Did you know that a good chunk of Eleven Peppers work remotely? Thanks to technology in our digital era, 50% of the workforce in the United States has some kind of telecommuting role, according to Global Workplace Analytics. While it has numerous advantages, there are also easy traps employees can fall into while working remotely. These, if left unchecked, can reduce productivity and lead to discouraged employees.
That’s not what we want, so we interviewed some of our most effective telecommuters and got their best kept secrets (not secret anymore) for anyone venturing into remote work. Here are some tips for working effectively and efficiently outside of the office.
Dress for Success
No need to suit up when you’re at home but it is best to change into a different outfit than you slept in. Even if you only switch into a different set of comfy clothes, it will signal to your brain that it’s time to start working. Some people have specific clothes that they only wear while they are working to help support a separation between home and work life.
Create an Office Space
To further distinguish that feeling of separation, we suggest creating an area in your house that is just for working. If you don’t have the room, rearrange your furniture in a way that establishes your work and non-work space. This could be as simple as clearing off your coffee table so that you only have work “approved” items– coffee cup (of course), laptop, favorite motivational quote, all of the sticky notes, and don’t forget, tons of light to keep you awake.
Keep Regular Hours
It’s easy to fall into the trap of being connected 24/7 while working from home. To avoid burnout, we recommend instituting regular working hours as you would if you reported to the office. Come up with a morning ritual that signifies the start of your work day and create a routine at the end of the day that will allow you to mentally unplug from work. One example commonly used among our pepper family is taking an exercise class every weekday at 5:30 pm.
Prioritize your work day and set realistic goals for yourself. In a remote setting, without anyone coming by your desk checking up on you, it’s vital to hold yourself accountable. Stick with your daily and weekly goals by creating a master to-do list to pull from. Items should be listed by level of importance, the highest priority goes at the top of the list. We also suggest scheduling regular check-ins with your supervisor or success partner to help you stay on task.
Get Up, Stand Up
Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you should skip taking a break. Studies have shown that it is beneficial for employees to take short breaks after accomplishing a task or goal. So get up and stretch, do something to reward yourself, make some coffee, take your dog for a short walk, or play your favorite song and air guitar your way into your next to-do item.
Don’t forget the human element. When you can, step away from your laptop and attend a workshop or conference. If your company has in-person meetings or events, make an effort to attend in order to stay connected to the company and your fellow employees. On a day-to-day level, try working in a coffee shop to break up your technology-only day with some human interaction, even if it is just the barista asking if you want another venti soy latte– joking, we’re espresso people.