I have been working remotely for the past one year and three months and for that period of time, it has been bliss, to say the least. Remote working has revolutionised how I approach work, how I work, and most importantly it has given meaning to work-life balance. I have a healthier diet as a remote worker, spend enough time with myself and family, get time out and at the same time stay productive.
Remote working and productivity is still a heated topic. This has been accelerated by the fact that most superiors do not believe that their employees can work without supervision. Which begets the question, how conducive is your work environment? Better outcomes and productivity are linked to the work environment so if as a superior you think that your team has to clock in to be productive then what does this say about your workplace? Remote working has given employees their lives back. We are saving more on time and money because of the lack of commute among other things.
SO how can one stay productive as a remote worker?
Working remotely for the past year has been great. I started with jumping out of bed and into meetings, working in my PJs and sometimes working till late but this wasn’t sustainable. I had to curate a routine for myself. One that was long-term and sustainable. Here is how I stay productive as a remote worker.
Solid morning routine.
As Lemony Snicket once said, “Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” A healthy morning routine sets you up for the day. iI wake up at 5.30 a.m, Pray, Manifest, work out Shower, and at 7.00 a.m I will be on my desk writing on my medium blog. This is my routine it enables me to prepare for the day i.e meetings or chats way beforehand. Just like everyone else on social media, my morning routine is my way of commanding my day and to a larger extent my week. The routine has been more powerful than a clock at helping me get started each day. Mundane tasks like dressing up, making a cup of tea and sitting at my desk indicate that I’m about to start work hence shifting from the lazy morning vibe to a corporate professional space that is needed for me to concentrate.
Softwares like Toggl aid in time management. Toggle helps to measure the amount of time spent on a certain project or task. It not only tells you how to spend time but puts you on a time crunch that fosters productivity. The time crunch in my opinion keeps me grounded. It steers away distractions like checking on Instagram or Tiktok.
I take 10-minute breaks after every 3 hours. After every hour, I stand up for five minutes. These have been crucial to my concentration. The latter is good for aiding in blood circulating and in keeping my eyes off the screen. My advice would be, if you work for an organization, know the policy on break times and take them. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. Don’t wander too far or reach for your phone, this in my experience has been destruction instead of a break.
Keep a Dedicated Office Space
I choose to have my desk in the living room next to my very big windows. For the obvious reason of letting light in. I choose the living room because my bedroom is my resting place and I wasn’t going to bring work into that space. According to an article by NBC News, In an ideal world, remote employees would have not only a dedicated office but also two computers, one for work and one for personal use. It’s more secure for the employer, and the employee. But not everyone has a spare room to use as an office in their home, and keeping two machines isn’t always realistic…
I have also put in place a set of rules, I don’t watch series, movies or play video games on my working desk neither do I eat from the desk. This is my designated work are and anything that is possible destruction is not welcome. The points of differentiation between work time and personal time help me in knowing when I’m off the clock, and that contributes to better work-life balance.
Dress up to feel professional.
As I have mentioned, I do dress up for work daily. Sometimes I do go the extra mile and apply makeup. This boosts up my mood and really kicks in the work mode. Dressing up daily is important to me as it also makes use of my clothes. Can you believe that in 2020 I made us of only 1/3 of my closet?
Set clear and concise Boundaries.
I don’t take any work calls neither do I look at emails past 6.00 p.m. This might seem like such a stretch to some but the nature of my job requires this of me. After 6.00 p.m however, you will certainly not find me in front of my laptop let alone scheming through emails.
This is the boundary that I have created for myself. When we went remote, we really struggled with burnout. I overworked myself and so did my colleagues. This of course was fuelled by the fact that no one of us had worked remotely before hence we lacked a modus operatus. A year and a half later, I can honestly say that we are doing alright.
I hope that my tips will help anyone who is navigating remote working. One thing that you have to know is that remote working works only if you want to, you are the steward of the ship and only you can ensure that you make the best of it.