3 Essential Tools for Effective Remote WorkAUTHOR: Daniela McVicker
The current situation with the pandemic forced the entire world to switch to remote work.
In February 2020, the number of remote workers in America was 3.9 million. Now, this number could easily have tripled.
In the interview with CNBC, Kate Lister, the president of Global Workplace Analytics, said that the world had seen a 10% growth in remote work trend over the past ten years. Coronavirus, however, could significantly accelerate this trend, and she even presumes that it could cause a permanent shift towards remote work.
As the world goes through this abrupt shift, people, forced to make changes in their lifestyle, face a number of challenges. One of them is remaining productive when surrounded by the distractions of your own home.
Common Problem for Beginners
Our productivity is challenged by the current coronavirus. Even though we have all the tools to work from any place in the world, it would be incorrect to claim that having these tools at your disposal would automatically make you productive.
There is a big chance that once you transfer to the home office, you will lose productivity. This is a common challenge that freelancers experience at the beginning of their careers.
There are basically two scenarios that can develop:
- You will lose productivity right away. This is connected to the abrupt switch in the working environment, and a variety of distractions that are waiting for you at home. How do freelancers usually tackle this issue? The experiment done by Ladders has shown that going to work in a coffee house boosts productivity up to 87% and works great for short tasks. In the current situation, however, switching your environment is impossible due to quarantine.
- You will overwork yourself. Others claim that right after switching to the home office, they feel a boost of productivity and tend to overwork themselves. 33% of freelancers in the 2018 survey said they had a problem shutting down at the end of the workday. As a result, they find it difficult to find the motivation to work the next day, as they need more time to recover after exhausting all their energy.
To deal with productivity loss, project management software is not enough. There are other factors that impact productivity, including workplace organization, health, and personal management.
And while there isn’t we can do to help you organize your workplace (we leave it for you to figure out), we can help you manage other factors that impact productivity with the following tools.
1. Personal Management Tool
Personal management is about planning your personal goals in accordance with the resources that you have to support these goals. This approach, however, can also be used to plan your work from home by managing the tasks you need to do on a daily basis.
Personal management usually means dividing your goals into short-term and long-term ones. At FacileThings, we think that it is better to break down your workflow into five steps:
Step #1: Capturing
You capture every task that you currently need to do, both in the short-term and long-term perspective.
Step #2: Clarifying
You give a vast explanation of every task that you have while checking the availability of resources to complete each of your tasks.
Step #3: Organizing
You rank your tasks according to urgency and the availability of resources. If you don’t have resources to complete the task, you set it aside and don’t focus on it until the resources are provided to you.
Step #4: Reviewing
You go through this system every day to check how effective your performance is.
Step #5: Doing
You practice this system on a daily basis until it becomes your routine.
This system is called Getting Things Done and is aimed at creating an effective workflow that helps you manage your productivity as you hold yourself accountable for achieving or failing at achieving your goals.
However, you shouldn’t expect the results right away. It takes time until this system becomes your routine. But as we are forced to switch to remote work, using this personal management tool is worth your effort, as it will help you become more organized and motivated to work from anywhere.
2. Health Management Tool
It is interesting how maintaining high physical activity affects work productivity.
Harvard Business Review studied the topic of physical activity at a workplace back in 2014. After examining several studies, the researchers found that on days when workers attended a gym at their workplace, their experience at work changed.
They reported that it was easier for them to manage time and communicate with their colleagues. Surveyed workers also reported that they experienced higher productivity than on days when they didn’t exercise.
Luckily, when working at home, you don’t need a home gym to remain productive. Something as simple as a free mobile app, like 7-Minute Workout or Freeletics, can help you maintain that productivity.
Regular exercise should become your second habit. Knowing how to manage your health, even during the times of pandemic, will not only improve your work productivity but also will boost your immune system and increase your energy levels.
So, start adopting this habit now. As the world moves on after the pandemic ends, this habit will help you stay fit around the world while you travel, and while working from your home.
3. Time Management Tool
Poor time management is the enemy of productivity. Especially when you have just switched to the home office and don’t know how to allocate your resources and time to manage your work and home responsibilities.
To find what works best for you, study the experience of the companies that have introduced the home office option to their workflow a long time ago. Many writing companies, for instance, have incorporated time management worksheets, where every employee has to indicate the hours they spent working.
For personal management, you can use tools like Clockify or Todoist, which have the deadline tracker feature that will hold you accountable and help you make sure that you complete all your daily goals.
The current situation is difficult for us all. It is natural that we all feel a bit dazed and uneasy because of the abrupt changes the world is currently going through.
It is important, however, to remain calm and take a practical view of the situation. There is a possibility that the entire world will go remote at one point, and the current pandemic is a good practice for us to learn how to do it right.
So, start today with personal management, health management, and time management tools. They will help you make the switch to the home office easier on you and your health and will help you remain productive and motivated.