Remote Work: How to maintain production and efficiency at work

With tens of thousands of cases in more than 100 countries and WHO formally declaring it as pandemic, the covid-19 outbreak seems to be the only thing people are talking about right now. My social media feeds are all on the virus. But other than washing hands and keeping social distancing, something else is also brewing i.e. remote working is no longer a wish but a necessity. For many freelancers, this may not be something new, it is in fact business as usual for many of us as we are already conducting most of your client meetings virtually and collaborate via tools like Slack and Google Docs.

However, to many of the workers, this may be something new and some may be lost and not sure how to handle working remotely or working from home.  How can you be productive, efficient and effective while working with colleagues, suppliers and partners remotely? Are there any best practices centre around optimising remote and virtual working. At CreativesAtWork, we have been working remotely and managing remote teams since our inception in 2012. Here are 3 easy ways to start:

  • How to maximise efficiency when working from home

It would help to still allocate the working hours even if you are working from home or remotely. To set a specific time of when you start and when you end will provide you with the time structure and the discipline of doing what you need to do. Having more control over how and when  you work will also mean that you need to better understand your work-style and align it with your working hours so as to create more impact. Having a list of to-do lists will go a long way to ensure the tasks that need to be done get done. Schedule and routines will keep you focused and motivated.

Also, do consider setting up a corner in your house for doing the work so that there are still some lines drawn between your own personal space and your work space. To be able to allocate a private space for working could be critical to the success of your remote working experience. Do look out for a small corner of your house that you can concentrate and have the resources you need handy so you can fully concentrate on your work instead of running around the house to look for different stuff. One most important thing to consider is wifi connection. Ideally, the corner you set up for work should be able to have strong wifi connection and is private enough to take a video conference call or skype discussion. Some freelancers prefer to work from out-door.

Due to informal surveys, other than home, the next most favorite venue for working is STARBUCKS. However, this is not advisable if you are new to working from home. You should still schedule your day for different types of work to be more productive.

  • Ensure the appropriate tools are in place

Identifying the various tools you need working with your team remotely and setting them up and ensuring it works before you start. This will allow you for a smooth start and finetune the process as you go along. Tools should also include project management systems or workflow to better track and monitor the progress between yourself and your teammate. Eg. to set aside time to run effective virtual meetings and how to ensure the time is optimised for time, decision-making and outputs by sticking to agreed agenda and time.  Also, leverage on technology effectively for efficient communication are all very important for remote working.

  • Be clear about your expectations and articulate it to your teammate

When it comes to remote working especially with remote teams, it helps to  explain exactly what you want and when you want it to prevent confusion down the line. In this way, you can ensure that everyone in the team expectations are aligned and that they are all aware of what they need to achieve or do while working remotely. Keeping in touch with your co-workers and maintaining communications is key. Find time in your schedule to also check in with the team or individual on a regular basis. Even with working remotely, maintaining relationships with co-workers is also very important. Set up a dedicated time each day to do this and make it a video call to continue to strengthen the connection. Even though we are working remotely, it does not mean we should not be sociallable.

Although Covid-19 means many of us are working from home for an unfortunate reason, the bright side is that now we have all the reasons to push for remote working and working from home. This is something that we, at CreativesAtWork, have been championing for in our last 8 years and finally, this future of work as we envision is turning into a reality.  We just have to have proper mindset and processes in place to make remote working’s experience more rewarding and productive, and prepare all of us for that future of work.