Work culture has changed a lot over the past few years. For a lot of businesses, gone are the days where staff were chained to their desks. Remote working is becoming increasingly popular and creative businesses seem to be leading the way.
Although, some employers may be reluctant to allow their staff to remote work. Working from home in particular comes with connotations of distraction, low productivity and laziness. But, if done correctly, remote working can have the opposite effect and benefit employees and employers alike. By 2020, half of the UK workforce are expected to take up remote working. With that being said, maybe it’s time for you to jump on the bandwagon.
What are the benefits of remote working?
If someone can remote work productively, the entire team and business will benefit. Remote working has been proven to increase an employee’s overall happiness by helping them tackle various stressful aspects brought on by your typical 9 to 5 life.
Remote working can help staff and businesses thrive by:
- Preventing burnout
- Allowing a flexible schedule
- Improving work/life balance
- Reducing monthly travel costs
- Boosting morale
- Increasing staff retention
- Reducing overall stress
With these benefits in mind, it’s not surprising that remote working has the potential to increase overall productivity for staff. After all, happy employees are the hardest working.
We’ve put together some of our top tips to help you tackle your tasks from home.
Think, plan, do
Preparation is key. In order to minimise distractions and maximise effort, there are multiple things to consider before you get remote working.
Firstly, you need to put some thought into the tasks that you’re going to tackle. Be realistic with yourself. If you’re not the type of person that can churn out 3000+ words from the comfort of your own home, maybe save the chunkier tasks for when you’re back in the office. If it’s your first time working from home, you might want to try starting with some admin tasks like getting through emails and making edits.
It’s also important to prepare your home the night before. Declutter and tidy as much as you can. Not only does a clear space result in a clear mind, it also prevents you from tidying later on as a way of procrastinating. It may be a good idea to plan and prepare your food in advance too. The thrill of having free reign of your kitchen can be a big distraction. By preparing your meals beforehand, you can avoid accidentally taking a double lunch break.
Ready your routine
The trick to a productive day is starting off strong. You should treat a remote working day like you would any other day at the office.
Avoid the urge to sloth around in your PJs with hair so unkempt that it resembles a nest (that’s what Sundays are for). Set your alarm, shower, put on clean clothes and get cracking. If it helps to get you into the mindset of a working day, you could even simulate a commute by venturing out on a walk before you start.
Rise n’ grind
No commute? No problem. Early rising is far less daunting when you don’t have the usual draining trek to the office. Waking up and getting on with your work early can lead to an incredibly productive day.
It takes our brains quite a while to wake up properly, and without that early train to catch, you have significantly more time to prepare for the day ahead. You can spend the time that you’d usually lose on your commute catching up with emails, planning your work or whipping up a delicious breakfast.
Starting earlier also means finishing earlier. You may find that an earlier finish gives you a stronger incentive to get stuff done, and it’s likely you’ll end up doing more than originally planned due to the extra time.
Your home has far more distractions than your office; it can be a procrastination playground. If you want to get your work done on time, it’s important to minimise distractions as much as possible. Notifications, Netflix and noise are enough to throw your plans way off track.
The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is used for a good reason. Put your phone in a different room to the one you’re working in and leave it there. Don’t let FOMO get the better of you, social media will still be there when you’re finished.
Everyone works differently, some of us need silence to concentrate and some of us enjoy some background noise. Although, we’d advise giving the heavy metal a miss this time. Maybe opt for some instrumental instead.
Office away from office
Creating a comfortable working environment is key for allowing your productivity to flourish. You may find that some rooms are easier to work in than others. If working in a particular room didn’t work for you, move about until you find a place that feels right. Somewhere that has a decent amount of space, a window and a limited amount of distractions is your best bet. Optimal table height is also a thing.
If you’re going to be working from home regularly, it’s worth investing in some office-esque furniture and assigning a designated space for work. This will help you settle into a routine and make it a lot easier to get in the right frame of mind to be productive.
And, of course, never work from your bed unless you want to end up spontaneously napping.
Communication is key
Interacting with other humans keeps our brains awake. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, communication is an essential part of your day-to-day life. If you live alone, you may find yourself feeling isolated when working from home. Keeping yourself confined to a room all day without talking to anyone can leave you feeling exhausted sooner than you would in a typical office environment.
To avoid falling into a solitude slump, keep communication open with your colleagues. It’s often necessary to keep each other in the loop with where you’re up to on certain tasks, especially if you’re working collaboratively. If you’re remote working on a day where you would usually have a WIP (work-in-progress meeting) or any other team meeting, offer to take part via a phone call or Google Hangouts.
If your boss is still a little weary of you remote working, update them towards the end of the day with what you have managed to get done. This is sure to show them that you’re productive, proactive and an effective communicator.
Make the most out of your lunch break and get moving. As tempting as it is to transform into a blanket burrito and curl up on your couch, using your lunch break to do something active is sure to keep your brain functioning through the afternoon.
Being at home means you have a different environment to explore. For instance, if you work in the city but live somewhere more rural, venture out and soak in the soothing presence of nature. Wherever you live, going on a walk will reduce your stress tenfold. Walking is also a great catalyst for ideas. If you’ve been struggling to come up with something or are stuck on a problem, walking will allow your mind to wander naturally, often resulting in effortless idea generation.
If you’re home alone, you could even do a cheeky workout video; no need to be embarrassed. A quick HIT session (high-intensity interval training) will get your heart pumping and your brain sparking. Or, if you’re after a more chill approach, try some 20-30 minute yoga; there are tonnes of videos on YouTube to get you started.
Location, location, location
If you’ve tried your best to be productive from home and it’s not going to plan, don’t give up; there are so many places where you can remote work.
Some examples of where you can set up shop are:
- Coffee shops
- Co-working spaces
- Hotel lobbies
- Bars & pubs
- University campuses (if you’re a student)
If you’re a Liverpool local, we’ve got you covered. We’ve previously written a post on seven of the best places to remote work in Liverpool that you can check out for some inspo.
Let’s recap everything you need to keep in mind whilst working from home:
- Preparation is key
- The early bird catches the worm
- Say no to Netflix
- Avoid your bed at all costs
- Go walkabout
- Chillhop > Slipknot
Ready, set, goals.
You should be ready to utilise these tips and smash your workload from home. If you’re looking for advice on anything content marketing related, we have oodles of resources to help you out. Why not read our beginner’s guide to content marketing to get you started? Or, if you’re looking to get social media savvy, find out how often to post on social media for your small business.