Experts predict that by 2027, more than half of the US workforce will be freelancers working from home.
At least, that was the prediction a few years ago. The ongoing pandemic has likely sped up these projections. As of June 2020, 42% of Americans were already working at home full-time.
If you’re among them, there’s no doubt things you love (and hate) about working from home. One of the most common concerns from workers making the transition is how to stay productive and how to work from home well.
You’re in luck. We asked a variety of remote workers for their best productivity tip and we’re here to share them with you today.
Keep reading for your go-to productivity guide filled with the best remote work tips!
1. Start With the Right Setup
Even if you’re not going to the office anymore, you can recreate aspects of the office at home. Reclining on the couch with your laptop (wearing your pajamas) is a sure recipe for an unproductive day.
Instead, get up and get dressed in actual clothes. You don’t have to put on a full suit and tie, but changing out of those sweatpants and baggy sweater will help to get you into the working mindset.
Next, think about your work station setup. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate home office, keep it clear of distractions. Close the door and let your family know not to interrupt you unless it’s an emergency.
If you must work in a communal area, do your best to set up an ergonomic work station. Invest in a comfortable office chair so you don’t destroy your neck and back. Or, make the switch to a standing work station, which is proven to boost productivity and energy levels.
2. (Over) Communicate
Just because we’re physically separated doesn’t mean the company culture should end. Take advantage of any and all channels to stay in touch with your supervisors and teammates.
For example, does your company have a dedicated channel on Slack? Does your manager track projects on Asana? Are there regular meetups or information sessions on Zoom or Skype?
Even if you’re not required to make use of all these channels, don’t isolate yourself. Send daily or weekly updates to anyone who needs them. Post questions in the group forum and ask others for their favorite productivity tips.
If you’re managing remote workers, there are some excellent strategies you can adopt to streamline communication. Set clear guidelines on when and how you want everyone to stay in touch. You should also schedule the occasional “virtual” office party or social event to keep everyone connected, no matter where they are.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are the enemy of productivity, so you’ve got to be proactive with this one.
Set ground rules with your family or roommates about interrupting you while you work. If it helps you focus, invest in noise-cancelling headphones or use a white noise maker to drown out background sounds.
Work in a room that’s devoid of a television or other temptations. Bring your coffee, water, and snack to your desk in the morning so you’re not wandering into the kitchen every five minutes.
If possible, set your phone to airplane mode so you won’t be interrupted by calls or messages. If you must leave it on, consider downloading some social media blocking apps to help you resist the urge to check Facebook or Twitter.
4. Stick to a Schedule
Before you started working from home yourself, you might have assumed that remote workers spent their days lounging around watching Netflix.
As you’ve likely discovered, the opposite tends to be true. Because you’re carving out time to walk the dog, take care of the kids, or attend to other household tasks during the day, remote workers often work longer hours.
Achieving the right work-life balance is especially challenging when there’s no physical separation between your work and home life. If you often find yourself working into the night or sacrificing personal time to work more hours, it’s time to create (and stick to) a fixed schedule.
This could be the same hours you worked at the office. Or you might have to tweak it to accommodate other responsibilities, like picking up the kids from school. Find something that works for you so you’re getting the “time off” you need to rest and recoup.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
Our final productivity tip is perhaps the most important.
2020 has been a tough year for all of us. Now more than ever before, it’s vital to make time to take care of yourself (and your family, if you have one).
Focus on the basics, like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating healthy meals. Take short breaks while you work to stand up, stretch, or take a quick walk around the block. When the workday is over, do something relaxing that you enjoy, whether it’s taking a bath, listening to music, or working on a creative project.
Finally, accept that you won’t feel 100% amazing or be 100% productive every single day. Sometimes you might feel anxious, lonely, frazzled, or unmotivated — and that’s okay. Cut yourself some slack and remember that what you’re feeling is normal (and it will pass).
Which Productivity Tip Will You Use First?
You’ve likely already adopted some of the suggestions in your remote working routine, but hopefully there’s at least one new productivity tip you can use.
Make sure your work station is set up to help you succeed. Communicate often with your teammates and make sure they know how to contact you. Eliminate as many dustractions as possible and stick to a regular schedule like you would at the office.
Finally, be sure to make time for self-care. You can’t be productive if you’re constantly stressed or burned out!
Now that you know how to stay productive while working from home, what’s next? Keep browsing our site for more great tips and tricks.