10 tips on how to be efficient when working remotely

Understanding the importance of working from home and how to do so efficiently is crucial for your productivity, sanity, output and wellbeing.

Whether you are in a commercial role and have been told to continue to work from home, or plan to work from home a few days a week after the pandemic or are an established business owner whose model relies now on working remotely- here are ten important tips for working efficiently from home.
  • Create a working space
    Create a working space that sets out a designated area to work in, and set clear intention on when and what conditions require you to work there. Once this is established, have a separate a space that is simply for leisure, space and recouping. This allows you to set good boundaries for your working space. As a general rule (and ideal), the bedroom and living room should be avoided as a working space. To some extent, the kitchen can be a good space if you do not have an office (albeit not great for the waistline). However, the working space arrangement will usually be determined by what distracts you, areas of the house you associate with productivity and of course where there is availability and essentially, space.

  • Business Continuity and Contingencies Plan
    Working from home can allow a range of different contingencies to occur. For example, internet masts might go down in the area, technological mishaps could happen- i.e., cyber-attacks, work not saving properly, systems could be down, and of course family member emergencies such as children needing to be picked up from school or caring for older relatives, etc. The possibilities are vast and as a result it could be that clients, colleague and customer expectations increase and the ability to meet these demands could start to decrease due to redundancies, new roles creating staff shortages/ capacities and so forth. Whatever the spectrum, it is important to reflect on how these adverse scenarios can affect your business when you need to continue operations. Review your business plan and consider a course of action of what could realistically be done. For example, are you storing everything in the cloud? Do you need off-site anytime-technical support?

  • Develop a routine
    Establishing a normal routine that closely mirrors your working in an office routine is useful and allows you to remain productive, alert and encourages a good mindset. A good routine will allow you to have structure, encourages good working patterns and establishes common boundaries. Do have breakfast in the morning, regular breaks to encourage rest and stretch regularly to improve posture and circulation. The ability to incorporate these aspects into a good routine can help create good positive associations with working as well. It is also important to structure your day and optimize this structure through regular routines

  • Be mindful of your wellbeing
    Consider your wellbeing, like productivity, as part of the equation of working from home. Start to track your mood, sleep patterns, healthy eating habits, exercise, screen time, posture and how much time you dedicate to hobbies and interests. You could create a spreadsheet that tracks the core elements of wellbeing and identify your personal key areas that need improvements. There are tons of apps out there to help you do this. Do invest the time in finding the best one for you and make it a habit to check in on ‘you’. This will positively feed back into all other aspects of your life. 

  • Utilise Technology
    Technology can enhance your productivity and allow you to improve operations. There are many good customer service tools available to utilize secure payments systems; marketing and design tools to improve content; video editing; and communications software. but do your due diligence and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the tools. They will improve your business processes and overcome the shortcomings of effective operations. 

  • Maximise Productivity
    Create an effective to-do list and strategy to get things done. Allow yourself a realistic timeframe for realistic deadlines (be SMART) and utilize the right approach to getting things done. There are many strategies to help keep you focused and improve productivity. I created a blog post with the top 11 productivity hacks here.

  • Minimize Distractions
    Working from home has its own distractions such as noise, temperature, chores, children, family, phone calls and emails, (deep breath) can all create differing levels of distractions. It is important to establish good boundaries, plan and create awareness of temperature, noise and other responsibilities so that it doesn’t build up, and of course, set times to prioritise emails and calls, and to spend and schedule quality time with family or friends in your time off. 

  • Find tools that help you complete your projects and task
    Different tasks and projects require different tools and resources. It is important to explore which ones are optimal and once identified try the low-cost options of free/ sample trials before committing. This helps you assess how effective the tools are for the project or task and which ones will not suffice.

  • Establish availability and accessibility
    It's easy to say yes to being available after hours and at weekends especially when you feel like you're ‘just at home’, or 'it'll only take a minute'. But if you've been productive and efficient, and met your objectives during those working hours, it's okay to set be clear about your boundaries after your working hours. This includes picking up new tasks for the next day and not working on weekends unless absolutely required. In some cases, it may be easier to start work earlier but do not finish late everyday to prove how hard you’re working at home. This will leave to burnt out, stressed and resentful.

  • Monitor and Review
    Consistently review and see what is working well and what isn't. The ability to understand your progress will allow you to see which areas are effective and productive and which aspects need improvement. But it is important to be compassionate with yourself and not overextend your efforts to be optimal. Eve superhero's have bad days and days off. Be realistic with your time and energy. 

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