The Office of National Statistics recently predicted that 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by 2020. This is no surprise when you look at the benefits for employers, including a more productive workforce, higher retention rates and happier employees; to name just a few! Working for Acceleration Partners – a 100% remote working company – I am able to balance both the demands of my work and my personal life, this means more of my time is my own and less is wasted on a commuting, giving me greater control over my work day.
Remote working means you can choose to work at the times that you’re most productive and whilst you don’t have the normal distractions in an office, for many, used to a 9-5 office job the change to a remote working role can be an adjustment, it means a new routine and a whole new way of working.
Here are my top 5 tips to ensure endless productivity when remote working:
1: Create a dedicated work area
Even though research has proven time and time again that working in a remote environment significantly increases an individuals’s productivity, in order to ensure this is the case it’s vital to have a dedicated work space. For those of us who live in London a dedicated room for an office is an unlikely option. If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated room for your office, make sure you have an office area set up, even if it’s in a communal space. Purchase a desk, an ergonomic desk chair and any other office resources you need to create your workspace. Make sure you keep this area clean, quiet and organised to enable you to focus on your work.
It’s also important to recognise when you need a break from your home office or a change in scenery. I find working in local coffee shops at least once a week is a great way to keep up productivity and also meet other remote workers. Across London there are many remote working “hang outs” including, The Hoxton Hotel and Timberyard Coffee Shop. Find which one works for you and your routine.
2: Include regular breaks
Remote working, means less distractions and increased focus, but this makes it all the more important to take regular breaks. Being productive at home means you need to be honest with yourself and manage your time effectively to ensure optimum productivity. It’s very easy to get caught up in work and before you know it, you’ve not stepped outside the house all day!
You now have the freedom to make your own schedule, and it’s important to take advantage of this. When you hit a roadblock, or find yourself getting more easily distracted; take a break!
Personally, I like to take a short walk and listen to podcast, this refreshes my mind and gives me a break away from my work area. If the weather isn’t being kind (which is often the case in the UK) I use the time to do household chores such as washing, to focus my brain on a different task.
Taking time to reengage and refocus your brain has many added benefits and helps you get more out of your work day!
3: Plan out your schedule
No longer is your morning and evening wasted on endless commuting and battling with yet another delayed train or traffic jam. With this new found time and flexibility it’s important to define a clear schedule that works for you and maximises your productivity.
Remote working brings more freedom, but also more responsibility to maintain focused throughout the day. Find the times of the day where you are most productive and awake. For example I am far more productive in the morning, especially if I’m writing or planning. So I often will start at 7.30am/8.00am and then take a longer lunch to break up my day before taking calls with our US team later in the afternoon.
4: Set a morning routine that works for you
Working from home doesn’t mean checking emails in bed in your PJ’s. A steady morning routine will help you separate your professional part of your day from your personal life and ensure maximum focus.
It’s so important to start your day right! Set an alarm, get dressed and fuel for the day with a good breakfast. These small, but important tasks help you to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
I like to start the day by either going to the gym, completing some household chores or if it’s a nice morning going for a quick walk. I then like to eat breakfast whilst checking my emails and writing my to do list for the day. I always like to spend the first 15 minutes of my work day planning, to ensure I stay focused on the priorities for the day ahead
Working remotely, means that it’s more important than ever to have strong communication lines with your team. In a traditional office job you unknowingly benefit from that built in luxury of bumping into a colleague in the kitchen and talking about your weekends or a work project. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a strong connection with your team, its just about finding new ways to connect with your team and if anything working from home and awareness of the distance makes you try all that harder to create stronger bonds and work closely as a team.
Be sure to reach out to your team on a regular basis. Let them know what you’re working on and share updates on projects regularly. Regular conference calls, give you that much needed “face time” with your team as well as using team collaboration tools such as Slack, Asana and Trello to communicate and knowledge share.
It’s also worth considering having face-to-face meetings. At Acceleration Partners our London team meets for one afternoon on a bi-weekly basis for our team meeting, where we knowledge share and catch up. We also have our once a year event, AP Summit, where our global company meets for 3 days of learning, team building and knowledge sharing. All these events help strengthen team relationships and ensure optimum communication across the team.
For more tops tips, listen to our Podcast with AP’s VP of Client Services, Sarah Johnson, which talks all about how to ‘manage it all’ as a remote working parent. And if you want to join our growing remote working EMEA team, check out our current job openings.