Work Smarter Not Harder: Remote Work Edition

The most commonly reported issue employees have with remote work is a lack of discipline. In turn, this leads to an unhealthy work-life balance. For many of us whose schedules became more flexible than back at the office, and the daily productivity is estimated in tasks, keeping track of how much we actually work proved difficult. However, remote work is here to stay and it is time we learned how to be successful without burning out. If you feel like you work more hours but still don’t get enough done, we have several tips to peak your remote work productivity and return a good work-life balance.

Define Your Peak Productivity Window and Stick to It

First of all, if your hours became flexible, at home you might find yourself procrastinating or being distracted half of the time, making your workday 12 to 14 hours long instead of eight. while working from home is supposed to give you more freedom to invest time and energy into your hobbies, family, and pets, it might also end up being way too flexible for some of us. Indeed, the only way to combat this lack of regimen is to create a schedule for yourself.

How to Define Your Productivity Window

The great advantage of remote work is that you can construct your own schedule according to your peak productivity hours. Obviously, for most companies, there are meetings you need to attend. But when it comes to the work you do autonomously you have the freedom to choose your hours. Here, you will need to tap into your natural rhythm by reflecting on your energy levels and ability to concentrate in different parts of a day. You can take a week or two, experimenting with different work hours. For example, if you are a content writer, try doing the same task – writing an article within 9 am – 12 pm, 12 – 3 pm, 3 – 6 pm, and 6 – 9 pm windows. While doing this, try to be very conscious of the periods when you feel especially inclined to get distracted. Write down your findings so you can assess them at the end of this experiment.

Take into consideration other factors that can influence your productivity on any given day and don’t make your conclusions based on three days. Investing time into this experiment will pay off in the long term, giving you a clearer idea of your energy levels fluctuation. Based on your discovery, choose the hours to do your work tasks, and really stick to them. Separate the work time from your free time, by closing the browser tabs, putting your laptop away, and muting your work chats and emails after a certain time.

List Tasks and Their Execution Time for Each Day

This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. If you work on a number of tasks independently from the team, it helps to list them at the beginning of the day and set an approximate time limit for each task. You could set a time and that way, be able to see how long each task actually takes. Alternatively, you can try the Pomodoro technique for tasks that take longer than one or two hours. Splitting the work time into 25-minute sessions with short breaks in between. Listing the tasks and setting timers for their execution will not only allow you to keep focused on the current task but also track your productivity at the end of the workday.

Take Quality Breaks

Taking breaks is an essential way to keep your energy levels stable as well as recharge your focus. However, it is not only how often you take breaks or how long they are, but also their quality that matters. We are often tempted to scroll our social media feed as a way to rest. But choosing a more healthy approach to breaks can turn them into much more than a pause from working. Taking a walk or meditating, playing with your pets, or talking on the phone with your parent might benefit your mood, mental state and clear your head of cluttering thoughts.

Rethink Productivity & Take Advantage of Tech

What is work productivity? Truth is, we are conditioned to see it in the traditional way that emerged in the office-dominated world. Applying the same ideas and assessment techniques to remote work as we used to do at the office is deeply flawed. While bigger decisions, like switching to asynchronous communication are up to the executives in your company, individual action is also possible. Try talking to your team about implementing more practices that remote-first companies advocate for, such as documentation and fewer meetings. As a result of redefining what is important for your team now that you work remotely, you can cooperate in a smoother way, more suitable for your new goals.

Read up and promote the idea of innovative working instead of clinging to the old ways. Fully remote companies like GitLab are constantly putting out new insightful information on working remotely – guides, articles, tips. Being advocates of hiring remote talent, we at Coder Staffing also frequently put out tips for hiring and working as a distributes team. For example, check out our article on the best apps for remote work here. We listed collaborative tools (beyond Zoom and Slack) that will allow your team to collaborate and reach results without holding lengthy Zoom meetings, which end up draining the employees.

Hopefully, these ideas brought you closer to working smarter, not harder, and achieving your peak productivity! Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to hear the latest news in remote work and hiring.