Tips and Tricks

May 30, 2017 By Jen Mathews

How to stay on track when remote working

May 30, 2017

By Jen Mathews

Read More from Jen Mathews

May 30, 2017

How to stay on track when remote working

By Jen Mathews
Senior Public Relations Manager

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials. A recent survey by EY has shown that for this generation, flexible working is a priority. This has led to an increasing number of employers offering staff the opportunity to work from home. Remote working has increased by a much as a fifth in the last decade, and those who would prefer a commute downstairs, rather than down the highway, are making the most of this trend. We interviewed some small business owners who have found success working with remote teams.

Create the Right Atmosphere

In a busy workplace, there’s always an opportunity for chatter and socializing. But there aren’t many opportunities to socialize when you work at home, that’s why it’s important to create an atmosphere. The right level of background noise or activity has been shown to increase productivity, so home workers should make the most of having full control of their surroundings. “I tend to have the radio on in the morning so I can listen to voices and upbeat music. That way, I’m around people or noises. Sometimes in my break I might watch the news to feel more connected,” says Jane Barrett, cofounder of the Career Farm, which she runs from her garden at home.

Find the right tools

Embracing the right collaborative tools can be the difference between being a remote team working together productively, or being largely unconnected and out of sync. Platforms such like Trello allow businesses to monitor workflow on a shared space that is accessible to all team members.

“Allowing employees to work from home without providing tools to keep track of their work is never going to work out well for the company,” says Charlie Marchant, general manager at Exposure Ninja, a digital marketing agency. After constant struggles with the team’s commute to work, Exposure Ninja made the decision to allow all of their employees to work remotely.

Marchant notes that it’s still easy for employees to keep up to date with their workload: “We use Slack for all of our communications and we store all our documents on Google Drive, that way they can be accessed by our team from anywhere.”

Keep it simple

It’s one of the oldest productivity tricks in the book — making a list and sticking to it. Crossing tasks off a checklist not only helps you manage your workload, but can also give you a real sense of achievement and makes completing each task seem less daunting.

While working remotely Barrett has found checklists to be invaluable in staying organized and ensuring tasks are correctly prioritized: “I try and focus on a couple of things that I want to get done each day. It’s good to have a clear reminder of which are my most important tasks.”

Treat your workspace like the workplace

Having the same level of physical awareness for your home workspace as you would the office, can be key to creating the right environment to comfortably work in. Much like carrying out a workplace risk assessment, it’s equally as important to carefully evaluate your home furniture situation if your house doubles as your office.

Jennifer Pinder, a floral stylist who has embraced working from home, makes a point of choosing furniture to maximize productivity: “Carefully thought out living space can greatly ease back pain or headaches. Curling up on the sofa with your laptop might seem fine, but doing it day after day will end up slowing you down.”

Have a ‘hard finish’

When your workspace happens to be your home, it can be tempting to continue work throughout the evening. Plus, if you’re staying home for the evening it can feel like you never left work in the first place. One way work hours and personal time can be separated is by picking up a leisure activity after work hours.

“I find on days where I haven’t got anything planned, work tends to drift into the evenings,” says Barrett. “Instead, if I schedule an early evening yoga class, I won’t be tempted to keep working.”