working remotely

The Ultimate Guide for Working Remotely

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of workers across the globe into a remote modality, meaning for the first time ever many workers needed to figure out how to get their work done outside of the traditional office. Similarly, schools at all levels were forced into remote learning and most daycare facilities were closed due to public health restrictions. Because the change to remote modality happened so quickly, there was a transition period for workers as they adjusted to an entirely new world of work. The adjustment period presented greater challenges for some workers, including for those who could not replicate their in-person office facilities at home, and those who needed to balance multiple people within the same household working or learning at the same time. Now, as many businesses are determining plans for how their workforce operates moving forward, research has shown that remote work – in some capacity – is here to stay for many workers. With that said, we’ve put together a guide to help you stay motivated in a remote work setting, complete with 35 tips and tricks to stay productive.

Smartway2 enables you to implement hybrid working with ease. To see for yourself how to create a touchless, on-demand, adaptive workplace, book a demo.

Benefits of Remote Work

Before we dive into the tips for staying productive in a remote modality, let’s first take a look at why so many employers are considering adopting a permanent hybrid approach that would allow employees to split time between the in-person office and remote work. 

Research has determined there are many well-established benefits to the flexibility offered to employees as part of a hybrid work environment.  Anna Savina, content marketing manager at Miro, an online visual collaboration platform, writes, “According to a 2017 Deloitte survey of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders from 140 countries, the organization of the future is a “network of teams.” Teams are becoming much more dynamic, and work is more distributed. Aside from a general trend towards dispersed teamwork, more employers are recognizing the benefits of expanding their hiring beyond a single location, and instead, recruiters have a wider talent pool to choose from.” 

Savina goes on to list the following 5 benefits of remote work:

  • Remote work reduces costs
  • Ability to hire top talent
  • Higher employee retention with remote jobs
  • Greater diversity leads to better products
  • Fewer employees commuting is more sustainable

Two additional benefits of remote work often cited by workers are more flexibility and improved work-life balance. Remote work allows employees to spend more time at home with their families and less time commuting. For a deeper dive into remote work, take a few minutes to read this blog post Smartway2 dedicated to the topic. 

35 Tips to Stay Productive While Working Remotely

A quick internet search will provide thousands of articles and opinions with advice when it comes to remote work. We’ve done the research for you and are combining what we consider the best tips into the following list to help maximize your potential as you continue to work from home.

The first 5 suggestions on our list are from Jill Duffy, contributing editor at PCMag, a computer magazine, where she covers productivity apps and software, technologies for health and fitness and write a column on how to lead a better digital life.

  • Maintain regular hours
  • Create a morning routine
  • Set ground rules with the people in your space
  • Schedule breaks
  • Take breaks in their entirety

Numbers 6-10 on our list come from Zahra Barnes, Executive Editor at SELF Magazine, an online magazine for women that focuses on health, beauty and style.

  • Don’t dive into work the moment you wake up
  • Set up a physical workspace
  • Upgrade your internet if you need to
  • Test your technology before big calls or meetings
  • Find background noise that doesn’t disturb you

Linsey Pollak – speaker, author and expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace – and Eileen Coombs – Service Operations Manager at Delegate Solutions, a strategic and consultative remote administrative support service for entrepreneurs and businesses –  writing for Inc. Magazine,  provides our next set of tips.

  • Cut yourself some slack
  • Pay attention to ergonomics
  • Overcommunicate
  • Know your employer’s remote work policies
  • Tell your team when they can reach you

H.V. MacArthur, author, executive coach, organizational development consultant and contributing writer at Forbes Magazine has compiled her own list of helpful information for remote work. The next part of our guide comes from MacArthur:

  • Remember that working from home is a continuously developing situation for most companies
  • Schedule time in between meetings
  • Proactively reach out to coworkers, leaders and clients
  • Update on progress more than usual
  • Get out of the house

Up next is some guidance from Dipshi Bhattacarjee, content writer at Vantage Circle, a Simple & AI-Powered Rewards & Recognition Platform for Employee Engagement. In a post entitled, “14 Work from Home Tips to Maximize Your Productivity,” Bhattacarjee offers the following suggestions:

  • Get ready for your workday
  • Install quality technology
  • Eat and sleep right
  • Set a morning and evening routine
  • Prepare a to-do-list/planner

Tips 26-30 come courtesy of Becca, who co-founded Half Half Travel Blog, which provides destination guides, travel advice and remote work articles. In addition to creating content, Becca also manages Half Half Travel Blog’s social media.

  • Politely notify family, significant others and neighbours that you’re unavailable
  • Keep your passwords organized
  • Use a timing app
  • Eat foods that make you feel fresh, not sluggish
  • Ditch the TV

Writing for HubSpot, a business software company, Erik Devaney authored a blog post “How to Work from Home: 20 Tips from People Who Do it Successfully.”  Numbers 30-35 on our list come from Devaney’s list.

  • Pretend like you are going to the office
  • Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media
  • Work when you’re more productive
  • Save calls for the afternoon
  • Match your music to the task at hand

Future Workforce

Now that we have explained some ways to boost your productivity when working remotely, let’s shift to the future of the workforce and how that relates to remote work.

At Smartway2, we conducted a Return-to-Work survey of business decision-makers that included overwhelming evidence for continued flexibility in how workers complete their jobs. We found that only 2% of people want to return to the traditional status quo of working from the office full-time, and only 6% of people want to work from home full-time. This leads to a conclusion that hybrid work, where people can retain a sense of flexibility to work from home or the in-person office, is the wave of the future for many companies and industries.

Speaking of hybrid work, we have written extensively on the subject. You can read our post on how hybrid work will transform your business in 2021 by clicking here.

If, like many other companies, you envision hybrid work as a permanent fixture for your employees, a workplace scheduling system will be critical.

Using Smartway2, employees can book a desk, conference room, parking space or equipment in advance. With hybrid work, since employees split their time between home and the in-person office, our software can help make your workplace run a lot more smoothly by enabling employees to see who is coming into the office on which days and what space is reserved. Below we are sharing some of the advantages of using a workplace scheduling system:

  • Ensures workers have somewhere to go when they come into the office. This cuts down on wasted time and any stress regarding a shared-desk system. This can also help to make sure workers have the proper tech and tools they need when they do decide to come into work.
  • Allows managers to understand what type of space they need and how to best organize it. This also lets leaders see who wants to come into the office and when.
  • Enables you to automate a safe return to work, including social distancing and sanitizing measures to keep the office clean and safe amid the pandemic.

Smartway2 offers unique workplace scheduling software for modern, agile and collaborative companies. Our flexible software can enable you to increase productivity, optimize your space and reduce your carbon footprint.

Stefania Vatidis

Stefania Vatidis

Last updated May 10, 2021