6 Ways to be a Productive Remote Employee During COVID-19

Rahama Obadak
Marketing & Comms, Flexisaf

6 COVID-19 Productivity tips for working remotely

With the outbreak, a lot of us have been forced to work remotely, for our own safety and as our own way of stopping the spread of the virus. Over the course of the past decade, individuals who incorporate remote work into their professional lives has increased by 140 percent. The benefits include flexibility for the worker not being uprooted from their home, figuring out what works for you and yeah social distancing. This is isn't new though as 40 percent of employers are offering remote work. With this perk comes new challenges as well. Without the office structure that you are used to, working remotely can test your motivation and bring on feelings of isolation. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! Follow these tips for working remotely to boost your productivity and reap the benefits.

1. Keep Your Home Life and Work-Life Separate

This can be a challenging aspect for new and existing remote employees, especially if your office setup is ten steps from your living room or the bedroom where your mattress constantly calls on you. Try not to fall into the habit of letting the line between your professional and home lives blur. Without the physical supervision of your boss, it can be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day or watch Netflix while you work. Instead, take a moment to get dressed for the “office” to change your attitude and outlook on productivity. After all, dressing for success is psychological. Simply wearing clothes that make you feel like a professional will alter your perception of yourself and your abilities and set you up for 'work'.

2. Over-Communicate

Just because there isn’t someone physically managing you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening digitally. Communicating more than you have to can translate a lot about your work ethic. It shows that you are willing to put your very best even with the pandemic. You should value your manager’s time (chances are, they have to report to someone else about your work, so keeping them in the loop makes their life and yours easier) and your responsibilities, and ensure that you are transparent at all times. Frequently communicating is also vital to productivity when collaborating on team projects. Without your physical presence, it’s often difficult for your colleagues to understand what work you’re tackling or ideas you’re presenting. Relying on systems of unified communication tools can help support team workflow even without having every member present.

tips for working remotely

3. Figure Out What Works for You

One of the beauties of working remotely is, that you can make your own schedule or decide to stick to the official working hours. If you have a video conference at noon, you shouldn’t deny attendance because you start your day at one. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for flexibility. Perhaps you’re an early bird, finding yourself most productive in the morning. If you notice the bulk of your meetings happen between 11am and 2pm, then working at 7am to 3pm might be your best fit. Conversely, maybe you work in a creative field and your innovation ramps up in the early evening. Do your smaller, more mechanical tasks (hello, emails and office calls) earlier in the day and leave heavier work to be done in the evening. The beauty of not working in an office is that you don’t have to be confined by a structured schedule. Test out various workday structures and figure out what helps you be your most productive in this period.

4. Once You Do...Be As Consistent As Possible

After determining what schedule fits your needs, stick to it. Keeping a consistent schedule can offer benefits that will overall increase productivity in this period as we don't know how long it will last. These include improving physical wellbeing and maximizing the amount of work you complete with the time you have.Additionally, consistency can help the greater efficiency of the company, both on a larger scale and within smaller teams. Keeping a consistent schedule will allow your teammates to rely on you throughout the day, confident in what hours you will be available to communicate. And ensuring that your team remains as efficient as you've always been.

5. Be Social Not A Shut In

Regardless of the current social distancing, you’re as much a part of the company as you were when you had to enter the office every day. After you’ve gotten through the daily meetings with your colleagues, utilize social media to network. This will provide opportunities to talk about life beyond work and build relationships as you would in the break room.

If you’re itching for some in-person interaction, now is probably not the time, but you can try collaborating in real-time.

6. Get Moving

According to a Harvard Business Review report, physical activity is imperative to your professional productivity. They argue that fitting it into your everyday schedule should be made a priority. Fitting physical activity into your workday will boost focus, allow for greater cognitive ability, and maximize creativity. Taking an hour to move around will also relieve any strain your eyes may experience from looking at screens all day (you don't want to be couch potato). Working remotely will keep you attached to your devices. This makes communication faster and easier, but can certainly take a toll on your well-being. Whether you go out for a walk while keeping the much needed distance or you walk around the house, your body and brain will thank you.

Working remotely comes with a unique, new-age style of work that offers a wide variety of benefits as well as its challenges. Being mindful of these tips for enhancing productivity will help you acclimate to your new professional environment- or rather, lack thereof during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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