20 Remote Work Hacks
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Are you transitioning to remote work and finding it difficult? You’re in luck because the following 20 remote work hacks are made for people just like you!
Indeed, working remotely does sound nice in theory, but it can be a real hassle in reality. However, as we saw in our remote working guide, many individuals have been perfecting the art of remote work over the years.
We also know that changes, in general, can be difficult. Therefore, as with any change, give yourself some time to adjust. Try some of these tips, but let go of the advice that doesn’t work for you.
Thus, if you’re new to all of this, these remote work hacks are here to help you get settled into your new way of life.
Get An Early Start
When you work from home, one of the greatest perks is that you don’t need to commute. Therefore, you can actually enjoy your mornings without needing to rush. Getting an early start to your workdays is one of our top remote work hacks.
Getting an early start doesn’t necessarily mean getting up at 5:00 am every day. The early bird might get the worm, but studies do show that certain people just aren’t morning people. For night owls, get an early start to your day.
Instead, getting an early start just means being conscious about what you do with the first 60 to 90 minutes of your day. Some suggest reading a book, listening to a podcast, or writing. Overall, it’s about creating a repeatable and uplifting routine that works for you. Moreover, part of this routine should include waking up at the same time each day.
Create A Dedicated Office Space
It’s often very tempting to work in the kitchen or dining room area of a home. It’s where all the action is. It offers easy access to the fridge and the pantry. It’s closer to the coffee machine. Basically, it’s the best spot in the house.
However, as anyone who’s worked remotely for a prolonged period of time will tell you, you need to invest in a dedicated workspace. This way, your dining room stays clean and your personal and professional life stay separated.
Dress For The Office
Even if it might seem like one of the best remote work hacks is that you can spend an entire week in your pajamas, the best thing to do is actually to dress up, not down!
In fact, dressing as though you are headed to the office helps your brain to get into work mode. You feel more alert and productive. Of course, this doesn’t mean wearing a full suit, by any means. However, getting out of the outfit you slept in would be a good start.
If you used to plan all of your meetings and tasks meticulously while working from an office, these scheduling skills will come in handy when working remotely. Remote work requires a lot more discipline. Hence, developing and following a strict schedule works for some.
A remote worker knows that if something is not scheduled, it will not get done. If required, find an accountability partner to share your work calendar with.
Block Social Media
Unless you absolutely need to use it professionally, you should consider blocking social media. Consider blocking it at least during your working hours, because it can be a huge waste of time.
With so many things to scroll through and share, it’s the number one biggest obstacle for routine procrastinators. Therefore, try setting time limits on apps such as Facebook or Instagram. Or, get apps that will put a block on your social media apps altogether. Ultimately, you need to be honest with yourself and find the solution that works for you.
Use A Task Manager
If you’re working remotely, but with a team, you will want to use a group task manager. A task manager keeps everyone up to date on what’s going on. It helps to figure out the next steps for a larger project or deliverable. Lastly, it helps to keep members of a team accountable.
There are many other tools out there for remote teams. We’ve discussed some of the more popular ones in a previous article. Make sure you check it out, for more tips and tricks on remote teamwork.
Plan Out Your Work Ahead
There is limited time in a day. Sure, when working from home you save some time because you’re cutting out a commute. However, it’s important to be realistic about what can be done in a day.
Everyone’s to-do list is infinite. Therefore, it’s up to each and every one of us to not over-promise or over-commit. Plan your work ahead and be sure to schedule time for breaks in your busy remote working schedule.
Pick Your Working Hours
Night owls rejoice! One of the best remote work hacks is that you can work at the hours that you feel most productive. So stay up late if that works for you! However, if you are an early riser, then you can work bright and early in the mornings. If you’re not interested in waking up before 8 am, then you can easily work later in the day.
As long as you are present for your work meetings, conference calls, and other timely opportunities to connect with your team, then working from home offers ultimate flexibility. It’s even possible to plan a nap into your day!
Group Calls & Emails
Remote working pros recommend grouping any calls or emails into a few hours in the day. As all office workers know, calls and emails can interrupt workflow in a significant way. By grouping them, you create long stretches of interrupted productive time.
Emails in particular can be a real-time zapper. More often than not, emails can be answered with some delay without any consequences. When we rush to respond to emails, we are not in control of our time. We are being reactive.
The same goes for calls. Whenever you answer an unplanned call, you can easily get side-tracked. Therefore, let your clients or coworkers know that you will only be answering calls or emails during certain specific times.
It’s no secret that working from home can be isolating. Therefore, it’s important to stay connected to colleagues, friends, and family.
Other tips on this remote work hack list will tell you to go outside or to plan your social interactions. Yet, it’s possible for some to get their social fix by just staying connected. Write a personal note or email to a colleague. Send a GIF on Slack, or a funny emoji via text. There are so many ways to stay connected. So, ensure that you connect with humans throughout your day.
Work In Sprints
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s a time management method developed by an Italian in the 1980s. All you need is a timer, or your phone, to set work intervals. Set it for 25 minutes. Work in sprints for 25 minutes, and give yourself a short break after each set.
During these breaks you could check emails, or glance at your social media. Just make sure that your break is short. The recommended break should be no longer than 5 minutes. Try this technique to see if working in sprints helps you to be more productive.
Ask for Quiet Time
If you’re working remotely surrounded by family, it’s an additional challenge. Remote workers who have children or who are living with parents need to set their boundaries.
They need to sit their children, or parents, down to explain that they will be needing their quiet time. It’s a non-negotiable.
If you’re going to be a remote work pro, then you need to master the art of video conferencing. The first requirement is to have a solid at-home web connection. Then, it’s important to pick the right service. Whether it’s Facetime, Skype or Slack, make sure you know your video conferencing etiquette.
When you’re working remotely, your friends, colleagues, and clients might not know where you are or what you are doing.
Therefore, communicate more than ever with the people around you to set expectations about schedules, deliverables, absences, downtime, etc. Communication that is transparent, consistent, and timely really should be at the top of the list when it comes to remote work hacks.
Take Clear Breaks
When you’re on break, you should be on break. Plan your breaks ahead of time, and truly disconnect from work for a moment. If you have a friend with a more standard schedule, meet them for lunch or chat with them over the phone while you’re taking a break.
Plan little activities during your breaks to ensure that you are actually taking them. Breaks are also a great time to run errands. Running errands, such as doing groceries, during low-traffic times is one of the perks of remote work.
Plan Social Interactions
We live in strange and busy times. Therefore, for most of us, scheduling and planning ahead are key. It’s no surprise that our friends, colleagues, and partners are busy too. Therefore, if you want to go to dinner, it’s tough to make spontaneous plans.
If you plan your social interactions, they are far more likely to happen. And by all means, do not neglect to socialize. We lose a lot of opportunities to small talk and chitchat when we move from an office environment to working from home. These small moments of ad hoc communication can also be replaced by chatting online, on collaboration tools, or by text message.
Therefore, communicate with intention and communicate often, but do plan times for communicating into your busy day.
Change Your Scenery
It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do! Working remotely doesn’t need to mean working from a home office. Most lists of remote work hacks tend to include some encouragement to vary your working scenery. Or simply take a break from your home office, even if it’s not to work.
You could read a book at a coffee shop, take your laptop to the local library, or work from a co-working space. Changing your scenery can be energizing and can give you the motivation you need to keep going!
When working from home, there are many distractions. One of the biggest distractions is the proximity of the refrigerator. It’s easy to eat all the time when you work from home. This can become an issue, as working from home also usually means that your lifestyle will become more sedentary than before.
Therefore, a great remote work hack is to prepare your meals in advance. This could go a long way to preventing wasting time cooking during your lunch break. It could also mean better portion control. Plan your snacks too, if you are prone to snacking throughout the day.
Even if you meal-plan all your meals, nothing beats a little exercise. Plan a workout into your day, to make sure you’re staying active, even as you work from home.
If you really are a homebody and don’t feel like leaving your house, then it’s easy to do an at-home workout, with simple weights or bands. You can also find a lot of guided workouts online or through different apps.
Pick A Definitive Finishing Time
One of the downsides of working from home is that it’s possible to just keep on working. If you’re already at home, there is no pressure to stop. However, if you don’t want to burn yourself out, you need to create that pressure.
Therefore, make sure you can a hard stop to your day, and that you respect this timeline.
Kristina recently left behind fast-paced life of Human Resource Business Consulting to freelance as a Content Writer. A regular Vacation Tracker contributor, she can be found working remotely from her home in Montreal, usually while eating a variety of snacks.