The perks of working remotely are undeniable. Your transportation costs are nearly diminished, you have more control over your work-life balance and you can set your own culture.
A uStamp study reported 65% of companies allow employees to work remotely and 69 percent of remote employees say they feel liberated being able to work away from the office.
Yet there is a sacrifice that comes with working from home or co-working in a shared office away from the rest of your team. According to Talent Development, 46% of remote employees say they feel isolated due to a lack of face-to-face contact with team members. That lack of face-to-face contact can lead to a loss of motivation.
“Productivity is all about mindset, energy, and routine,” said Brett Pessis, Senior VP at Hearing Fusion.
Whether you telecommute from your home office or co-work in a small office away from the rest of your team, there are several ways you can keep yourself focused, energized and productive in your remote environment.
Get Up & Dressed for the Day
Working remotely from your team makes it easy to fall prey to the temptation of sleeping in and getting your work done as you please. It’s hard to do with no team accountability, but make yourself get up early in the morning and create a routine. This small change gets your brain going and studies have shown that doing this turns you into a more productive person.
Additionally, it’s important to “dress for work.” A study published in Human Resources Development Quarterly by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl found workers feel most authoritative, trustworthy and competent when wearing more formal business attire.
Often times the separation from the team or office can make it very tempting to sit in sweats all day during work – resist the temptation! Separating work clothes from lounge clothes can help create your routine and set clear boundaries between work and relaxation.
Know when to Stop
Take breaks and know when to stop for the day. Set goals for yourself throughout the workday that are reasonable and allow you to complete your work in time to do the evening activities with those who have a traditional 8 to 5 schedule.
Breaks also create checkpoints for you to assess your progress. The Harvard Business Review reported that picking up where you left off after an intermission forces you spend a few seconds thinking globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve.
Working remotely allows more freedoms during the day than traditional office jobs – one of these is working out. Exercise plays a clear role in motivation and self-discipline and can increase your productivity.
A University of Bristol study on the effects of exercising during the workday found that 72% of employees experience improved time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, 79% experience improved mental and interpersonal performance, and 74% are able to manage their workloads better.
So, start the morning with a workout or take a midday exercise break. Join a yoga class or find a running buddy in your shared office. Stick to an exercise routine and you’ll feel better, rest better and perform better.
Network & Interact with People
If you work strictly from home, this one can be tricky. However, if you are fortunate enough to work in a co-working office space, this can be easy. In fact, Officevibe reported that 91% of co-workers say they have better social interactions with people after co-working.
These shared office spaces allow you to have the traditional “water cooler talk” but with folks working for vastly different companies. This is a great way to discover new trends in business, link up with potential new partners, and make friends that make the workday seem that much faster.
“Our Chicago team is small and scrappy so it’s awesome to work in a shared space where we can have both our autonomy and a community,” said Paul Vogelman, Chicago Metro General Manager at Caviar. “An unexpected benefit of working in a shared space is that we’re able to get real-time feedback from real customers that work alongside us, who are using Caviar for meals at the office and at home.”
Take Advantage of Video Conferencing
So much is lost through email, phone, and texts. Even if you’re two states away from your team, it’s important to meet face-to-face as much as possible to improve collaboration and combat that feeling of isolation. Take advantage of video chat programs such as Google Hangouts, Skype for business and WebEx. With all of the tools available today, you should never be disconnected from your team.
“We are a national organization with many team members working remotely from one another across time zones, so it’s important to find ways to stay connected,” Megan Riley, Human Resources Manager at Educators 4 Excellence. “Our team makes sure to have scheduled weekly check-ins using video conferencing so that we still have that important human interaction and a scheduled touch point with each other each week. We also leverage gchat and other technology that allows us to connect as-needed to collaborate or ask quick questions, so it never really feels like we are far from one another!”
Follow these tips to stay motivated and productive — and the miles between you and your colleagues won’t matter.