I love working from home – my own virtual office space. It’s a luxury that many of us don’t get to enjoy. However, it does come with its challenges. For example:
- How do you stay productive when coworkers do not always surround you?
- How do you keep track of everything that needs to be done when no deadlines are hanging over your head?
- How do you deal with missing out on some aspects of workplace culture − like lunch in the cafeteria or company parties − and still maintain an enjoyable work life?
These are all questions I’ve asked myself as a remote worker, and they’re also questions I’m sure many others have faced.
Many of us are working remotely these days − and it can be more challenging than you’d think
Remote work has become more common, not just for freelancers but also for virtual assistants. Many people are finding that they can take on remote roles to balance work and life and gain some flexibility in their lives. But when you’re working remotely, there are many challenges to bear in mind:
Communication is key
When your team works from different locations, communication becomes all the more critical. You’ll need to rely on email, phone calls, or video chats with face-to-face communication (or at least to appear face-to-face).
A routine is essential!
You might be tempted to use this time to become creative; however, having no schedule can lead to procrastination and stress when deadlines come up unexpectedly.
Create a dedicated workspace.
One of the first things you can do to make your remote office experience more productive is to set up a dedicated workspace. You must create a comfortable, ergonomic space with plenty of room for your computer and other equipment. You may also want to invest in noise-canceling headphones, which allow you to focus on work without distractions from the rest of your home or office.
If possible, try finding somewhere quiet − away from TVs, children playing video games, and other loud noises − to put on your desk. You can then be free from distractions and interruptions by others who contact you through technology (such as email notifications). You would also not like to accidentally knock something over while walking around inside your home or office space.
Develop a routine
To stay productive, you’ll need to develop a routine. A routine is simply a series of habits that you follow at specific times daily. For example, if you’re going to work from home, it can be helpful to have a morning routine that involves waking at 6 a.m., getting ready for the day, and then heading into your office by 7 a.m. You could also do this with an afternoon or evening routine. Perhaps you can come home at 5 p.m. and take care of business until around 8 p.m. before bed.
The main point is that having your particular habits will help keep everything in order throughout your day. A routine will provide structure when working remotely from another location other than the office (your house).
Use apps to keep in touch with coworkers and friends
Use apps that are free and easy to use.
- Use apps that are compatible with your phone or tablet.
- Deploy simple and quick apps, especially if you’re in a remote office where there’s no one around to help you!
- Apps help you stay in touch with your friends and family at all times, even when they’re not physically close by!
Be kind to yourself if you have bad days.
It’s normal for your productivity to take a hit while working from home. If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up about it! The key to staying productive in the long run is learning how to deal with the ups and downs of remote work life.
Take a break if you need one.
When I’m having an off day, I like to turn on some music and watch something funny on TV or YouTube—it makes me feel rejuvenated so that I can tackle whatever tasks are left on my plate after that brief respite. It’s okay if this strategy doesn’t work for everyone. There are many other ways that people relax when they’re overwhelmed by their workloads: walking outside, building something (if possible), doing yoga or meditation…the possibilities are endless!
Talk to someone
Talk to someone who understands what’s happening inside your head (and heart). If none of these strategies help ease your stress levels sufficiently for you to focus again, additional support might be needed. There is sure to be another person or people in your life who understand the problems of a remote worker.
Whether talking through issues with friends over lunch or calling family members back home every night before bedtime, having someone else listen while we process our feelings helps us get through hard times much more quickly than going through it alone ever could!
Make sure that you also have time for things that don’t work.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to work all the time. You can take breaks, and your boss won’t think any the less of you if you say no to extra work. It’s also okay to say no if someone asks to come over and hang out with you − you’re not obligated to entertain anyone who comes by your desk. When it comes time for a vacation or a day off, ensure your company knows what you are planning so there is enough coverage in your absence.
If you feel as though your productivity is dropping, reach out to someone for help.
Sometimes, you need to talk to someone. You can contact anyone you trust for advice or insight into staying productive in a remote office. If your problem is that you don’t know where to start, having someone point you in the right direction will be invaluable.
If you’re overwhelmed by your workload and unsure who else could help ease the pressure, reach out to your mentor or boss (if applicable). If both of these people are unavailable, try talking with a coworker. You might not realize how much wisdom is out there until someone offers it!
How to stay productive in a remote office
It would help to create a dedicated workspace to stay productive when working remotely. This should be free of clutter and distractions and allow sufficient room to lay out your work materials in an organized fashion. It’s also essential to ensure that the space is comfortable and conducive to productivity; if you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in any way, this will negatively affect your ability to concentrate on the task.
Make sure you develop a routine for yourself so that each day has an established start and end times, with breaks in between (if possible). You’ll find it much easier to track tasks if they’re broken down into smaller chunks rather than having one long list of tasks to complete. Having clear prompts regularly throughout the day helps ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
When it comes time for meetings or calls with coworkers or clients, use apps such as Skype so they can see what’s going on while still being able to see themselves from multiple angles (such as from above). This makes it easier for everyone involved. Buffering issues will not cause any delays—and because most people tend not to want others looking over their shoulder while working on something important!
It’s okay if some days aren’t great, but don’t let those days derail progress! Just remember: every day counts towards success!
Working remotely is difficult, but it can be done with the help of technology and a planned routine.
Working from home can be a challenge. Without coworkers, you may feel isolated and alone. The temptation to procrastinate is real—but don’t fret! There are ways to stay productive in your remote office, even if you have no one around to hang out with.
First, use technology to stay connected with your coworkers and friends. You can use video chat apps like Skype or Zoom when you’re on the same floor as them but can’t get away from your desk. You might need some quick advice on something related to work (but not necessarily urgent). You can also ensure that two-way communication between colleagues is always open by using an app like Slack. This is a message board for everyone in the company, making it easy for anyone who has questions about their projects or wants some feedback.
Second, create a routine for yourself so that staying productive doesn’t seem like such an uphill battle! For example, every day before your 9 p.m. bedtime, you could take 10 minutes off from checking emails or working on your laptop. Try walking around the block using headphones (while listening to music). This could feel more like ‘me time’ instead of work time (and thus easier).
Thirdly, keep track of how many hours each day have gone by since the last check-in; this is just not healthy when it reaches 15+ hours without interruption.
I hope these tips will help you stay productive in your remote office. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out!