Need to pick up your productivity while working remotely? This post offers six tips on getting and staying focused, no matter where you choose to work.
While working at the beach might be a bit much, there’s never been a better time to work remotely. Seven years of self-employment has taught me a thing or two about the productivity benefits of flexible work arrangements. My corporate friends often comment how “I could never work for myself—with no one to answer to I would rarely get things done.” Personally, I would waste more time in a traditional office environment.
Having said that, if you’re not quite convinced about working remotely—or maybe letting your employees work from home—then you might want to look into some reasons.
For everyone else, here are six tips to boost your productivity while working remotely. And yes, I wrote them this season, at my cottage!
Productivity tips for remote workers
- Sort out your phone
- Stay connected
- Get organized
- Manage your energy
- Batch tasks and group appointments
- Take it outside
Sort out your phone
I work for most of the summer at my cottage and while in Nova Scotia visiting family, which means I rely heavily on my phone and Internet access. Every May, I call my cell phone provider and increase my data plan over the summer months.
Of course, the more I use my phone, the higher the bills. So, to keep data costs down, I use rocket hubs that offer cheaper rates for data usage. I also adjust my phone settings to turn off all app notifications that eat up data on my phone.
More tips: Try downloading your cell phone provider’s data usage monitoring app. You can request text notifications when you reach 50, 75 and 95 percent of your plan. And always look in advance for the best free WIFI locations with plugs for devices!
Tech can help you stay connected to your colleagues, no matter where you work. You don’t need to share a boardroom to feel connected with your team. For instance, I use instant messaging and video conferencing—not just phone calls and email—to stay in touch.
Skype for Business works like a charm for calling, conferencing, chatting, video, and sharing. You can even share your desktop in real-time, which is very useful.
Microsoft Teams can help groups get organized and work together. It provides a shared chat platform to facilitate collaboration and unify communication.
No matter what platform you use, I suggest you set aside a time to connect with your team(s) on a weekly basis. And if you do these meetings, make sure to prepare a clear agenda every time. You can follow these tips for productive online meetings.
I keep consistent working hours while working in the summer. I know what I want to accomplish at least a week in advance and plan for it. I let friends and family know when I work, so that they don’t interrupt me (as much).
Another tip: Schedule your play! Make time to have fun every day even when you work. Whether you take a walk on the beach or play a game of tennis, enjoy taking breaks to fuel your productivity.
Manage your energy
Managing your energy takes more than just getting eight hours of sleep. When you schedule your time (i.e. plan how you will allocate energy), take note of when you work best. (I am most productive from 10 am to 2 pm and early evenings after dinner.) Schedule complicated projects during your peak efficiency time.
If you can, take a few days in the summer to see when you wake up naturally (i.e. without an alarm clock). Use this information to tweak your schedule.
Want more time-management advice? Take a look at these time and energy management tips.
Batch tasks & appointments
I changed the way I work recently to introduce more balance and achieve better results. Instead of randomly managing tasks, I group them now. I only respond to emails during certain times of the day, usually during down time. I have themed days like “Finance Friday,” when I manage my money tasks.
Tip: Use an appointment scheduler and block out times where you don’t want to take calls, meetings, or appointments. Check out this list of scheduling tools.
Take it outside
If you can find a way, work outside! Whether you bring your laptop to the park or work at the cottage dock, a change of scenery will inspire you. You can use your phone hotspot for WIFI and enjoy a unique work space.
Tip: Schedule a walking meeting with your employees, partners, or even a potential client. Find out more about walking meetings.
What do you think?
Do you routinely work from home or on the go? Please feel free to share any suggestions you have in the comments below.