Effective Tips for Working Remotely

Becoming a work-from-home guru may be harder than it seems. Use these learning resources to become a remote work expert! Plan and Reflect. Planning and reflection contribute to continuous growth and development.

Effective Tips for Working Remotely
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Effective Tips for Working Remotely

Companies rarely explain effective ways to work remotely. Use these suggestions to get you started.

Your boss allows you to work remotely a day or two each week. Now you can move from the constraints of office life to the freedom of working from home. Sounds easy, right?

Not for everyone. The newfound freedom is tough for some employees to adjust to. Since companies rarely explain effective ways to work remotely, I’ve put together a few recommendations that have helped me over the years.

Remote working is becoming more common, so consider the habits below to get the most out of the days you’re not in the office.

1. Find a workspace

First, you’ll have room to spread out your work materials — such as papers, books, and reports — and leave them out the entire day. This beats working at the kitchen table. Then, you have to clean up your materials for lunch; get everything out to work in the afternoon; and clear everything away for dinner. Second, a dedicated workspace can help your motivation. When you go to this designated space, you know that it’s time to work.

2. Invest in work materials

I’ve worked for both type of companies and find that having the right materials, whether or not I buy them, is well worth it. Investing in a few supplies is a relatively minimal cost to do great work and maintain the autonomy working remotely offers.

3. Make a schedule

I also schedule breaks. For example, after writing an article for two hours, I’ll take a 15-minute break. Taking breaks is an important part of managing your energy throughout the day. Leaving your home or apartment for a bit and taking a walk is a great way to boost your energy levels for the afternoon ahead.

4. Communicate with colleagues

I find it helpful to check digital communication tools at designated times during my day. When I create my daily schedule, I note when I’ll check email and Slack, for example. Some people set up an automatic response on their email, alerting colleagues when they should expect a response. And still others, like managers, may find it helpful to tell team members in advance when they’re available to talk or respond to emails.

5. Have designated work clothes

6. Reduce distractions

7. Determine the end of your workday

That’s why it’s important to determine in advance when you’re workday will end. Include this in your daily plan discussed above. Then, close your laptop and place it in your book bag or close your office door so your computer is out of sight.

8. Use your peak hours effectively

The answer to such questions can help you determine your peak work periods. I’m a morning person; I prefer working early in the morning and immediately after lunch. I prioritize my important tasks for these periods and the save less-important stuff for later in the day when I’m mentally fatigued. Knowing when you work best can help you get the most out of your day.

More companies should explain how employees can be effective when working remotely. Until then, try out the above suggestions and see what works best for you.

PLAN AND REFLECT

Planning and reflection contribute to continuous growth and development. Planning allows you to intentionally identify and test actions that can improve your productivity and emotional well-being. Reflection deepens learning by consolidating what you learned and giving you control over what you can add to your ongoing toolkit. This leads to a virtuous cycle of planning, action, and reflection.

Spend the first 15 minutes of the day setting an intention or writing down the one or two things you need to accomplish. Spend the last 15 minutes of the day reflecting on the workday. Reflection consolidates what you learned during the day and builds new neural pathways in the brain.

More and more, our personal and professional lives are integrated. When you are planning for your day and reflecting on your day, consider both your personal life and your professional life.

PLAN  

What am I grateful for?

What do I need to accomplish? How am I going to accomplish it?

Who am I connecting with? What will they need from me? What do I need from them?

What positivity am I creating, cultivating or inviting?

REFLECT

What did I accomplish?

How did it feel? What was the experience like?

What did I notice about how I accomplished what I did? 

What or who gave me energy? 

What or who sapped my energy?

What did I learn that will help me plan for tomorrow and beyond?