If you’re struggling to get your assignments done while working from home, we’re here to help. We talked to dozens of experts to compile this list of remote working tips. Enjoy!
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has completely upended life as we know it. Public safety is at risk, the economy is in flux, and many professionals have been forced to work from home due to social distancing best-practices.
While we can’t do much in the way of improving your personal safety or boosting the global economy, we can help you better adjust to a remote working lifestyle.
We scoured the web to find dozens of work from home experts and boiled all of their knowledge and expertise down into seven remote working tips to help you do your job effectively from your home office, kitchen table, or wherever you’re currently working.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
We talked to a lot of experts to come up with this list of remote working tips. Most of them spoke to the importance of creating a dedicated workspace. It may be tempting to work from the comfort of your bed or living room couch. Don’t!
Chris Stasiuk, the Founder & Creative Director of Signature Video Group told us “Don’t try to work from your couch. Instead, set up a functional, comfortable workstation where you can be productive. It could be a spare bedroom, a basement, or even at your kitchen table.”
Grace Judson, a leadership coach for corporations, says creating a dedicated workspace should be the first thing you do when you start working from home, “First things first: try to set up a dedicated work space that won’t be disturbed during non-work hours.”
Dedicated workspaces have numerous benefits. For example, they can help remove you from the distractions of everyday life happening inside your home. If you can effectively remove distractions, you’ll be able to work more creatively and productively.
More on removing distractions below!
2. Set a Schedule (And Stick to It!)
Always remember, “you’ve spent so many years building good work habits and training your body to operate productively under a set routine. If you completely abandon this when starting to work from home, you’re setting yourself up for failure.”
That remote working tip comes to us from Jason Lee over at Freelance Master Course and we couldn’t agree more! Developing a repeatable routine is absolutely essential. But this tends to be easier said than done. Here are a couple of expert ideas to help you:
- According to LaTersa Blakely, a business consultant to Moms working from home, “Make a to-do-list every night before you go to bed. This will help you to be more productive and get things done. Don’t ever just wake up without a plan.”
- And Greg Birch, the Content Manager & Search Engine Marketing Specialist at Drop Ship Lifestyle suggests, “put your most important tasks at the start of your day. This will kick your day off in a productive way and make sure that you’re as effective as possible.”
If you follow these two simple remote working tips, it will be much easier for you to set a schedule and stick to it as you work from home during the pandemic.
3. Prioritize Communication
Next up, prioritize communication. The way you communicate with your team is obviously different now that you’re not all working from the same location.
The first thing you should do in this situation is define your communication channels. Emma Debeljak, head of content at Digital Silk, says, “to keep things moving, from collaboration to decision making, you need to have the tools and processes that facilitate interactions among your remote staff or coworkers.”
So what’s it going to be? Will you and your team use Slack, Asana, Trello? Do you plan to keep it retro and do all of your team communication via email? Whatever you decide, make sure you define the channels ASAP and get your entire team on board.
But day-to-day communication isn’t the only kind you need to worry about. Team meetings also need to be hosted on a regular basis. Just keep the meetings brief if at all possible. Prezi Founder and CEO, Peter Arvai says, “The average mind wanders after 18 minutes — hour-long video calls should be a thing of the past.”
4. Remove Distractions
It’s incredibly important for you to remove distractions while working from home. Laura Licursi from Elite Virtual Assistants reminds us that “Every time you pull yourself away from one task to do something else, it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back in the groove of what you were doing previously.”
That’s a lot of wasted time! Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to focus while working from home because there are so many potential distractions — especially for parents whose kids are also stuck at the house because of the virus.
How can anyone concentrate enough to get work done in this kind of environment? Start with the easy wins. David Lynch, the Content Lead at Payette Forward, Inc. told us “it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re sitting on the couch with the television on.”
In other words, turn off Netflix, lock yourself away in your dedicated workspace, and power through your assignments as productively as possible.
5. Take Care of Yourself
According to Beth Cooper and Jemma Roche, marketing professionals at KNB Communications, “It’s easy to lose track of time when working remotely. Be sure to pull yourself away from your computer, even if it’s for a few minutes to take a walk around the house or outside, refill your coffee, or eat a snack.”
This is so true! If we don’t take breaks, we won’t be as effective as we could be — a fact that David Poulos, the Director of Marketing at Pinnacle Advisory Group, also related to us. He says, “Taking regular breaks will actually increase productivity and boost mood.”
Studies show this to be accurate. Breaks allow the mind to recharge, which, in turn, can boost productivity levels and allow employees to better engage in their work.
6. Invest in Comfortable Headphones
You wouldn’t think that headphones would make a difference when it comes to working from home. But it turns out they do. Multiple remote work experts, like Gaby Israel Grinberg, the Co-Founder & VP of Client Services at Proofpoint Marketing, swear by this tip.
Gaby says, “Absolutely invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. My husband and I both have Bose headphones and I honestly don’t know how I lived without them before we started working from home!”
Greg Birch, from Drop Ship Lifestyle agrees, “A good set of comfortable headphones can make all of the difference. Noise-canceling ones, in particular, do an excellent job of shutting you off from distractions.”
Fortunately, this tip is super easy to implement. Simply jump online and order yourself a comfy headset if you don’t already have one.
7. Turn Off Your VPN
Here’s a unique remote working tip for you: turn off your VPN.
According to the President of Illuminate Labs, Calloway Cook, “Most people don’t realize that VPNs add a lag time to connectivity because the traffic is re-routed. Even a slight delay can make the video chat experience inconvenient to all parties. I personally use a VPN but I make sure to shut it off before video calls.”
Since video conferencing is one of the main ways you’re probably staying in contact with your colleagues, this is an important tip!
Work More Effectively With These Remote Working Tips
COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live and work. But if you follow the remote working tips outlined in this article, you’ll be able to work from home effectively while maintaining safe social distancing best practices. Just remember to:
- Create a Dedicated Workspace
- Set a Schedule (And Stick to It)
- Prioritize Communication
- Remove Distractions
- Take Care of Yourself
- Invest in Comfortable Headphones
- Turn Off Your VPN
Did we miss any important remote working tips? Share them with us in the comments below!