is home with you when you’re working. Tell them when you have important meetings and deadlines, what times you shouldn’t be disturbed, and what would constitute an emergency should they need to contact you. Having these boundaries set can really help your remote work days flow smoothly.
Schedule As Much As You Can
Schedule your work days down to a T to help yourself stay focused and productive. When you’re working in any environment it can be hard to focus on the bigger picture without a schedule. Your schedule will help you keep track of important deadlines, and meetings, and can help you hold yourself accountable. A good trick is to schedule time at the end of the day to get yourself prepared for the day ahead. Ask your superiors if they have any examples of schedule templates they like to use throughout the day.
Get Dressed For Work
The mind-body connection is real, and one way to help your mind feel like you’re at work is to put on some work clothes to get your remote workday started. Data shows that clothing can make you feel good or bad and that establishing a morning dressing routine positively affects productivity levels. Even if it’s changing out of your pajamas into a different sweatsuit for the day, changing into something that you deem to be your work attire can really help establish with your brain that it’s time to get to work.
Remote work can leave a lot of room for error in communication. With group zoom calls, messaging boards, and email chains being the dominant way of gathering thoughts and opinions, it’s important you establish multiple direct lines of communication with your superiors and teammates. When working on projects keep everyone updated on your status. Ask for input when you need it, and don’t be afraid to call someone with questions rather than just send them an email. Remember that just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you’re expected to do your job alone. Communicate your needs to your coworkers and you’ll be able to focus on ensuring your productivity is at the highest level.