Today’s technology allows people to be more flexible about where and when they work, which makes remote working increasingly popular.
How can you maintain the same level of productivity—or even a higher level — away from the office? Here are some tried-and-tested tips.
Get a headstart by starting work early
Start working an hour or two earlier than other people in your team. You’ll have more time to focus without phone calls coming in – and you’ll be able to cope with the day better if you’ve already put in a huge chunk of work.
Set a schedule
When you are working remotely, you have the freedom to work during your most productive hours—late at night, early morning or regular office hours. Determine which time slots work best for you and make up a schedule. Most projects also need collaboration and discussion with other people in the team. Your schedule should build in a time slot to confer with others at times convenient to them. This helps bonding and makes you feel part of the team.
Give yourself at least three significant tasks for the day and don’t close shop till you’ve completed them. Avoid handling personal items in your work time unless it’s something very urgent.
Keep a work diary
Maintain a work diary and keep it updated. At the end of the day, list the jobs you have completed and, ideally, how much time you spent on each. Even if it’s an on-going job that spills into the next day (or days), note how much time you’ve spent on it every day. This is also a very useful record for management to assess productivity and determine how time-consuming a job is so the client can be billed accordingly.
Have a dedicated work space
So, you don’t have an office. Your office now is wherever you work from. Demarcate an area as your work space and get to it every day. Make sure you have a place for your computer and telephone and invest in a comfortable chair. It’s good to shower and change as if you were going to the office even if you are working from home. It will help you get into the work mode and get more done.
This can be difficult if you are working from home. Don’t get embroiled in domestic situations. After all, if you had a nine-to-five job, you wouldn’t constantly be dealing with things happening at home. Unless it really is an emergency, don’t let domestic issues come in the way of your work.
Block like-minded tasks together
Don’t keep checking your emails. Resist the temptation to send out WhatsApp messages all through the day. Set aside some time for emails and messaging. Check your emails and send out brief replies as you read them. If an email calls for a more detailed reply, deal with it later. Make all outbound calls one after the other.
Book some co-working space
A co-working space helps solve the ‘lonely worker’ problem. If you work mainly from home, try and get out to a different environment for a while. Co-working spaces are vibrant and exude a lot of energy, which helps get the creative juices flowing. Don’t get distracted with other people’s projects when in a co-working space. However, it’s good to take a break now and then and get to know your co-workers. Someone might chip in with the skills you need which are outside your bandwidth. They may know someone who could help with just the problem you are wrestling with. It works like an informal networking club. However, when you really need to focus on a task, use headphones. People will get the ‘do not disturb’ message.
Digital nomads need extra discipline
If you are constantly on the move, you need extra discipline to stay productive. That to-do list is all-important. And be aware of time zones so you do not call people in different geographies at the wrong time of day. Make full use of time that is usually wasted at airports. Keep work that doesn’t need a lot of concentration and referencing to do in the flight. This may also be a good time to just reflect and jot down points for future projects.
Working from anywhere relies heavily on trust and individual capacity. You have freedom but with it comes accountability. The most successful anywhere workers make sure that their work is better than it would be if they were clocking in time in an office –in terms of both quality and quantity.