Struggling with the productivity of your remote team? Searching for productivity tips to get more out of the team? Here is a piece that was written precisely for you. Read on!
Remote working is now standard practice in several medium and large-scale organizations in the world. It is gaining prominence since companies have realized its potential and benefits. But a lot of us are still looking for answers to questions like,
How to be productive while working remotely? How to communicate with the team effectively? How to manage time more productively etc.
In this article, we will address all these questions and share some of the best productivity tips that can be adopted by remote professionals. It will serve as the perfect guide for remote workers looking to increase their productivity significantly.
Did you know?
According to a Stanford study “Home working led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 9% was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter working environment)”
Also Read: Distributed teams | A complete guide
What is productivity?
Productivity in simple terms is the amount of output you get from the input in a typical period of time. Output in this aspect can be different goods and services produced by the company or a country. Input factors can range from labor, capital goods, and material.
An example of productivity can be how many carpets are produced by a carpet manufacturing factory in a given interval of time. The result can help in identifying loopholes and introducing changes to increase productivity. There are mainly three different kinds of productivity,
- Capital Productivity
- Human Labor Productivity
- Managerial Productivity
Productivity can be defined as the ratio of the output unit to the input unit. The resultant value indicates how much goods and services are being produced with the available resources in a certain duration of time. Productivity is also a measure of how efficiently an industry is working.
Productive Efficiency tells us the efficiency at which the resources are being utilized. If a firm has higher productivity then it means that they are using their resources efficiently by keeping unnecessary wastage of labor and time in check. Firm Profitability is very much dependent on its productivity.
To measure productivity, this simple formula can be applied,
Productivity = (Output generated in a time period) / (Input in the same time period)
= (Amount of Goods and services produced) / (amount of resources used)
P = O / I
Productivity is a quantitative relation that gives the ratio of what the firm produces and what resources a firm uses to produce output.
To increase business productivity, either increase the output generated by keeping the input constant or decrease the input required to generate the same amount of output. Productivity is an indicator of a firm’s efficiency and how capable are they in utilizing these factors of production.
14 productivity tips for remote teams
Here is a list of 14 productivity tips for remote workers,
1. Prepare a daily To-do List
Writing down the tasks and activities to be accomplished in a day is one of the most recommended productivity tips for remote professionals. You could use a whiteboard at your remote workplace to write down your To-Do List or choose from a list of apps to ensure you stay on top of each task.
Ensure you prioritize tasks based on their importance and relevance to your assignments. Noting your tasks has proved to be one of the most efficient methods to prevent skipping them, and it also ensures activities are aligned with the specified deadlines.
This habit enables you to focus on the tasks at hand, positively impacting your productivity quotient. You never miss deadlines, tasks stop accumulating, and you continue to be a reliable asset to the team.
While you work remotely, it is recommended to keep a track of how you are utilizing your working hours. Self-tracking is a great way to check when you are being most productive and also keep a check on when you are wasting your time.
A To-do list can be created as per individuals’ preferences. The most critical task should be at the topmost priority and needs to be finished at the earliest. Assign more time to the tasks with more difficulty levels. Checking off the completed tasks from the list will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Tip: Estimating and noting down the time taken by each of the tasks on your To-Do List is an advisable remote workplace productivity tip and is extremely effective for busy people.
2. Eliminate Distractions
We must be attentive to the numerous distractions that disrupt the flow of work. Distractions have a significant impact on productivity, especially if you are working from home. Eliminating distractions from the work process, that do not add any value to it, ensures high productivity.
It is recommended to inform everyone of your work hours to avoid distractions. Set your time apart for household chores, attending to kids and pets etc. Much like you would while physically at work. Do not deviate from your stipulated work schedule. This will help you avoid backlogs and unnecessary piling up of work.
Staying away from your phone or avoiding social media during work hours is a very effective productivity tip for avoiding distractions. The Facebook notification from a friend can wait and should be ignored while you are focusing on completing your tasks.
There are several apps that help you stay focused by blocking unnecessary distractions from your device. Apps such as Forest, SelfControl, LeechBlock, Serene, etc help in blocking certain websites and applications on your device while you work. All you have to do is select the applications and your work hours and the rest will be taken care of by these apps.
Tip: While preparing your daily plan, include personal tasks as well as time to be invested in them. This practice will prevent overlap of personal and professional activities, and each can follow its separate course of completion without any clash. Block your calendar for scheduled meetings and deep work sprints, so the rest of your peers know when to connect with you.
3. Avoid accessing Social Media
It is a known fact that social media can cause disruptions to the regular flow of work. Concentration is affected, acting as a bottleneck in your daily progress. Thus one of the answers to the question of how to be more productive in a remote workplace is to try and avoid accessing or even completely switch off social media during the fixed work schedule.
As we already discussed earlier, social media can be a major distraction when it comes to working. The best way to deal with it is to stay offline or download apps to help you focus and avoid distractions. It is very easy to lose concentration when a notification pops up on your device.
You will never know when a two-minute break has extended into hour-long mindless browsing on social media. Social media is a top-level distraction from work. Let your friends and family be aware of your working hours so that there are no unwanted messages or calls.
Tip: Look out for features like ‘Deep work or focused work” on your phone that allows you to block notifications from distracting sites. Some remote work software like Unremot let you set your status to – Deep work, In a meeting, Personal work, Available and Offline and keep your colleagues informed about your availability.
4. Practice exercising daily
Staying active and fresh throughout the day are vital factors for better performance. Yoga and exercise increase your concentration power and body balance. The mind is refreshed, and your body is energized. The immunity power of your body is enhanced, boosting positive vibes to work hard. You will stay attentive and focused, eventually elevating your productivity levels.
Articles on productivity emphasize the advantages of exercising daily to remain proactive throughout the day. Exercise is known to heighten endorphin levels which in turn boosts the happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels of an individual. Workplace productivity tips include maintaining a good posture while working which comes from stretching daily.
Daily workout practice not only keeps your physical health in check but also does wonders for your mental health. Practice following steps every day to become productive,
- Wake up early in the morning
- Exercise for 15 minutes
- Repeat the same routine the next day and increase the workout duration
Tip: Walking for 30 minutes a day, early in the morning or spending an hour at the gym is a great way to keep your energy levels high for the rest of the day.
5. Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is the productivity tip no remote worker should miss. Remote professionals may tend to overeat or eat junk because of the ease of availability of food at their houses or nearby food outlets. These eating habits may lead to serious health consequences like obesity, blood sugar or pressure, and lethargy. All the mentioned symptoms are a deterrent to the performance and productivity of remote workers.
Select your diet with care to include fruits, vegetables, and nuts every day. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and eat in small quantities at proper intervals. It is important to eat food that helps your body and mind to function better. Eating junk food will not help with your proficiency. Employee productivity ideas suggest having a good diet rich in iron, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
Remind yourself to eat limited proportions of food. Over-eating might lead to sluggishness as you tend to get drowsy. Try to restrict your kitchen encounters, as you are more likely to pick up something every time you visit. Keep a bottle of water at your workstation to stay hydrated and ensure good productivity at work.
Tip: As the saying goes “Health is Wealth”, and rightly so. A healthy mind and body possess the immense capacity to think positively. The work quality undergoes tremendous improvement. The individuals earn recognition and accolades, which in turn ensures their financial stability.
6. Take Occasional Breaks
Continuous work without any break can saturate your brain, thus slowing you down. Occasional breaks in between a hectic work schedule are one of the best productivity tips for remote professionals. Your mind needs rest to re-energize and rejuvenate for success and future growth. A stressed mind hampers the productivity of individuals leading to a loss of trust and confidence.
Human brains are prone to exhaustion if subjected to continuous stress and strains. We start developing fatigue which seriously affects their productivity. It is advisable to go for tea and coffee breaks, stroll for a few minutes outside to breathe in the fresh air, or engage in casual conversations with friends and colleagues during watercooler breaks.
If you are working for a long time, it is difficult to get fresh productive ideas. Taking small breaks at regular intervals is one of the most effective tips for business productivity. Take a short walk, play with your pet, or listen to music, during breaks to keep yourself active.
Do not take the stress and drain yourself. As per science, the prefrontal cortex of the brain needs to relax in order to avoid decision fatigue and increase business productivity. You can even take yoga breaks to do basic breathing and stretching exercises to increase efficiency and be mindful throughout the day.
Tip: Make it a point to move out of your workplace every once in a while. This is a productivity trick that will enhance your capacity to remain focused while at work.
7. Execute Tasks in Groups
Several tasks need to be performed on a recurring basis and sometimes every day. It is recommended to analyze each of these tasks and identify which of them can be grouped and executed together.
This practice significantly reduces the time spent in conducting many of your tasks and in turn, you gain time for conducting additional activities. It’s a smart move to club similar tasks in groups. This is one of the most effective productivity tips for working remotely.
For imparting messages of similar nature, club the respondents in one email and send the requisite information. Similarly, conduct meetings or discussions with multiple people for conveying the same messages or imparting training. It is an efficient way to save time and accelerate the productivity quotient.
We are constantly looking for tips for productivity increment at the workplace. One of the most effective tips to be successful at work is to divide tasks into different batches. Similar tasks can be put in one batch and completed at one go.
For example, you have to convey a similar message to five different people. Instead of doing this individually, it is better to call them up in a meeting and have a discussion. If you are looking for one tip of the day for work, it would be to keep meetings, emails, discussions in the second half of the day. Keep the first half to focus on your individual task.
Tip: Responding to all phone calls and emails steals away much of our time in the stipulated work hours. Analyzing the emails and phone calls of similar nature and grouping them to execute in batches is one of the essential office productivity tips for remote workers.
Also Read: Trust remote teams | A comprehensive guide
8. Avoid Multitasking
As we continue with our analysis and deliberation on how to be productive at work, we need to understand the drawbacks of severe multitasking. Switching between tasks multiple times exhausts the brain leading to considerable fatigue and tiredness.
Our brain fails to focus or concentrate on a particular type of activity which severely impacts our productivity and efficiency. As remote professionals, we often tend to push ourselves to handle multiple projects while overcompensating for the fact that we save a lot of time by avoiding the office commute.
We remain under the assumption that we have ample time to execute additional tasks, overlooking our capability, and subjecting ourselves to excessive stress. Thus, avoiding multitasking by taking up focused work, tackling one project at a given time, etc, aids in maintaining higher productivity.
Tips on productivity consider multitasking to be a productivity killer. According to top productivity blogs, switching tasks frequently can cause mental block and result in reducing productivity by 40%. Based on a study carried by the University of London, the IQ of some multitasking men dropped by 15 points.
It might be appealing to try to do everything at once but you would be surprised to know that giving undivided attention to one task at a time can increase productivity. Focusing on one work and creating a task list is a Lifehacker productivity tip for remote employees.
Tip: Listing down all the tasks and prioritizing them as per their criticality and severity; executing them accordingly is a good practice.
9. Practice task delegation
We focus on completing our assignments individually without delegating them to our team. We remain overburdened, struggling to complete our work within the specified deadline. Outsourcing work in a planned & effective manner within the teams helps us boost our own productivity and meet team deadlines faster.
It is tough to be an expert in every domain. The recommendation is to outsource activities to individuals based on their expertise and efficiency. This will enable faster execution of assignments, positively impacting the productivity factor of individuals.
One of the best productivity tips for managers or team leads is to know how to delegate the work to the right person. This practice is a tip to success for not only the company but individual workers as well as they get to experiment and grow along with the team.
Personal productivity tips for managers include delegating tasks amongst team members based on their strengths and weaknesses. Staying vigilant regarding the interests of team members helps in analyzing whom to select for a particular task during the hour of need. Productive businesses are not the result of overburdened employees.
10. Time Management
Time management is yet another critical productivity tip for remote professionals. Through experience and analysis, you need to work on understanding the time required for each of your tasks. Both overestimating and under-estimating are harmful to efficient time management.
We often tend to neglect the small chunks of work and allocate less time for their completion. We forget the complexity factor completely during time management. Logical thinking is essential while dividing the time between the activities and tasks.
Complexity and magnitude of work need to be balanced while allocating the time for each task. You may not be able to complete certain tasks as per the scheduled time. There can be several valid reasons for such a situation.
It may be due to, unavailability of a person, your network connectivity may be down etc. The time allocated for those activities must not be neglected and leisured out. Planning for contingencies is a smarter way to address your work. Managing time is often a challenge when working remotely.
Productivity tips to tackle this problem are to set up daily goals with reminders, focus on more crucial tasks first, read time-management books, etc. Work productivity tips suggest starting your day by tackling the most important task. There are more chances of you delegating the complex tasks, hence doing it first thing in the morning will help you work on it with a fresh mind.
Tip: Schedule and prioritize all your to-do lists and items as per the respective deadlines and their complexity, and assign them appropriate time keeping in mind all the possible situations.
11. Learn to say “No.”
Saying ‘No’ does not always have to be negative. You need to be able to say “No” to certain activities and tasks. Now, the question that arises is, when to say no? First, we need to understand that our brain cannot intake excessive work beyond its capacity.
Additionally, all activities are not equally important and relevant to the project goals and objectives. Now for the second part, we need to invest our intellectual thinking ability to understand which tasks can be avoided or dealt at a later period.
Analyzing the relevance and significance of each activity to meet both the company’s and project’s goals and objectives is one of the recommended productivity tips and tricks for remote professionals. We need to inculcate the habit of saying no to irrelevant and insignificant activities. Few activities can even wait to be executed at a later stage.
Remote employees often wonder how to become productive while working from home. Did you know that saying “no” is a great tip for success and increases productivity? Accepting all the tasks can lead you to be overburdened with work and lose focus on the important work.
If you have the bandwidth to take up extra work only then you should be accepting more work. Many of us take up extra work to avoid being seen as rude or arrogant to others. Learn to say “no” graciously and be direct in your response is one of the greatest tips to be successful at work.
Remember, by saying no, you are not shunning work; instead your are prioritizing and setting realistic and achievable goals, thus staying on top of your projects more productively.
Also Read: Team communication | A complete guide
12. Check Work progress
If you can monitor your performance, progress and efficiency, then that is the best way to control your productivity. Despite preparing a To-do list, remote professionals may tend to overlook their daily progress.
This is essential because they are absent from the office environment where there are PMOs or coordinators to check the status daily. It is advisable to note down the progress at least twice a day. The status must be communicated daily through emails even if there are daily stand-up meetings conducted to track the work progress.
You will automatically be on track with your assignments and strive for completion as per the mentioned deadlines. It is possible to lose track of work and time while working from home. Remaining self-motivated is an important aspect of remote work. Hence, it is important to keep a regular check of your task list.
Few managers ask their employees to send a daily update to keep track of their work progress. Keeping a check-list of your work helps in keeping track of the progress. Assign daily deadlines and try to meet them by following productivity tips at work.
Tips: Make use of Software applications such as Asana to keep track of daily tasks. It maps at your work and shows how close you are to completion.
13. Practice self-care
Self-care is one of the fundamental aspects of staying motivated and focused on delivering productive work but is often overlooked. Practicing self-care can be small yet significant things such as spending time with a book or your pet, mindful exercises or a quick nap, or even indulging in your hobbies.
A positive and stress-free mind can think effectively and contribute to designing mind-blowing solutions for the assigned work. Self-care goes a long way when it comes to being productive. It could be as easy as setting up a morning and evening routine for yourself.
Decluttering your work desk, allowing few distractions, taking breaks, exercising regularly are a few of the tips to be more productive. The best tip of the day for increasing productivity is to not be too hard on yourself. Do not compromise on sleep or healthy eating while you work.
Tips: Make sure to keep work aside on weekends and give yourself sufficient time to relax and rejuvenate. Avail paid vacation benefits and focus on your mental as well as physical well-being.
14. Have a defined end time for your work
The last of our productivity tips is to ensure you have a defined end time for your work. The assumption is that remote work provides a work-life balance, but if we are not cognizant of an end time, we might end up overworking ourselves; especially in the absence of a physical workspace where you can see our coworkers wrapping up.
You do not need to be strict with the timings, but being aware of it helps optimize your time better, ensuring you make the most of your day. To ensure, you stay on top of your productivity game, ensure you tackle one productivity tip at a time.
Make your way through the list, inculcating each practice into your daily work for the best results. Keep a workday countdown timer to be aware of your work timings and not disturb the work-life balance you are seeking.
Let your manager be aware of your work timings and off-days in order to maintain boundaries between personal life and professional life. Productivity tips for work suggest setting aside fixed working hours will help you maintain a routine. Brain and body will automatically know when to get ready for work.
Tips: Let your teammates know about your working hours. Work efficiently during working hours and avoid any kind of distractions in order to finish your work in time.
Top software offerings to improve productivity
- Unremot Virtual Watercooler is an online platform that allows teams to have an informal conversation with each other.
- Trello helps in managing, organizing, and sharing everything from simple to-do tasks to major project management tasks.
- TeamViewer is a free remote desktop app that lets users hold video conferences, web meetings, audio calls, text chats, etc. This even allows screen sharing on ios devices.
- SpaceTime integrates with slack to help you take care of your distributed team’s schedule.
- Asana provides an easy way to track employee’s work and get the best possible results.