4 Interesting Productivity Hacks for Remote WorkersPublié le 8 July 2021
As employees adapt to long-term remote work, it’s important to do so in a way that allows them to work at their best. With 4 interesting productivity hacks for remote workers, employees will be able to perform efficiently and do their best work.
Remote work is the future. McKinsey and Co. analyzed 800 jobs to learn what can be done remotely and what needs to be done in-office. Unsurprisingly, many tasks and projects are not location-dependent. For instance, they found 76% of tasks in the financial sector could be done remotely, as well as 68% of tasks related to management. While the pandemic kicked off remote work for many employees, companies are already looking for long-term hybrid models with part-time remote work that will benefit employers and employees moving ahead in a changed work environment.
Whether you plan to work from home full- or part-time, building beneficial habits can set the foundation for an effective workflow. You can start this habit-building process by incorporating 4 interesting productivity hacks for remote workers into your daily routine.
4 Interesting Productivity Hacks For Remote Workers
- Identify your peak productivity times
- Leverage natural light into your workspace
- Create a remote work “commute”
- Understand your unique distractions
1. Identify Your Peak Productivity Times
One of the beauties of remote work is the flexibility it can offer. Even if you have to be online during certain hours, you still have a little autonomy over your day to plan out tasks or breaks when they best suit you.
As such, evaluate how you work to understand when you’re most productive. Some people prefer to hit the ground running in the mornings, while others need a few hours to warm up. According to a study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, the time of day has an impact on cognitive tasks. They found the optimal work hours to be in the early afternoon, around 1:30 pm. This might not be true for everyone, but it points out that you shouldn’t discount after-lunch work sessions.
Once you identify your peak production hours, block them out. For example, if you’re productive in the afternoons, schedule most of your meetings in the morning, whenever possible. Then leave the later part of the day for heads-down tasks or projects. This productivity hack allows you to utilize your own work style and flow to be as effective as possible.
2. Leverage Natural Light in Your Workspace
The light in your office can have a significant impact on how you feel and work. A recent study found that employees who work in areas with natural light experience higher levels of job satisfaction and performance. Half of the surveyed employees cite comfortable light as the most important workplace perk. Therefore, the sun has the power to change your mood and (literally) frame your workplace in a better light.
In their guide, Tweak the Lighting to Jumpstart Your Performance, the experts at 4PSA explain that working in natural light can prevent eye strain, headaches, and other problems that come with staring at a computer all day. When viewing the outdoors, you’re also more likely to take short breaks to get out into nature, resting your eyes further and helping you relax. They recommend incorporating shades or window treatments that allow you to control the amount of light in your office throughout the day. (You want to avoid screen glare and other potential issues).
The great news is you have complete control of where you put your at-home office. So use this productivity hack to optimize the natural light in your home and give yourself a better working environment. Of the 4 interesting productivity hacks for remote workers, opening a window and letting some light in may be the easiest to accomplish.
If natural light isn’t available for your workspace, take time throughout the day to get outside. Even taking a short break for a 15-minute walk can offer benefits.
Remember, natural sunlight is a luxury in some areas in the winter months. So take advantage of it when you can! It might just help you fight the winter blues when the cold seasons roll around.
3. Create a Remote Work “Commute”
When the pandemic caused workers to stay home, they found themselves with more time during the day because of the missed commute. So what did we do with that free time? Unfortunately, more work. A survey by VoxEU found 35% of Americans (the majority) used their missed commute time to work longer hours.
The culprit for longer hours is that tricky work-life balance. When your work and personal lives operate in the same space, it’s difficult to separate the two. Moreover, there’s no physical commute to provide a buffer between work mentality and home mentality. Just think about it, whether you drive, walk, or take public transport, you typically use that time for yourself—listen to the radio or podcasts, zone out, chat on the phone, or scroll social media. Without that commute period, the lines can blur, and we can miss out on that extra time for our well-being. Not to mention long hours can have detrimental effects on our health.
“The idea that we need to work to transition from our home role to our work role is not always intuitive,” says Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School. “One would think that switching roles is as easy as putting on a different hat. It turns out that transitioning between roles takes time and effort, and it’s a part of the day we need to pay more attention to.”
While it might feel silly at first, this productivity hack can help maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout. Create a mental “commute” to prepare yourself for the workday. This could be a walk around the block or a brief meditation before you log on. You could even take the same number of minutes you spent on your old commute and read the newspaper or a book. Then, repeat this or a similar activity at the end of the day for the same effect.
Developing this barrier gives you time to mentally unwind from the workday and “clock out.” This is important for those days when you tell yourself, “maybe I’ll just check a few emails after dinner.” (We’ve all done it before). Moreover, when you have set working times, you’ll be more productive and results-oriented; you won’t leave tasks for later.
4. Understand Your Unique Distractions
Everyone has their own vices and distractions with remote work. Some of us catch up on chores, like folding laundry in-between tasks. Others extend their lunch breaks longer than needed, or we answer calls or browse social media feeds. Don’t feel guilty. This just means you need to include some of the 4 interesting productivity hacks for remote workers that stop you from getting side-tracked by those longer distractions.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, small, scheduled work breaks can help your brain recharge and stay on task. It’s those major distractions that keep you from working successfully. (Think: “I’ll just prep dinner now and put it in the oven for later.”)
The key is to identify what distracts you each day and when those distractions occur. Then take steps to eliminate them. Monitor your workflow and take note of the non-work-related activities you do in a day and when you perform them. Write them down for a few days to get a full picture. Do these distractions occur when you’re bored with your current task? When you have to start a big project, and you’re avoiding it? When you’re feeling sluggish in the mid-afternoon?
Now that you have your list, try to eliminate those time-sucking activities that don’t add anything to your day. For example, install an app that blocks social media sites for a few hours each day, preventing you from needlessly scrolling Twitter. For those in-home distractions you truly enjoy, use them as rewards. For instance, if you hit your morning goals, indulge in a chapter of your current book or a short episode of a fave show.
When you feel yourself hitting those moments that lead you to diverge from work, allow yourself a short, sanctioned break so you don’t fall off the deep end into a 30-minute YouTube rabbit hole. Instead, do a few stretches, grab a snack. Or set a timer to take a five-minute walk every two hours.
Use these Productivity Hacks for Remote Workers to Level Up Your WFH Routine
These 4 interesting productivity hacks for remote workers can go a long way in helping you optimize your remote workflow. Remember, everyone’s different. It’s best to experiment with different tricks and tips to find what’s most ideal for you. Stay curious and observant. When you feel like you’re not your most constructive self, try an iteration of one of these hacks. But also listen to your body and mind. It’s easy to sometimes ignore what we need when working on our own.
Productivity can be elusive. And long-term remote work takes time to get used to. Give yourself grace and enjoy the many perks along the way!