Tips to maintain productivity while remote working
2020 March 24
Working remotely and from home is something that some employees dream about. While others are living the dream COVID-19 sweeps the nation, and this is becoming a reality for more employees. For most, it is as simple as being in the office to stay productive, but for others, they are easily distracted.
“The dishes need done, Spot needs walked and that new movie finally came out.” Are you someone who struggles to stay productive at home? Here are tips on how to be productive when you work from home.
As a parent or someone with a significant other, with someone who is also quarantined, it can be difficult to not chit-chat and hang out with them all day long. However, this is why dedicated spaces are so important in figuring out how to be productive when you work from home. A dedicated space can be a spare bedroom, a designated office space, the kitchen table, couch or elsewhere, but make sure everyone understands that this space is solely dedicated to work.
Now, instead of “watercooler” gossip, walk upstairs and color with the kiddos for 20 minutes! From there, always set a plan in place.
2. Have a plan
At the office, everyone has their own desk and designated spaces which call for working eight hours. Thu-vy Nguyen, a psychologist who specializes in remote working effects, suggests that now is the time to set a plan and stick to it. What is your normal work routine?
You wake up, get ready, make coffee and leave to commute and while you are not leaving, your commute is to your dedicated space. Get up at the same time, get ready and make coffee and walk over to your space. Take a lunch break and afternoon break and keep a similar structure to your normal work one!
3. Virtual meetings
Now, more than ever, communication with team members, supervisors and managers has never been more important. While everyone is working from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and practicing social distancing, since 2010 remote work has increased by 400 percent and 99 percent of employees wish that they could work from home for the duration of their career!
A virtual meeting is the perfect way to keep communication open and stop any miscommunication that could happen while working from home. Set weekly or daily meetings with team members to make sure projects are moving forward and that there are no questions.
As a company, manager or supervisor, the notion of trusting employees enough to work from home can be worrisome, but if you cannot trust these employees, it might be time to find new ones. Even for those employees that you trust, how are you going to hold them accountable for finishing that project?
There are thousands of free software and project management tools out there that can be utilized now and in the future. A great example is having an accountability buddy. This person will check in with another employee, ask how things are going and make sure they are finishing tasks. As a manager or supervisor, you are the employee’s accountability buddy.
Again, communication is going to be vital in this entire process. Where are people checking in with you at? Slack or via text? No matter the main form of communication, it should be clear how to get a hold of you no matter what.
Give employees a zoom link, work cell-phone number, personal cell-phone number, set up a slack channel or any other ways, but just let them know HOW to get a hold of you.
6. Leaders and managers: set expectation
It is important to express that working from home IS a privilege and have employees understand the consequences when this is abused. One of the most successful ways for employees to understand how to be productive when you work from home is clear expectations and guidelines set in place by management.
A couple of examples of how to set expectations are:
Everyone will virtually fill out a timesheet
Let management know when taking lunch breaks
Update throughout the day on tasks
Finish X project by X timeframe.
Still finishing daily tasks before the end of their work day
No slacking! (Okay, a little slacking, but no Netflix marathon).
While working from home can be the dream for some, for others, it can be a lonely experience. A study was conducted from Buffer that showed that 19 percent of those who worked remotely felt that their biggest challenge was loneliness.
This can bring other emotions into play such as sadness, anxiety and even depression, but simply changing from pajamas and wearing a nice shirt can increase productivity. In return, this can help to combat some of those emotions. It is almost as if you are affirming this is how to be productive when you work from home!
Struggling with social distancing? Set up a virtual tour of your favorite art gallery, museum or Netflix party! (After work hours, of course!)
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