4 Tips to Be an Effective, Efficient Remote Employee

4 Tips to Be an Effective, Efficient Remote Employee

Working remotely definitely has its perks: You can meet deadlines in your PJs, stay closer to family members, and sometimes have the freedom to work any hours of the day you prefer, as long as task milestones get met.

However, even people who are motivated find it’s harder than they envisioned to keep productivity levels high while being a remote employee. To avoid dealing with this common conundrum, take the tips below to heart.

Here are four tips to be an effective, efficient remote employee:

1. Distance yourself from distractions as a remote employee.

While working in a traditional office environment, there are many things that naturally help you avoid falling victim to distractions. For example, the simple desire to be seen as a hard worker by your peers may make you steer clear of social media when you’re on the clock. Furthermore, your workplace may have blocking software in use that prevents you from going to non-work-related sites. Using your cell phone to take personal calls may be frowned upon, too.

However, when you’re working remotely, many of these boundaries don’t exist or are much less prevalent. That’s why it’s up to you to do whatever it takes to keep distractions to a minimum. You may do that by installing browser plug-ins that prevent you from going to certain websites during work or even telling friends not to call you during specific hours unless it’s an emergency.

2. Be assertive about the tools you need to succeed.

When your remote workplace is not as well-equipped as a traditional office environment, you may find it’s much harder to get work done. A recent survey found 44 percent of respondents didn’t feel they were able to access relevant work applications on mobile devices. Others found it was harder than expected to gain access to company resources such as intranets while working remotely.

If you run into some of the same obstacles, speak up about the difficulties you encounter and be very clear about why they’re making it harder for you to work at the same rate as your peers at the office. At first, you may feel awkward about voicing those concerns, especially if you characteristically don’t complain much. However, keep in mind that by discussing shortcomings, you’re doing all other remote workers at your company a favor, too.

3. Stay in touch with office-bound colleagues as much as possible.

There are certainly some challenges associated with being a remote employee, and some of them have to be dealt with by managers as well as workers. Many remote workers don’t fully anticipate the necessary adjustment when switching from working with others to working alone.

It’s important to use all the methods at your disposal to stay in touch with colleagues at the office, no matter how physically far away from them you are. That may mean depending on videoconferencing services or one of the many instant messaging platforms that let you communicate nearly as quickly as if you were chatting face-to-face.  

Also, if possible, participate in company social events your office hosts. Whether they’re annual picnics in the park or happy hours at your city’s beloved watering hole, these gatherings can strengthen the ties between you and your coworkers—plus they help you feel more connected to what’s going on at the office.

4. Be sure to set realistic and healthy boundaries.

When you’re a remote employee, you’ll undoubtedly find there are positive and negative aspects of the arrangement. You may discover that, in your eagerness to perform at least as well as your colleagues, you’re working harder than you ever did at the office. You might also notice a pattern where you only rarely take lunch breaks and when they do occur, it’s always while still sitting at your desk.

Stay in tune with how you feel when working and be careful not to let yourself get too close to the burnout stage. When you manage your time wisely, you may eventually find you get more done in fewer hours. However, if you edge too far to the other end of the spectrum and constantly push yourself toward the breaking point, all that work may be counterproductive.

Always value your lunch break and allow yourself to rest fully during that period. Multitasking as you scarf down a sandwich is definitely not preferable. Close your laptop and actually sit at a table to eat slowly and enjoy the food instead.

Figuring out how to stay productive as a remote employee requires work in itself, but being successful in your quest doesn’t have to feel impossible. The tips above will not only help you get more done, but they’ll also enable you to settle into the remote work routine.

Kayla MatthewsKayla Matthews is a productivity enthusiast who loves working from home. She’s the editor of Productivity Theory and ProductivityBytes.

By Kayla Matthews | November 17, 2015 | Categories: Work Remotely

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