10 Tips for Remote Workers to Increase Efficiency

Did you know that 88% of businesses globally motivated their workforce to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Because of the spread of the pandemic and the world going into lockdown mode, many businesses were forced to allow their workforce to work remotely. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in remote workers, today. 

Some people love working remotely others may not. Regardless of which one you fall into you will find that you will be spending more time trapped in your home.

Having to work from home, can add extra pressures and strains more than working at a typical office. While we know these below suggestions may not be for everyone, here are ten tips for remote workers that will increase efficiency and productivity. 

10 Tips for Remote Workers 

It seems that remote work will be here to stay. Whether you work from home temporarily or are continuing to work from home, here are 10 tips that will make your experience easier and more productive.

1. Dress for Success

Even though you may not see any other people besides your family, it will be hard to change your mindset if you are working in pajamas.

Keeping your habit of dressing up for work, will set your mind for work mode.  By staying in your pajamas you will tend to become sloppy and sluggish. 

2. Set up a Schedule

Every day you step into your typical office you establish a routine that you follow religiously every day.  From having your first cup of coffee to shutting down your computer at home time.

When you are at home you tend not to be quite so set in your ways.  There are always things to distract you.  Like having to hang washing or any other little chores to interrupt your workday as you do not have anyone watching your coming and goings. 

Apart from the challenge of working from home, in today’s times, there are the added controlling measures the pandemic has brought about. Like, homeschooling, grocery shopping, and caring for the sick and elderly.

Establishing a work schedule will go a long way to balance the working life and home life.

Establish a time to start your workday. Do not be tempted to just quickly jump onto your computer at 2 in the morning because you have thought of something you need to do.  Be strict, establish a start time, break times a lunch hour, and home time. 

Make sure to keep the family in the loop by discussing your schedule with them.

3. Keep Your Colleagues in the Loop

Typically in an office environment, you will bump into work colleagues in the corridor or at the coffee station.  This is where you get to know your colleagues personally. Try to keep this banter up through calls and messages. 

Keep in mind that we are all experiencing more stressful situations due to the pandemic rules and regulations. Concede that sometimes meetings may have to be changed at short notice.

Keep the communication between your colleagues going so that there are no recriminations later. 

Writing down your daily work progress is an idea.  This way you can at a later stage give a quick progress report to your managers when this is requested. 

4. Take Breaks

Remember that when you go to work, often you have a long commute.  Working at home eliminates this and you are therefore more desk-bound. This makes you more inactive. 

By taking breaks often will help with concentration by clearing your head. Go for a short walk or go and hang the washing.  This will get your limbs working thereby increasing your blood flow and getting a little exercise. This is good for your overall productivity and mental balance.

If you feel isolated or lonely, because of the social distancing rules in place today, it is a good idea to go for a walk or run. This can help you feel less alone as you will see other people on your route. 

5. Office Workspace

It is very important to designate a space in your home as an office. This will give you a sense of “going to work” rather than rolling out of bed in your pajamas or tracksuit and starting to work from the first space you find empty in the home.

Having a workspace dedicated to being your office will establish the difference between being home and being at work.

Not all of us have the luxury of dedicating a separate room in your home for an office. It could also be that you are not the only one working from home, from your partner to your homeschooled children.

If you do not have a separate room as an office, try to position your work areas in the right place like, for instance, setting up a desk in a non-traffic area, where you will have the least distractions. 

6. Keep Distractions to a Minimum

Limiting distractions whilst working at home is easier said than done! It is likely you will be interrupted by family members to do things that are not normally in your work routine at the office. If you are working from home it’s so easy for children or partners to utter the words, “I’m hungry” and “I need your help”.

Discussing your work schedule with your family before you start remote work will help minimize distractions by family members.

7. Keep Noise Levels Down

Working at home can be too quiet for some people.  But more often than not, there is always the buzz of the family going about their own activities.

One way to deal with this is to merely sit at your desk with headphones on, to cut out background noises, whilst you are working. The other is to discuss with the family about “no noise” rules for certain times of the day. 

You will eventually work out what works for you and your family.

8. Set Rules for Colleagues

Find out what are your colleagues’ work expectations and time schedules. Be considerate, recognize that they may be going through the same adjustments you are. 

In the same way, let your colleagues know your routine and your preferences in scheduling meetings and conference calls.  You definitely do not want to receive a call from a colleague at one in the morning!

Also make sure what types of call conferencing are being scheduled, voice, or video.  You don’t want to be caught by surprise, so to speak! You can be prepared and not be found to be lounging around in your pajamas with messy hair. 

9. Patience Is a Virtue

Living and working in the current pandemic crisis is very overwhelming and stressful. Try to have patience and be kind to yourself, your family, and your colleagues. It will help in the long run to dampen anxiety and uncertainties if not for you for others. 

Always remember, what you are experiencing may be tough for you but others may not be able to handle it quite so well. They may be confused, overburdened, and stressed out, in more ways than one. Try to be understanding. 

10. Make Sure You Are Prepared

The decision is made! You will work remotely. What now?

Once this decision has been made make sure with your HR and IT departments that you are equipped with all the needed resources to complete your work online. If you are not equipped with a laptop search for good laptop deals near you.

Discuss with them what equipment and resources you will need and perhaps ask for help in purchasing these. Know which systems the company is putting in place for communication between colleagues. You do not want to be caught short and add to the already stressful situation. 

The Big Picture of Remote Work

The current global crisis has companies making employees work remotely. This has been a serious adjustment not just for the employees but for the employers too.  

Having to switch from office work to remote work is a complete change not just for you but for coworkers, managers, and even family members. We are all in the same boat so having patience and flexibility with yourself and others goes a long way to settling into remote working.

Make your work at home fun in these stressful times. How does that saying go? “Do what you love and you will never work another day in your life”.  If you are happy and passionate about your work, it will not feel like the dirty little four-lettered word “Work”.

At the end of the day, you may not have been prepared for the work at home situation,  but by following the above tips for remote workers, you will quickly settle down to your own work routine and being productive!

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