Female employee working from home on her laptop

How to Succeed at Working Remotely 

4 min read • May 24, 2020 • Jacinta Sherris

Modern technology has made it easier than ever before to work remotely. Many companies are increasingly embracing remote work to cut down on costs and improve employee satisfaction. Although many employers fear that working remotely will make their employees too distracted to be productive, studies actually show the opposite. 

One study found that, on average, remote employees work an additional 1.4 days every month compared with those in an office, which translates to an additional 16.8 days a year. One reason for this increased time is that remote employees report being more dedicated and engaged in their tasks. They are also about 13% more productive than office employees.

Although there are many benefits to remote work, it also comes with a set of unique challenges. It takes time to adjust to new ways of communicating and sharing information—even with all the benefits of modern technology.  There are some things you can do to make your employees and your company succeed at remote work.

The Right Environment Matters 

There’s a big difference between a living room couch and a designated workspace. Some people might be just as productive working where they normally relax or sleep, but some might not. It’s important to make the most optimal work environment for yourself and your employees.

Having a designated work environment away from other family members or possible distractions, like the television or telephone, is key to staying productive. It’s a good idea to find an isolated area, whether it’s an empty room or a designated corner, and set up your work environment the way you need. You’ll want to ask family members to act as if you are out of the house when you are in your office space to curtail interruptions. 

Some companies supply ergonomic tools for their employees that can range from lighting fixtures to desks and chairs. The right tools can make all the difference in staying focused. You’ll want to look into whether such provisions are a possibility for your situation.

Stay Connected 

Working remotely wouldn’t be possible without the latest technological developments that have made it easier than ever for us to communicate and share information. Numerous companies specialize in work from home communication technology, including Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft. But even with all the help available, it’s easy for communication to suffer when everyone is physically apart. You have to put in the extra effort to make sure communication is as seamless as possible. 

Ensure everyone stays logged in on the same platform for the duration of the workday—or at least when working on the same project. Encourage overcommunication. Make use of features like screen-sharing, video conferences, and even work operating systems like Monday or Trello. Read up on other ways to stay connected with your employees and team members.

Set Goals

One of the biggest hurdles people struggle with when working from home or managing a remote team is the lack of structure. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re isolated from your team or when you can choose to work when you want.  

It helps to make a list of everything you want to accomplish each day. Putting together a schedule and setting deadlines is a great way to keep everybody focused and on track. 

Remember to leave room for consistent breaks throughout the day. Studies have shown that when employees can take a break from work to go for a walk, interact with family members, or even do some household chores, it helps them focus and stay productive.    

Create Work-Life Balance

Working remotely results in more flexibility for employees. They have more autonomy with creating their work schedules and can choose when to allocate time to personal activities and family. Although increased flexibility is a plus, it can often result in a loss of a work-life balance. 

The lines between work and personal life easily blur when you move out of the office and into the home. In fact, one of the reasons for increased productivity by employees working from home may be because they are working longer hours than their office counterparts. One report found that 76% of remote employees work beyond their set hours on a weekly basis. 

It’s necessary to establish boundaries when working remotely. Establish clear expectations of when you will be available and when you expect your employees to be available. Stop checking your email after work hours unless it’s absolutely urgent. Most things can wait until the following morning or until the end of the weekend. As tempting as work may feel, it’s important to spend quality time away from the job to recharge. 

Despite some challenges, remote work brings a host of benefits for both companies and employees. Because of the benefits, remote work is becoming an increasingly significant part of the modern-day workplace. 

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Jacinta Sherris

Jacinta Sherris is a freelance writer with a BA in economics from New York University. Since 2017, she has contributed numerous lifestyle and finance articles to a wide range of clients, including Jurdu.com and MoneyLion. When Jacinta’s not writing, she spends her free time exploring artistic passions like acting, painting, and photography.