Remote work is on the rise—and that's not just due to fears around COVID19 (Coronavirus). In 2018, Forbes predicted that soon up to 50% of the U.S. workforce will be remote. Here at Nomad, we've been advocates of remote work and non-traditional offices for ages. So we are happy to see remote-based work gaining more and more acceptance. We think remote work has benefits for everyone—whether you work full time in an office or are starting a new position at a remote-based company, these tips on how to maximize productivity while out of the traditional office are sure to help you level up your ability to office anywhere.
When I asked everyone at Nomad for tips on remote success, some of the most common answers revolved around creating a workspace for yourself. Put simply: just because you are out of the office, doesn't mean that you don't need an office space. Taking the time to create a space for yourself that you can work comfortably in is key to remote success. This tip is really about the mentality you need to remain productive when outside of a traditional office environment. If you are working at home for extended periods, creating a workspace is critical to staying productive and focused. This doesn't mean that you have to block off a separate room in your home or apartment as an "office" and shut yourself in for 9 hours a day. Creating a workspace is more about your mindset, rather than your physical surroundings. For example, I always travel with my Nomad Mousepad (shameless plug) because for me setting up my mouse, no matter where I'm working is what creates a workspace. Once I get my mousepad, and Apple Mouse set up, I'm good to go; whether I'm at my kitchen table, a coffee shop, or on the trans-Siberian railway. Find something that grounds your remote work experience and stick to it!
On top of the physical workspace you create for yourself, it's important to set boundaries, especially when working from home. It can be all too easy to get distracted and start deep cleaning your kitchen or reorganizing your vintage spoon collection. It's easy to rationalize these breaks from your workday since you are at home, and your hours are flexible. It's easy to feel that you can just make that time up later in the day. However, unplanned and impromptu distractions from the workday kill your productivity, not just because they take time out of the day but because they artificially drag your workday on. It's great to take advantage of the flexibility remote work allows, but to succeed, you need to block your time effectively.
After you have dialed in the remote workspace that fits your style, the next step in remote success is to create accountability for yourself. One of the most common fears around remote work is that coworkers, especially those in a physical office, will see you as less productive or less engaged. The best way to combat this and build a culture that supports remote work is to share. Making sure that your coworkers know what you are up to helps keep your remote work running smoothly. If you make a daily or weekly to do list, make that available to others. If your coworkers know your schedule, it's much easier to ask each other questions and communicate. Figuring out a system that works best for you and your coworkers can take some trial and error, so don't be afraid to overshare what you are up to at first. If you are giving too many updates on what you are up to, you can always dial back later!
If you are working remote and set your own schedule, it can be easy to let your flexibility take over and turn into a trap. If you allow your workday to expand beyond your set hours, you will be less productive and less focused when you are actually working. Instead, make sure to clearly define your work hours so that you have a set amount of time to focus on your work. Once that time is up, take a break, and do something for yourself, whether that is going for a run, binging your favorite show on Netflix, or knitting artisanal dog blankets. Taking the time to create separation between work, and the other things going on in your life will not only help you be more productive , it will make you healthier and happier overall.