According to PGI news, companies that practice telecommuting save as much as $10,000 per employee every year just on real estate. Moreover, if you’re an employee, you could save up to $7000 per year (TECLA). Given these figures, it’s only a matter of time that employers and employees say yes to work from home. And, just like that, we step into the age of full-time telecommuting. As work from home becomes popular and gains traction, a larger number of people participate, which means there’ll be many more questions. Because there’s always a flip side to everything that’s awesome. So, the question is how can you make the best of telecommuting and ensure it improves your productivity, without it backfiring? The answer lies in these productivity tips for remote workers.
Whether you’re working from home or from a cafe, here are some telecommuting best practices to ensure that you don’t lose focus at work and maintain a balance between your work and your ‘me’ time.
1) Start at the same time every day
Even if you aren’t physically going to the office, it helps to establish certain work timings. It could be as early as 7:30 am if your work is of an independent nature. If you have conference calls, then plan accordingly. When you do this, you’re going to ensure you don’t end up working all day.
2) Dress up for work
You may argue that the purpose of telecommuting is to work straight from bed in your old PJs. While that’s indeed a tempting idea, taking a shower and dressing up in different clothes can psychologically help you get into the ‘work’ mode. You don’t have to wear a suit, just a T-shirt and comfy shorts/jeans should do.
Some activity for the brain to help stay focused is known to make you more productive. Meditation and breathing techniques can be of great help in reducing stress and in functioning to your finest capacity.
3) Create a workspace at home
This is the ultimate remote work best practice and most people fail here. Working from your kitchen or your bedroom can prove to be very unproductive. When you’re sitting on your bed and typing out an email, you’re not going to be able to have that seriousness. Instead, dedicate a space in your house to your work. You should have a desk, and preferably a door to shut out the noise. You could also use some essential oils like peppermint or rosemary to help you focus better, or use incense sticks to center yourself.
4) Monitor the amount of time you spend on your phone
Working from home tests your discipline in many ways. How much time you spend looking at social media or making non-work related calls is going to tell you how focused you can be while telecommuting. So, make sure that you spend very little time on Facebook, Instagram and the like. If you think you lack that discipline, technology is at your beck and call. Apps like Focus Me and Temptation Blocker help you monitor time spent on social media.
5) Step out of your home
If you remote work regularly, get out every now and then. You don’t always have to work from home. Walk to the closest cafe and work from there. If you go to the same cafe every day then take a train to a Starbucks you haven’t been to. Or try something different, make a picnic and go work from the park. The idea is to change your work environment and break the monotony. You will be surprised to see how productive that makes you.
6) Socialize and make new friends
Meet new people. Just make sure you interact with other humans regularly. We are social beings and are meant to network. Instead of working from a cafe, choose a co-working station. The co-working space culture is growing on a lot of us. And many of these spaces have their own cafes too.
7) Keep communicating with your team
Whether it’s the office or other remote workers, keep the lines of communication open. If they’re in the same city as you, then meet them for face-to-face discussions because it still is the best way to communicate. Be available during office hours and stay connected.
8) Get better with email
Since you’re working remotely, you’re going to have to communicate a lot via email. So, spend some time honing your email writing skills. Brevity is key. Also, make sure to document your emails and create distribution lists so you waste little time.
While these practices were meant to serve as a guide, they are by no means tenets of telecommuting. You can always add your own depending on your working style. If done the right way, telecommuting can be an extremely powerful tool to create happier and more productive employees. It is definitely emerging as a promising way to create a happier and more sustainable workplace!