It's been almost a year since the pandemic started and we switched to remote working. We are learning more and more about its advantages and disadvantages and how to collaborate remotely, but we are still looking for new solutions and ideas to improve our operations.
So, how can we do it even more efficiently?
Consider getting away from your browser and adopting some software to increase productivity and be able to even work while offline. Along with connecting to your email provider, your email client can house apps like Asana, Evernote, Slack, and Whatsapp. So, instead of toggling between tabs, you'll be on one platform to get dozens of different tasks completed. Mailbird is one of the best email clients for Windows and a version for Mac is apparently on its way.
Carla Andre-Brown, Content Marketer, www.getmailbird.com
My tips for the remote work would be to think like a remote hiring employer. This is what an employer may look while hiring:
- Focus on your needs. What does your perfect freelancer look like?
- Figure out your communication style
- Set expectations and hold people to them
- Over communicate at all times
- Treat work as collaboration
- Give Honest feedback
- Give test projects
- Encourage Feedback and ideas
I would try to be the employee that can satisfy the points mentioned with the employer perspective.
Usama Amin, SEO Executive, Digital Aimz, www.digitalaimz.com
Since we are a fully remote company with a focus on freelancers and digital nomads who mostly work remotely, we can provide some very useful tips here: https://rimuut.com/blog/tips/how-to-build-a-remote-work-culture
Barış Şahin, Growth Manager, Rimuut, www.rimuut.com
Earlier there were few companies who use to hire employees remotely or who allowed their employees to work remotely. But, after COVID most of the companies & individuals were forced to work remotely, from their homes.
It's almost a year now that I am working from home. Here are a few tips from my experience of working remotely and managing my team:
1. Have fixed work timings at the company level. Though remote working gives you the flexibility to work as per your convenience & the time that is suitable to you I would highly recommend ensuring that you & your teams are working on pre-decide working hours. If possible even fix the lunch break time.
I have faced situations when I wanted to have a discussion with teammates & at different times different people were available. To get them on a discussion call I use to call them & ask them to come online to join the meetings. Having a fixed working hour even when working remotely is crucial so that important business hours are not lost in co-ordinations.
2. Have a separate working space at your place. Though you can work from any place in your home it's important to have a separate room to work so that there is no disturbance & you are able to focus on the tasks at hand. Else it's very easy to get distracted & lose focus.
3. Explain to your family that when you are working you should not be called for household stuff. When I started working from home I faced this situation when my family uses to call me for various household stuff which use to waste important business hours & I had to cover up late in the evening. But then I made them understand the responsibility I have in my organization & the importance of being online with the team.
I think if you can take care of these then you should be able to easily manage to work remotely.
Vineet Gupta, SEO Strategist, 5 Minutes SEO, www.5minutesseo.com
Decide on a schedule. At the beginning of the day create working, lunch and rest time.
Skirmantas Venckus, CMO, www.sender.net
People can quickly become less proactive when working from home; all those uplifting statistics about remote employees' 82% less stress and 86% more productivity are valid only if their employers' collaboration processes are 100% set right. In 2021, I'd focus more on team communication strategies for remote workers. Use the right communication channels for setting clear goals and expectations: It's not enough to set tasks; employees need to see those tasks' purpose and their role in the overall business process. Determine what communication channel they prefer, and share the right information with them! When they work from home, it can be even more challenging for you to catch their attention; so, do your best to understand what they need — and communicate that info only. Personalize your messages, allow time flexibility, and recognize their accomplishments: Working remotely, we all need even more interaction and encouragement to stay proactive and productive.
Lesley Vos, Content Strategist at Bid 4 Papers, www.bid4papers.com
Time and time again, you'll hear people give the same remote working tips: make sure you get dressed, make a dedicated workspace, take breaks, and separate work time from home time.
As a long-time remote worker, I can tell you that it's good advice. Everyone gives the same tips for a reason (they work). I used to give people these tips, and then go ahead and ignore it myself. Eventually, I learned the hard way!
Lastly, I'd add one more thing: critically review how many virtual calls & meetings you're having in a week. I find that, pretty often, people are having more Zoom calls than necessary. Sometimes asynchronous communication is better for everyone. People can get to your message when it's good for them, rather than interrupting whichever task they're currently working on to take a call.
Ryan Prior, Marketing Team Lead, Toggl Plan www.toggl.com
Remote working doesn't have to mean a disconnect from your team. Utilise tools such as Monday and Zoom for easy collaboration and organisation of projects and tasks. More important than anything else, however, is ensuring that you take some time to invest into your mental health as not everybody deals well with being at home alone for long periods. You can take steps to manage your mental health by taking time for a long walk every day, and even using apps like Calm and The Mindfulness App. These two things alone will ensure you keep a great state of mind with a high level of productivity. Another tip is to dress up as if you were heading out to the office, this is all that's usually required to get your brain ready for work.
Marty Rogers, Co-Founder, Fresh Lead Finder, www.freshleadfinder.com
The best remote work tip I have is to make sure to have flexible hours so you can choose your hours just as you can choose your location. You're already working from your home, so what's the point in forcing someone to work an arbitrary 9-5 shift? Unless you work in customer support or sales, you should be able to work a flexible schedule.
Petra Odak, CMO at Better Proposals, www.betterproposals.io
Remote Work can be great but it can also get real old real fast. Working remotely (especially working from home) one day a week a lot different than permanent remote work. The most common issues that remote work has are distractions and slow internet. To avoid them, find or setup a dedicated workstation inside your home, keep an alternate connection available. If these options are not feasible, check the co-working spaces in your locality out. There are spaces that offer co-working in socially distant spaces. Almost all spaces are enforcing wearing mask, some take temperatures upon arrival, all of them have adequate info for all users to ensure there's a good contact tracing system in place if needed. Also there are a lot of flex workspace locations with meeting rooms that ensure you have a dedicated private space to work.
Vaishali Badgujar, Content Marketer, Time Doctor, www.timedoctor.com
With almost nine months of distributed working, it's safe to say that teams have embraced remote work. However, communication is still a big challenge. Especially for teams that work across geographies and time zones.
Here's an easy tip:
Make work visual to overcome team communication challenges. Visualizing work brings clarity about who needs to do what, and by when. Tools like Calendars, Kanban boards and Gantt timelines make it easy to visualize work. And, apps like Trello and Toggl Plan make it super easy to adapt these tools for a distributed team.
Jitesh Patil, SEO & Content Specialist, www.toggl.com
Buy a new router than your internet company provides. While I'm waiting for a new-one, I already know I can get ~50 MB transfer uplift. It blocked me from some webinars and streamings. Now it has changed.
Maciej Wilczynski, CEO, Valueships, www.valueships.com
My remote work tip as a first-time mom, get your baby into a scheduled sleep! At first, when my baby didn't have the concept of night and day, it was difficult to work continuously, as a result, I also wasn't able to focus which is very important in my work because I deal with marketing strategy. Having your baby schedule her sleep, it'll allow you to work continuously (and quietly!). On a more professional note, having a prioritized list for your tasks within the day allows you to work more efficiently by completing those tasks are impactful overall.
Katreena Sarmiento, Director of SEO Operations, www.galacticfed.com
- Schedule breaks: If you're like me and most other remote employees, you're likely working more hours than you would if you were working in the office. There are usually less distractions at work and the lines between work/home often get blurred. Schedule breaks to avoid burnout. Here are some additional tips for fighting burnout.
- Have systems in place: Have an open calendar or project management tool so that your manager can see what you are working on and the progress of your efforts are clearly shown. This helps build trust with your manager and makes them less likely to micromanage.
- Take the opportunity to create "water cooler" talk: One of the biggest downsides of not working in an office is that there are less opportunities for impromptus chit chat between team members. Be cognizant of this and make an effort to create some chats. If you are using Slack for internal communications, check out the Donut app which encourages these types of conversations.
Datis Mohsenipour, Director of Marketing, www.heyorca.com
First and foremost, those who work remotely should make sure they have the right tools not only for productivity, but also for connectivity and communications. Access to office suites like Google Workspace is a must, together with video conference tools (Zoom), file- and screen-sharing software (TeamViewer), and project or task management apps (Asana). Having the tools is not always enough -- security also matters. So my next tip is to have a cybersecurity plan. This could involve getting antivirus or anti-malware software, utilizing VPNs to ward off cyberattacks, or adopting improved password safety protocols. For teams in general, a good tip is to continue some of the routines they've been accustomed to even before shifting to remote work. For example, they can continue having the usual strategic and standup meetings, or even as simple as having coffee breaks together while working remotely. Continuing some of the familiar routines not only aid collective productivity, but also build teamwork, camaraderie, and solidarity, even in a remote team setting.
Chris Porteous, Founder, My SEO Sucks, www.myseosucks.com
Keep your life balanced by turning off your laptop at the same time each day.
Every morning, before you open your laptop, make a firm decision for a time when you'll close it again. Not only does having a deadline makes you more focused and productive, but it helps keep your stress levels in check too.
There's always another email to be sent or a task to finish. But to stay effective (and sane) you need downtime - make it a priority to 'shut-down' at the same time every day no matter how long your to-do list seems.
Eric Evan Haim, Co-founder, www.reconvert.io
With the growth in technology, it is becoming increasingly easy to take your work outside the office and deliver from wherever you want. No doubt, remote working is fascinating and advantageous. Yet, it accompanies its own set of challenges. Here are few tips you can utilize to stay inspired, creative, and productive while adapting to this emerging work trend.
1. Identify your working style and know your most productive hours, which could be in the morning or evening.
2. Have a schedule and convey your work timings with your reporting managers to ensure accountability, transparency, and trust.
3. Set a designated workspace in your home or remote working location, where you can focus on the tasks at hand without interruptions.
4. Invest in noise-canceling headphones to gain the required peace, enhance focus and let others know that you are working and shouldn’t be disturbed.
5. Have a strict log out time to have enough time to do activities you enjoy and spend some quality time with family and friends.
6. Take regular breaks to prevent work stress, restore energy and improve your performance.
7. Never miss your self-care and exercise regime for renewed energy, vibrance, positivity, and joy.
David Miller, Project Manager, ProProfs Project, www.proprofs.com
Staying productive at home while remote working can take a little extra effort. One of the best tips to keep you staying productive and get your tasks done is choosing the right spot for your workspace.
Try to find yourself a comfortable spot to work that you can focus on the tasks you’re working on and leave when you’re off the clock. That’s said, a comfortable spot doesn’t mean it has to be too comfortable because it tends to make you procrastinate and less productive -- it’s a pain to stay on task and not get interrupted. So, avoid working on your bed or couch.
Even a chair on a small corner in your kitchen or a desk in the middle of my living room can be a dedicated workspace. The key here is to work from a spot where you can’t go relax, where you can close the door and shut out distractions.
Andre Oentoro, CEO of Breadnbeyond, www.breadnbeyond.com
Take a break every 30 minutes. It is super important to progress through your task list but don't get carried away, it's important for your eye health and productivity to take a 5 - 10 break from your work. Better yet, reward yourself with a break when you accomplish a task.
Stand up more often. At the start of lockdown, I treated myself to an extending workstation so that I could spend my working afternoon standing. This worked wonders for my productivity as I began to tackle tasks that sat on my pipeline for months. The increased bloodflow helps with brain function (for me, anyway) and if it's placebo - I'll still take it.
Jamie Irwin, Director, Straight Up Search, www.straightupsearch.com
Set-up a dedicated support for BCP issues for the continual assistance of IT
IT teams play a major role in remote support. It is recommended that IT comes up with a separate email address, like (email@example.com ) to address queries and concerns from employees working remotely. This will help the service desk route queries to the relevant team and leave the other channels uncluttered.
Preetha Devakumar, Digital Marketing Analyst, www.freshservice.com
Aim at establishing flexible working schedule.
Working from home doesn't mean you have to stick to a classic 9-5, like you'd do in the office. Use the opportunity that remote work gives you and make your own working schedule (as much as your employer allows you to). Organise your work around your free time, make space for wellness breaks, go for a walk, do yoga before a Zoom meeting, spend time making a healthy meal. This shift in the way we work makes us realise that work schedules don't have to be stiff and stagnant, they can be dynamic and flexible, making work itself more enjoyable, and you more productive.
Alicja Olko, Outreach Manager, CandyBar, www.candybar.co
Don't let your team reach Zoom fatigue. While video meetings are productive, too many lead to burnout, eye strain, and more serious long terms problems. Stagger your meetings and communicate a definitive end time per meeting.
Dominic Kent, Director of Content Marketing at Mio www.m.io
Go (completely) paperless
The last thing you want when doing remote work is to keep printing paper. It’s expensive, wasteful, and serves no purpose when you’re a remote worker.
Instead, use the chance to digital work and watch out for options to go completely paperless. For example, you can embrace online signature solutions
With electronic signatures, you can hire remote workers from all over the world through legally-binding signatures. There’s no need of meeting somewhere or shipping an envelope filled with documents for them to ship it back.
All you need to do is to upload your document to the online signature platform, place the electronic signature fields, and send it to your signees. It’s that simple.
If you truly want to thrive with remote working, embracing online signatures isn’t a matter of preference, it’s a matter of time.
Will Cannon, CEO, Signaturely, www.signaturely.com
Give your team a channel to socialize
A big part of working as a team is the socialization and comradery you get from working shoulder to shoulder with like-minded people. In the office, it’s easy to talk about topics that aren’t from work during lunch, at the water cooler, or even while taking a quick break at their desks.
It’s this socialization that takes a group of people and makes it into a team. However, remote workers have none of those channels to socialize, and many managers and team leaders make the mistake of not creating a channel for it.
That’s why it’s crucial to create channels where co-workers can talk about stuff that’s not work-related.
Set up a channel to talk about tv, share tips, or post memes. You can set up a channel for people to post pics of their pets, or share how they’ve upgraded their home office.
Whatever you do, make sure your team has plenty of venues to socialize if you want to get a strong and highly-motivated group of people.
James Davis, Head of Marketing, Messagely, www.messagely.com
Embrace finance transparency
In the world of remote working, finance instability is extremely common. People feel like they’re easier to replace, and remote workers often have to get multiple remote jobs to compensate for the diminished pay.
That’s why embracing finance transparency is so important.
Let your team know how the business is doing. This will help them know just how stable their job is, and will motivate them to keep up the hard work.
You should also check up on their financial situation fairly regularly. For some reason, talking about finances is somewhat taboo even though they’re a constant part of life.
Take reduced hours into consideration and help them with financing tips. You can even use your finance experts to help them file taxes or solve their doubts.
Plus, checking up on their financial situation will let you know how they’re doing, and it can help you balance the workload according to your employees’ needs.
Max Benz, Founder, BankingGeek, www.bankinggeek.com
Dress for the job you want
Working from home gives you the choice of whether or not you’ll wear pants for work. And it’s very obvious that multiple people decide to wear their PJs all day or wear a comfortable pair of training trousers and slippers.
However, you should still dress up to go to work.
I can point to all the funny situations that have happened during these lockdown times with wardrobe malfunctions, but there’s one bigger reason to dress for work: mental health.
Getting dressed before you start working sets your mind into “work mode”. It lets your mind know that it needs to prepare for the day ahead, and helps create a boundary between your work life and your home life. Plus, it gets you ready for any impromptu meetings you may have.
And, when you take off your work clothes and slip into your PJs, it’ll be easier to let your work problems slip away and wind down for the day.
Lisa Dietrich, Founder, RemoteCanteen, www.remotecanteen.com
Explaining new processes or projects may be difficult when working remotely. Especially if you are onboarding a team member who's brand new to your remote workspace. Creating an explainer video can help give your teammates behind-the-scenes intel to communicate information efficiently and help build your brand and digital workspace.
Eliza Nimmich, Content Marketer, www.biteable.com
Remote work has become the new normal, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and it is time for all businesses to embrace it completely.
Here are some of my favorite remote working tips to improve productivity and manage your team:
1. Use good remote conferencing and team collaboration tools to ensure the smooth functioning of all teams.
2. Build a culture of trust by enforcing accountability through small, daily goals rather than micromanagement.
3. Make a clear work schedule and clearly assign roles and responsibilities, so that everyone knows what they are responsible for and when they need to deliver.
4. Encourage everyone to have dedicated workspace instead of working from the bedroom, to improve productivity.
Janki Sharma, Associate Editor, N2N Digital, www.n2ndigital.co
My best remote work tip is to have a strict division between the hours you work, and hours you don’t.
Because you'll be working from home, it’s insanely easy to extend work hours beyond what's reasonable and healthy, and often it'll seem justifiable to do so.
But if you do this regularly, your health will suffer, along with your productivity.
It’s paradoxical, but working fewer hours and having a clear cut-off point when you have to stop working no matter what makes you much more productive, efficient and effective.
Nikola Roza, Owner of Nikola Roza, SEO for the Poor and Determined, www.nikolaroza.com