Remote work comes with its own set of challenges. Many business owners and employees would come to discover as they explore the intricate world of work from anywhere setup.
As a beginner, the journey of remote work will be arduous. It is especially true given that it is a brand-new work style. Compared to decades of traditional office setup, there is a relative scarcity of studies and guides on how to remote work properly.
Fortunately, seasoned remote workers constantly develop new hacks for working from home. As you get used to working on your own, you will get to build styles and tricks to help you keep productivity and efficiency.
When I started six years ago, it was like walking under a blindfold. My previous work experience at a consulting firm was vastly different.
And six years later, through research and self-improvisation, I was able to create and apply several hacks that have helped my remote work journey easier and bearable.
These hacks can help businesses and companies, from large to small. I have tested them, and they all made a difference.
Here are 16 remote worker hacks to help you increase productivity, work smarter, and accomplish more daily.
1. Dress accordingly.
Remote work allows you to wear clothes that are comfortable for you. You can even start your work day in pajamas if you don’t like dressing up.
There are no dress codes, and no one can bar you from wearing what you want since you work alone from home.
Many remote employees always stay in their pajamas. According to one UK survey, 61% of women and 53% of men who work remotely don’t get dressed in the morning.
But did you know that getting dressed in the morning is a simple act that has a significant impact?
While it is comforting to stay in your pajamas all day, getting dressed significantly impacts productivity.
Psychologically, changing out of your pajamas and into “work attire” helps you transition into a work mindset. While you are not required to dress in a suit and tie, get out of your pajamas when you start your work shift.
Create a distinction between home clothes and work clothes. It will allow you to imbibe the work spirit and make a difference in your daily productivity.
2. Organize your workstation.
A cluttered desk, loose documents, or objects irrelevant to your work can quickly become a distraction when attempting to focus on the task. As a result, make keeping your desk clean one of your new habits.
You don’t need to undertake a comprehensive cleaning (though you should consider it occasionally). But it would be best to keep your desk and work area clutter-free.
If at all feasible, clean up your workplace a few minutes before the start of your workday so that you don’t have to spend time away from your work and can get your day off to a good start.
3. Cut the cords or keep them under control.
Cables and cords cause under-desk clutter. Wireless keyboards and mice are excellent options. It reduces cable clutter and gives you more alternatives for positioning your gadgets in an ergonomically proper and pleasant manner.
If you don’t want to use wireless gadgets, attach clips to the back of your desk and thread the cords through them. It keeps the cables in check while yet being within easy reach.
I’m not too fond of it when my wires and cords clutter my work desk. Thus, I prefer wireless accessories.
But wireless means they need charging from time to time. So I always ensure that I charge my wireless stuff by the end of my work day. That way, I will have no problems starting my work the next day.
4. Disable notifications and other online distractions.
While you should keep some messaging apps open in an emergency, you should switch off all non-essential notifications during working hours.
Nothing stops productivity like a phone or an app continually buzzing in the background. So, until you have checked out for the day, turn off Facebook and other social media apps.
5. Stretch those legs.
Working from home can sometimes lead to a lack of mobility. Due to lack of interaction, we can end up sitting in front of our work desk the whole day.
In a traditional office, you get to leave your workstation when you use the copier, have lunch, and interact with your officemates in the office pantry or breakroom. But these opportunities for mobility are all gone when you work at home.
It’s no surprise that remote work causes weight gain for many. And in the long run, this lack of mobility can harm your health.
Many remote workers schedule some exercise during the day to help counteract the lack of mobility. But if you are like me, who doesn’t go to the gym, taking mobility breaks can be helpful.
You can achieve mobility by taking a quick walk around the block, using a standing desk, or performing a few lunges during online meetings.
Check also some tips on how to stay healthy while working remotely.
6. Join a remote community.
Working remotely can be incredibly lonely, directly impacting your energy and drive for work. Fortunately, you have options to mingle with similarly situated individuals.
Joining a remote working community is a great way to stay in touch with other remote workers. These little social interactions can augment the lack of human interactions while working from home.
Joining a remote community benefits your health and allows you to network, build connections, share ideas, participate in remote hangouts, and attend meetings worldwide.
7. Determine when your productivity is at its best.
According to a study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, the time of day affects cognitive tasks. They discovered that the best time to work was in the early afternoon, about 1:30 p.m.
It may not be accurate for everyone, but it highlights the fact that there is a specific time for anyone to be productive.
In my case, I am productive during late mornings and late afternoons. My productivity could be better after lunch and early afternoon.
Block out your peak output hours once you’ve identified them.
For example, if you’re more productive in the afternoons, try to arrange most of your meetings in the morning. Then devote the rest of the day to focused work or projects. This productivity hack allows you to maximize productivity by considering your work style and flow.
8. Reduce your need for perfection.
Perfectionism may be viewed as a positive trait. Yet it frequently leads to numerous hours spent on minor things.
It’s preferable to complete a task than to perfect it. Because true perfection is impossible, instead of obsessing over tiny details, concentrate on completing things on time.
But it does not mean you forego perfection; you will submit a mediocre output. Quality service is non-negotiable. We must continuously aspire to provide high-quality services to our clients and employers.
9. Make a “commute” for remote work.
While this productivity hack may appear absurd initially, it can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout. Make a mental “commute” to help you prepare for the day.
Before you log on, take a walk around the block, or meditate for a few minutes. You could even read the newspaper or a book for the same amount of time you would have spent on your former commute. Then, repeat this or similar activity for the same result at the end of the day.
10. Invest in a good internet connection.
Remote work is made possible by the internet. The faster the internet connection, the more you secure your work productivity. As such, sporadic internet may kill your productivity.
When you start working from home, you need to take the time to choose a superb internet service in your area. And the internet being central to your remote work setup, feel free to pay a little extra if necessary to get the best package for what you need.
Make sure you select an internet service provider that offers excellent customer service. There’s no guarantee that you won’t have a service outage or other connectivity issues.
If that happens, you’ll want to connect easily to its customer support to help you solve the situation promptly so you can get back on track.
11. Make a to-do list at the end of the day.
Make a 15-minute to-do list for the following tasks at the end of each workday. It allows you to stop your duties, even if you still need to accomplish them and pick up where you left off the next day.
This simple exercise is also helpful in limiting your expectations so that you don’t overwork yourself. Knowing exactly what you’re doing makes it easier to shut off from work rather than ruminating on a pile of unfinished activities.
12. Reduce the time you spend in front of the screen.
We spend most of our working days in front of a screen. Thus, limiting this as much as possible in our free time is vital.
It’s difficult to relax when you’re constantly “on,” and too many of us reach for our phones every few minutes while watching a movie or eating dinner. Most of the time, I am guilty of this, as I constantly scroll and scroll endlessly.
It would be best to leave your phone in another room when you’re resting, so you don’t get sucked into passive scrolling and keep track of how much time you spend on your devices.
13. Remove any tasks that aren’t necessary.
Take a good hard look at everything you do each week when improving your work habits for optimal efficiency.
Please list anything you think you could eliminate, either because it’s not essential or because someone else (or a tool) could do it better.
Optimizing your workflow is the key here. I initially struggled with eliminating specific tasks due to my previous work at a Big four firm, where strict adherence to strict procedures is mandatory.
14. Remember to take breaks.
When you’re exhausted or burned out in the middle of your workday, sometimes all you need is a break. Making time for breaks is difficult when you’re swamped with tasks.
But taking a tiny crack can save you time in the long run. You’ll return feeling revitalized and ready to take on those massive projects.
15. Maintain your motivation.
Ask yourself “why” you feel generally burned out and uninterested. What is the significance of your daily tasks? What kind of impact do you have on the business? Is your job fulfilling to you?
You will be motivated to do an excellent job if you have a purpose in what you do. If you no longer find happiness in your career, you need to contemplate either looking for a new job or taking a short break.
Being motivated is essential to maintain continuous work productivity. And self-assessment of getting inspired to work is challenging to do.
To stay motivated, I find the purpose in what I do. I also set goals and objectives that take into consideration my remote job. I have also written tips on how to maintain motivation at work.
16. Know when to turn off the lights.
Productive remote workers can strike the delicate work-life balance by understanding when to turn it off. It is entirely up to you how you accomplish this.
All that is required is the establishment of clearly defined boundaries and limits.
Set a time when you’ll “clock out,” and then try not to respond to emails, return calls, or do anything work-related until that time has passed.
While there will be occasions when you cannot do so, these should be the exception rather than the rule.
Everyone’s strategy for optimal remote work productivity is different. Fortunately, numerous techniques exist to increase productivity without depleting your energy or reducing your leisure time.
You may be sure that your work performance will increase in the future if you combine these recommendations with some of your own best productivity hacks.