The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak forced many companies to send their employees home and let them work remotely. It’s a brand new concept of work that comes with lots of benefits, but there are also a few barriers that you need to overcome in order to stay productive.
You’ve probably heard and read tons of practical tips about working remotely, but some tactics proved to be more effective than others. In this post, we will show you the common obstacles of remote work and discuss seven ways to ensure productivity while working from home.
The Cons of Working from Home
All the tips we want to discuss here are closely related to the disadvantages of remote work. This is exactly why it’s important to understand the barriers and keep them in mind while setting up a home office. Here are the usual obstacles:
- Lack of concentration. You are not in the usual environment and there are no colleagues to give you an impression of hard work.
- No direct supervision. You cannot receive direct feedback or talk to the supervisor directly.
- Decreased access to information. You will often have to wait for a while before receiving vital information because your colleagues cannot spend the entire day writing messages.
- Social isolation. People are social beings who strive for real human contact.
7 Tips to Maximize Remote Work Efficiency
Now that you know the cons of working remotely, you will understand the tips we are about to show you. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the seven critical ways to maximize remote work efficiency.
- Create a comfortable home office
It all begins with a home office because it is the place where you’re going to spend the vast majority of your time. This can be a genuine challenge – particularly if you live in a small apartment or have children – but there are solutions to every problem.
Find a corner or room that is isolated and peaceful. You cannot afford any distractions, so make sure to set boundaries and prevent your family members from going in and out during work hours. More importantly, do not work from your bed. It will make you lazy and provoke you to take a nap more often than you’re supposed to.
- Follow the plan
No matter where you work from, you must have a clearly defined plan of daily, weekly, and perhaps even monthly activities. The basic rule of remote work is to stick to the plan and focus on priorities day after day.
You cannot afford to miss deadlines because the work will just keep piling up. Therefore, do your best to work according to the schedule and solve problems one by one. Take care of your key performance indicators and you won’t have to worry about a drop in productivity.
- Make use of communication tools
Remote work does not allow face-to-face communication, but who says you can’t keep in touch with your colleagues and supervisors? There are tons of platforms designed specifically for business communication, so you better choose the ones that suit your team’s habits. Some of the most popular solutions include:
- Viber for instant messaging and group chat
- Skype for video calls and live chat
- Email for official statements, reports, and documents
- Google Docs for file sharing
- Jira, Slack, and many other tools for easier project management
- Upwork for hiring and consulting with remote employees
- Daily check-ins are fundamental
If you want to maintain the desired level of productivity, in the long run, you have to arrange daily check-ins among employees and their managers.
First of all, it reminds workers that they are still members of the team. Secondly, it helps everyone figure out the details of the current project and the forthcoming duties.
Daily check-ins can be done via email, phone calls, instant messaging, group chats, team calls, and similar. However, you should always try to organize one-on-one video conversations as it speeds up communication and feels more natural and realistic.
- Keep in touch with your pair buddies
Another very interesting remote work technique comes in the form of pair buddies. Pair buddies are a weekly random pairing with two to three people on the team that allows you to catch up on work, life, or anything else.
What’s the point? Well, the idea is to create a more comfortable environment and get a notion of on-site work where you can meet colleagues in person and discuss the latest events.
- Organize team-building sessions
Although you are managing a remote team, it doesn’t mean you should run away from each other. On the contrary, sometimes it’s necessary to build stronger relationships among employees through team-building events.
If you can afford to meet in person, there are all sorts of fun activities to consider. But if the whole coronavirus mess prevents you from gathering employees, you can at least play online games or engage in other types of group activities on the Internet.
- Keep an eye on the results
The last tip on our list is to keep an eye on the results of your remote work. After all, it takes time to get used to working from home, so it’s natural to notice ups and downs in the early stages of the process.
What matters here the most is to check your key performance indicators and compare results with the targeted deliverables. That way, you can see what’s wrong in your work and react on time to prevent further damage. You should analyze performance every week as it’s the best way to guarantee long-term success.
Up to You!
Remote work comes with a wide range of practical benefits, but you have to be careful enough to plan and organize the whole process properly. In this post, we showed you the top seven ways to ensure the highest level of productivity while working remotely. What are your first thoughts on working from home?
Leon Collier is a blogger and the first person I call when I need someone to write my essay. Leon writes about HR and project management, but he is also a passionate explorer of digital marketing. When not writing, you can find him reading books or playing tabletop games on Saturday with his friends. Follow him on Twitter @LeonCollier12