4 Productivity Lessons for Remote Workers

4 Productivity Lessons for Remote Workers

As a remote worker, there are some things you just know. You know that you shouldn’t really work from bed—unless you’re planning on taking a mid-morning nap. In theory, you know you should put on some semblance of outerwear—and not work all day in your Hello Kitty pajamas. And you also know that sitting down to watch TV “just for a minute” means that you’ll wind up spending a good couple of hours getting sucked into a binge-watching session of The Walking Dead. These are all productivity lessons remote workers should know.

That said, there are some things you might not know about working remotely that could be sabotaging your productivity.

Here are four productivity lessons for remote workers:

1. Reassess how you react.

Let’s say that you’re sitting at your desk when an urgent email comes through requiring immediate attention. But for whatever reason (i.e., you’re not sure how to respond or your sweet-and-sour soup has finished heating up), you don’t respond right away. In fact, you don’t respond until the end of the day. But one of the best practices for remote workers is having a faster reaction time to new things—whether it’s an email, a new communication tool, or even reaching out to a new colleague. So be mindful of how fast your reaction is to things and learn how to speed it up by making sure you take care of business when it needs to be done.

2. Learn how to prioritize.

Like the good remote worker that you are, you made a list (either the night before or this morning) of all the things that you need to accomplish. Thing is, your list is three pages long. You’re already overwhelmed just looking at it, which doesn’t bode well for your productivity. So instead of looking at the list—and then doing nothing—reprioritize the list according to the tasks that need to be done first. Giving importance to some to-dos (and scheduling the other ones for later or dumping them altogether) can help boost your workflow and enable you to get things done.

3. Understand your communication style.

You have a project that you’ve been working on and you’re about ready to pass part of it over to your fellow remote colleague. But you forget to mention a key component, which winds up slowing the entire project down—and making your boss mad. It goes without saying, though, that communication is critical to the success of any organization, and particularly so for remote companies, where employees have to rely on emails, phone calls, IMs, and other communication tools in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page. So even if it’s not your style, it’s a good idea to over-communicate sometimes when it comes to remote work. After all, clear communication means that information—and productivity—will continue to flow in a positive direction.

4. Try not to be too productive.

When you took on that extra assignment just to help out the team, you meant well. You really did. You figured with your flexible schedule you’d be able to do it all. But what you didn’t take into consideration is that you’re already overworked and starting to miss some of your own deadlines. In an effort to be indispensable, some employees might simply take on too much, overestimating their productivity levels and what they can really accomplish. So try not to take on every single assignment that comes up for grabs and save your enthusiasm for the really plum ones that you know you can do—and do well.

Everyone is looking for better ways to be productive, both in their professional lives and their personal lives. These four productivity lessons for remote workers show that being mindful about your daily workflow and being an effective communicator can help you be productive—and a valued member of your remote company’s team.


By Jennifer Parris | April 19, 2016 | Categories: Work Remotely


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