How to Stay Productive While Working Remotely

5 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employees to work remotely during the quarantine period. While many business leaders are familiar in managing a remote staff, some are encountering different challenges than they usually do. For people who can do their job with just a laptop or computer, it is certainly easier to work remotely. A reliable machine and a stable internet connection mean a growing number of people can work remotely and do their tasks from all across the world.

We asked our management team and offshoring experts who have spent many years working with businesses to set up remote teams in the Philippines for tips on how to make remote work productive and enjoyable for both business owners and their team. Here are a few factors to consider:

Staying Productive

Set up real work hours and stay away from social media if possible. Reading negative news on your social media feed can distract you and can even make you feel anxious in doing your tasks. It helps to also have clear breaks and walk around your house every once in a while. Don’t also think that things are different simply because you are at home. Follow your schedule as you would typically do in the office and continue writing a To-Do list for the day. Staying away from your TV, gaming console and even your fridge can help you focus more. Always remember that having the right mindset will always help you get the job done.

Setting up your workstation at home

Set up your workstation in a comfortable area at home and make it far from your bed or couch. Most of the time, you will need to take a short break, but there is also a chance that you will fall asleep. Feel free to pump up the volume of your favourite music to avoid any distractions.

Set up your workstation far from your bed to avoid falling asleep when you are feeling tired.
Set up your workstation far from your bed to avoid falling asleep when you are feeling tired.

Setting up a few rules with your family while you are working can also help you keep your focus. If you have kids or siblings living with you, ask them to observe behaviour. (Ask them to wear headphones while watching a movie or keep their voice down when you are in a virtual meeting).

Keeping your team engaged

Schedule regular catch-ups with your team using group calls before or after work hours. Ask your team how they are doing during this quarantine period before starting your everyday meetings. Check in if there is any feeling of anxiety or uncertainty among your team members too. Your willingness to listen to your team will help boost their morale and productivity. Mixing a few activities during your weekly meetings will make your team feel more comfortable connecting with you. It also gives something to look forward to every week. It can be a simple Kahoot game or sending funny memes in your group chat. What matters is that you are willing to throw a little fun once in a while.

Promoting work and life balance at home

Working from home can still burn you out and it is important to make a conscious effort to separate work and personal time at home. Do a quick exercise before ending your day and if you have a home office set up, take advantage of being able to walk out of that room and close the door once you finish all the tasks for the day. 

Set proper expectations for your work schedule and schedule meetings accordingly so you can enjoy having regular lunch breaks with your family. Avoid responding to emails or messages outside your work hours unless completely necessary so that your colleagues get used to relying on you only during your set schedule. Use the time you usually spend travelling to and from to work on doing exercise routines, reading, learning a new skill or binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix.

Knowing the right tools

Using the right tools will enable your team to become more efficient. As for meetings, we use Skype for messaging and Google Hangouts for larger meetings. If you are looking for an available time to set up a meeting with your team, you can try using “Find a Time” on Google Calendar and choose what time works best for everyone in the group.

On the other hand, when monitoring tasks and productivity, we use our very own MyDiversify staff management tool. This enables us to monitor staff attendance, set up incentives and even manage tasks to individual members of the team.

We hope you and your team are adjusting well as people around the world adapt to this new normal and we are here to help if you need help setting up your own remote team.

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