Making remote work for you

Upul Weerasinghe

February 15, 2021


5 mins

With the evolution of technology, remote working is continuously gaining in popularity. The current health crisis and decisions to minimise face to face interaction in order to reduce its impact have also brought remote working to the attention of every imaginable business vertical. The ability to work together over a vast geographic landscape kept businesses running and helped to keep the economy from crashing down around us. There are many advantages to remote working, even outside a pandemic condition. However, some companies are still reluctant to allow remote working, as they fear they may lose control of their team, and of the impact it will have on productivity.

Let’s discuss how we can alleviate these fears and take advantage of the benefits of remote working.

What is remote working

The concept of remote working promotes that people do not need to be in the confines of a traditional office space to be productive employees. Riding on the wave of employees and organisations trying to find a better work life balance, various research finding that keeping employees motivated and happy increases productivity, and a global effort to reduce the carbon footprint, remote working has emerged as a possible answer to these questions. People are able to increase the time they spend with their friends and family as the time to commute is reduced or eliminated. Plus, they are able to plan their day around their professional and personal lives with greater flexibility, thus increasing their satisfaction while reducing their impact on the planet.

Maximising productivity while remote working

Plan, plan, plan!

The first step to make remote working successful is to plan out your work week.  Ensure that all meetings and the work for the week is communicated and understood. Every team member should be able to continue their individual jobs without any holdups. With proper planning remote working works as smoothly as working in an office environment.

Communication is key

You're never alone with your team around you

Team members don’t have to work in silos, simply because they are remote working. For example, in a development company, have your meetings at the start of the work week as usual, only this time you will be video conferencing instead of meeting face to face, continue having your daily stand ups over video conference as well. Remember that teams that work together in an office environment need to have processes in place to continue that work from a distributed environment.

Technology is your friend

One of the main factors enabling remote working is the evolution of technologies that support it. High-speed internet, teleconferencing tools, time tracking applications, and various collaboration tools all come together to support the remote working lifestyle. The flip side of this being, if you are in an environment that doesn’t support the level of connectivity needed, you may need to move to more suitable locations during your work hours.

Ensure that team members have access to what they need in order to work at maximum efficiency without any disruptions.

Ensure that all team members are set up with access to whatever technology they need in order to work at maximum efficiency without any disruptions. Nothing is as annoying to a good worker than suddenly finding out they don’t have the resources needed to continue their tasks.

Working during work hours

From the people side of things, there are a few practises your team can follow to ensure that operations run smoothly while remote working. It’s important to remember that even though you’re not in a physical company location, you are still working, and a part of a team that needs to work together. To this end, always respect the other team members and their time. If your team has set hours during the day for meetings and work, make sure you are at your workstation during these times. If you have to leave for prolonged periods due to work reasons, then ensure you communicate it with your team, and don’t leave them hanging. All team members must understand that remote working is not permission to slack off, you still need to cover the same amount of work you do when working from an office location.

A change of scenery can be good for you

A change is as good as rest.

Don’t remain sedentary throughout the day, or even stuck within the confines of your house. One thing that people felt was a negative of remote working, is the lack of a change of scenery since they no longer have a necessity to commute to work. Especially during the pandemic where the prevailing health conditions forced people to stay indoors as much as possible. However remote working in no way dictates that you need to remain within the confines of your house or apartment. If you have a garden, you can feel free to set up your workstation outside on a sunny day. Or if you live in an apartment, take a short walk during your lunch break to invigorate yourself. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air and exercise, keep your mind and body active! Hopefully you have saved a considerable amount of time by removing the need to commute, which you can use for this.

Distracted by something shiny

While you may feel that remote working offers a much more relaxed and flexible atmosphere to work in, you must also remember that you need to work in such a way as to not abuse that flexibility. One of the constant issues that rise up is the distraction of social media, every time there is a *ding* and a notification pops up, many of us don’t have the self-control to ignore it and continue with our work. It can be even harder to put down our device once we have lost the battle to check or not check the notification. In next to no time, we end up looking at lists of ‘30 cat breeds you didn’t know existed’ or something similar, when we should be working. While social media is a great way to keep in touch, or when we need a distraction. We should avoid falling into the mire of ‘clickbait’ during our work hours.

Turn off your notifications, it’s very unlikely that something major is going to happen till your next break.

All the more so when we are working remotely and possibly in a scenario where no one notices that we are lost in the world of social media. Turn off your notifications, it’s very unlikely that something major is going to happen in the next couple of hours till your next break. If it does, someone will call you.

Don’t become a recluse

Getting out and having fun is important too

Remote working does not mean you need to suddenly disappear inside your house and never be seen again, except on moonless nights where you essay forth shrouded in darkness and make a furtive foray to the nearest coffee shop for sustenance. I mean, if that’s your life choice then go ahead, but don’t blame it on remote working. If your team members feel that they can benefit from a get together, or a day at work, or even an evening of fun, by all means go for it.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, don’t go for it! Stay one metre away from each other and maintain social distancing. Managing Covid is everyone’s responsibility! Remember even if you can’t be in the same physical location right now, it doesn’t stop you from hosting a video conference just for fun. Organise it around some fun activity that can be enjoyed by all the team members, or just spend some time shooting the breeze and maybe catching up on the latest gossip.

In conclusion

Remote working is a great way to save time and energy spent on your daily commute and use that time for something more productive, like learning a new skill, or even relaxing before a new task.

Follow our tips on making the best of your remote work time and environment to maximise your productivity, while not sacrificing your lifestyle.

Upul Weerasinghe

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