The concept of remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its adoption. With summer in full swing, many professionals are once again faced with the challenge of staying productive while working remotely. Balancing work responsibilities with the lure of outdoor activities and warm weather can be a struggle. However, by implementing a few effective strategies, you can ensure that you make the most of your remote work setup this summer. In this blog post, we will explore some tips and techniques to help you stay productive and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Create a Space That Allows You to Work Your Way
One of the first steps to staying productive while working remotely is to create a designated workspace. Having a separate area for work helps establish boundaries between personal and professional life, reducing distractions and increasing focus. Set up ergonomic workstations to promote physical comfort and prevent health issues associated with prolonged computer use.
Decide Which Tasks Where
The trick to staying focused and productive on a hybrid schedule is to think through what responsibilities are best suited for the office’s more collaborative setting and which are apt for the home. People spend the largest portion of their day doing focused work. Creating a space(s) that supports a wide range of tasks can make it easy to switch between work modes. Being able to migrate between different environments will help you to focus, re-energize and de-stress as needed.
One of the setbacks you’re likely to face whether you’re in the office or working remotely is distractions. While you can control some, you can’t control them all. However, you can certainly minimize them. When working in the office, many have found it helpful to use headphones or reserve a huddle room to do deep, focused work. When working remotely, put away your phone or use productivity apps to limit social media usage. Consider using noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise. If possible, communicate your work schedule to family members or roommates, so they know when you need uninterrupted focus.
Set Up a Schedule
Setting a schedule is crucial for remote work success. Create a schedule that helps you to maintain boundaries between work and home. With the flexibility that comes with working from home, it’s easy to let the days blend together. For some, remote work means working more. Plan your work hours and stick to them as much as possible. Be clear with your colleagues and clients about your availability. By establishing boundaries, you can avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Choose 3 Chief Tasks to Do Each Morning
For many it’s common to start the morning with administrative work such as responding to emails. This habit, however, can set the tone for an unproductive day. A recent workplace distraction survey revealed that 30 percent of workers are distracted by incoming emails or chat messages. Starting the day off this way can make it difficult to refocus your attention on the higher-priority or time sensitive projects you need to accomplish. Writing down the 3 assignments on your schedule that have to be completed by the end of day, and committing to them, allows you to allocate the bulk of your time, energy and focus where it counts.
Break Up Your Day
Create time for short, intentional breaks. As technology becomes more embedded in our work environments, we need to balance that with the human connection to the natural environment. Studies have shown that people respond very positively to natural light, outside views and fresh air. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, the brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15-20 minutes). “For most of us, this natural ebb and flow of energy leaves us wavering between focused periods of high energy followed by far less productive periods, when we tire and succumb to distractions.” Dr. Bradberry advises concentrating on a task for one hour then pausing for 15-17 minutes. While it’s tempting to look at your email during this break, don’t. The most effective and refreshing breaks occur when you redirect your focus from a screen. Take a walk or read a chapter in a book- whatever helps your mind recharge.
Medical researchers have documented the physical and mental benefits of movement. Studies have also found that standing desks can help improve focus and productivity. We all know exercise keeps you healthy, but it also can increase productivity. Start your day on the right foot by establishing a morning routine. Incorporate activities that energize and prepare you for the work ahead. This might include exercise, meditation, journaling, or reading. By following a consistent routine, you can transition smoothly into your workday and set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Clear and effective communication is essential in any work environment, but it becomes even more critical in a hybrid work model. Ensure that you have access to reliable communication tools such as instant messaging platforms, video conferencing software, and project management systems. The 2021 Microsoft Work Trend Index revealed that most remote workers experience audio and visual difficulties (89% video; 85% audio). While it may be tempting to travel to the most distant parts of the world this summer, make sure your location has access to reliable internet connection.
One of the advantages of remote work is the flexibility to enjoy outdoor activities. Embrace the summer season by scheduling your outdoor pursuits strategically. Plan outings during your designated break times or outside of your work hours. By having these activities to look forward to, you can stay motivated and focused throughout the day.
Working remotely during the summer can be a balancing act between productivity and enjoying the season. By establishing a dedicated workspace, following a schedule, minimizing distractions, and staying connected with colleagues, you can ensure that your remote work experience remains efficient and fulfilling. Remember to incorporate breaks and take advantage of the flexibility to enjoy outdoor activities responsibly. With these strategies in place, you can make the most of your summer while staying on top of your work commitments.