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Mastering the Art of Remote Work

In the age of digital connectivity, working remotely has become a staple for many professionals. The flexibility it offers is unparalleled, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Without the structure of a traditional office environment, it can be easy to fall into productivity pitfalls. Here’s how to get the most out of your day while working remotely.

1. Create a Dedicated Workspace

Why It Matters:

A dedicated workspace signals to your brain that it’s time to work. This physical boundary helps in maintaining work-life balance and boosts productivity.

How to Do It:

  • Choose the Right Spot: Select a quiet area with minimal distractions.

  • Ergonomics Matter: Invest in a comfortable chair and desk. Your workspace should support good posture to prevent strain. Your company may also provide a budget for this, so make sure you check with them before rushing out to buy a new chair or desk.

  • Personalise: Make your workspace inviting. Add a plant, some artwork, or anything that inspires you. It should be a space you like being in.

2. Establish a Routine

Why It Matters:

A routine brings structure to your day, helping you stay focused and efficient.

How to Do It:

messy desk with laptop and tablet in foreground as lady brainstorms on A4 pad with pencil
  • Start with a Morning Routine: Whether it’s a workout, reading, or simply having a coffee, start your day with a consistent activity. Don't be afraid to put some space between the school run and turning the laptop on.

  • Set Working Hours: Stick to a schedule similar to a traditional workday. This helps create a clear boundary between work and personal time. Experiment to figure out what works best for you. For example, 10-6 works better than 9-5 for many, whereas I like to work 8-12 and 2-6.

  • Regular Breaks: Incorporate short breaks to rest and recharge. Where possible, walk away from your desk and do something positive. The Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break) can be very effective. This may sound like a lot of breaks, but once you add up all the times you make a coffee, chat with your colleagues, walk out to get lunch etc, you’ll find that it works out about equal.

3. Utilise Technology Wisely

Why It Matters:

The right tools can streamline your workflow, but too many can become a distraction.

How to Do It:

  • Project Management Tools: Tools like Trello, Motion, or can help you stay organised and keep track of tasks.

  • Communication Platforms: Use Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom for effective communication. Set yourself guidelines for availability and response times to avoid constant interruptions. Use 'Do Not Disturb' if you're up against a deadline or need to really concentrate.

  • Focus Tools: Apps like Focus@Will or Forest can help maintain concentration by limiting distractions.

4. Set Clear Goals

Why It Matters:

Having clear, achievable goals keeps you motivated and on track. At the start of a new role, you might want to agree these goals with your manager to make sure you are meeting expectations and know what you need to achieve.

man in blue shirt and black jeans laid on brown leather sofa working on laptop.

How to Do It:

  • Daily Goals: Start your day by outlining what you want to achieve.

  • Weekly Reviews: Reflect on your progress at the end of the week. Adjust your goals based on what worked and what didn’t.

  • SMART Goals: To get the most from our goals, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

5. Prioritise Communication

Why It Matters:

Remote work can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation. Effective communication keeps you connected with your team and helps in collaboration. Dropping someone a message or calling over Teams is not pestering them. Experienced remote workers will know how to ignore a message if they are in the middle of something urgent.

How to Do It:

  • Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular meetings with your team to stay aligned. Instead of 1 60min weekly catch up with your manager, you might schedule 2 or 3 30min meetings instead.

  • Be Proactive: Don’t wait for others to reach out. Take the initiative to communicate updates or ask for support.

  • Social Interaction: Create opportunities for casual interactions, like virtual coffee breaks or team-building activities.

6. Manage Distractions

Why It Matters:

Distractions are productivity killers. Managing them is crucial to maintaining focus.

How to Do It:

laptop on rustic wooden desk showing Teams meeting with lots of people. Hand made green mug to left of laptop
  • Identify Triggers: Recognise what distracts you the most and find ways to mitigate these. Yes, you might have to delete Instagram from your phone (made a big difference for me!)

  • Work in Batches: Group similar tasks together to minimise context switching.

  • Set Boundaries: Communicate your working hours to family or housemates to reduce interruptions. You might have to be very clear with certain people to begin with. My parents had difficulty understanding the concept that working at home is still working and would just appear for a coffee and a chat. My children also know that if my office door is closed, then I am not to be disturbed. Took a while, but we got there!

7. Take Care of Your Well-being

Why It Matters:

Your mental and physical health directly affect your productivity. Remember - you can’t be the professional and parent you want to be if you don’t look after yourself first!

How to Do It:

  • Stay Active: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Even short walks can make a big difference.

  • Healthy Eating: Avoid the temptation of frequent snacking (harder than it sounds!). Plan nutritious meals to fuel your body and mind.

  • Mindfulness Practices: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can help manage stress.

Working remotely offers incredible flexibility, but it requires a disciplined approach to make the most of your day. Remember, the key is to find what works best for you and stick with it consistently.

And if you're struggling, reach out to your Tribe coach to discus ways that will help working remotely work for you.

Adult and child hands on a computer keyboard

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