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Increase remote work productivity: The complete guide in 7 steps

Working from home has many benefits, but sometimes it's challenging. You can quickly procrastinate or get distracted by household chores. Sometimes you just hit a blocker that hinders your flow, and you're stuck for the rest of the day. But with the right strategies, remote work productivity is possible.

Overall, remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts. According to a survey by Connect Solutions, 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times a month reported greater productivity while working offsite, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same amount of time.

In the early days of the pandemic, remote work became the norm, and along with it came a rise in productivity. In a 2021 report by Owl Labs, 90% of remote workers said they were equally or more productive when working remotely compared to the office.

Nonetheless, productivity is complex. It can be affected by motivation, mood, mental health, work environment, work tools, and a myriad of things that can escape a worker's hands. But here's a good rule of thumb of the points to keep in mind for employers and employees to guarantee productivity.

In this article, we'll go through 8 ways employers and employees can increase remote work productivity. From reducing distractions to getting the right tools, these tips will help you get more done at home.

7 ways to increase remote work productivity for organizations and employees

The first four tips focus on how companies can increase remote work productivity; the remaining tips are intended to help remote workers find ways to increase their productivity.

1. Provide the right tools to collaborate effectively

Healthy and productive remote working starts by providing employees with the proper tools to do their work –equipment like laptops and monitors and digital collaboration tools that simplify communication.

Companies can offer a stipend for employees to purchase the necessary equipment like desks, chairs, monitors, or anything they need to work effectively.

Collaboration software or tools allow teams to work on projects, enabling more people to use their knowledge and experience to solve problems and complete tasks. In addition, they improve communication across teams by providing easy-to-use interfaces that don't require complicated setup or training.

2. Communicate often and provide feedback

When you work remotely, there's no opportunity to quickly ask someone a question or discuss something with them in person. That's why communication tools are paramount.

Messaging services like Slack are helpful for day-to-day discussions and quick questions. They allow you to communicate in real time and get answers when needed. 

Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype can be used for more in-depth discussions or meetings with remote employees. But don't overdo it. Meeting overload can be detrimental to productivity. A survey of 76 companies found that productivity was 71 percent higher when meetings were reduced by 40 percent.

Productivity software like Monday or Trello can help track projects and give employees a sense of where they stand.

The most effective way to improve remote work productivity is by providing feedback regularly. You can do this through weekly check-ins or other end-of-the-week sessions. 

Feedback should be constructive and specific—it's essential not to complain about someone's work habits but instead explain what they can do differently to improve their performance.

3. Foster social interaction and connection

It can be challenging to feel connected when employees are not interacting with each other daily and in close proximity.

Organizations need to make an effort to foster social interaction and connection among remote employees to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness. Besides, a solid remote company culture is based on healthy interactions and communication. 

A few ways to promote social interaction inside organizations include:

  • Random meetings with coworkers through video conferencing.
  • Virtual coffee chats and happy hours where employees can get to know each other.
  • Informal channels where workers can interact and talk about non-work related topics.
  • Retreats and in-person meetings every six months to a year for team-building activities
    Provide recognition for outstanding work

As an employer, you can help your remote employees feel more engaged and motivated to achieve results.

One way to do this is by recognizing employees' great work. Recognition is important because it helps workers feel valued and appreciated, which leads to higher satisfaction ratings, greater employee retention rates, and improved overall productivity.

It doesn't have to be something huge—a simple thank-you email or a shout-out on your intranet can go a long way for remote workers who may not receive many accolades in their day-to-day lives.

4. Have a defined routine and schedule

A routine can be the difference between working at your peak performance and feeling like you're slogging through a swamp.

One of remote work's most notable advantages is that you can create your own flexible schedule. This structure allows you to find your rhythm and better use your time.

A dedicated routine can help you kickstart your work day by allowing you to spend time for yourself. Having a clear plan for the day can boost your energy, improve your mood and get you into a working flow.

Regardless of being a morning person or a night owl, allow time in your day to get sunlight. Natural light helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which improves focus and creativity.

Movement is paramount for remote workers who can get caught up at their desks for long hours. Whether it's joining a gym, enjoying a yoga class, or going for a quick walk, including some exercise in your daily routine can improve productivity throughout your day. Consider incorporating an online personal trainer. An online personal trainer is affordable and uses personal training software to create tailored workout plans for you. 

You should schedule your routine around your peak productivity hours, setting precise times for focus and sticking to them.

After defining your most productive hours in a day, strategize the best ways to tackle your to-do list. Talk to your managers constantly, so you have clear daily priorities and expectations.

A good schedule includes work tasks and allows time for rest and activities outside of work. Be intentional about scheduling plans with friends and family and making time for hobbies and personal interests.

5. Establish clear boundaries and priorities

When working from home, you can be tempted by distractions around you, like watching TV or doing housework. Family members might want to ask you for help with a project or want to have a conversation.

It would help if you established clear boundaries to avoid these distractions from taking over your day. Let your family or the people you live with know that you are busy during certain hours of the day. Unless something is urgent, they should not contact you. If you need boundaries for your IT team, check out this article on IT asset management practices.

The environment you work in can significantly affect how productive you feel. In an ideal scenario, your home office is in a separate room in your home where you can work without distractions. That designated area should also have work supplies, an office chair, and a clean desk.

6. Allow time for deep focus but also breaks

Time management in a distributed work arrangement can look different for each employee, but a good rule of thumb is to include dedicated blocks of time for deep focus followed by times to relax and refresh. Physical activity can also be used to relieve stress and go back to working remotely when it matters most. 

Taking breaks can look as simple as a 10-minute pause after a work call or a more elaborate pause like going on vacation or asking for a mental health day.

Fatigue and burnout can commonly occur in remote work when workers accumulate days, months –or even years– without taking time off. When business and personal life boundaries are unclear, employees can end up working longer hours.

If managers notice that an employee seems to be getting burned out or anxious from working too hard, they should offer a few days off so that person can rest their mind and body.

7. Take care of your health

Last but not least, make sure you're taking good care of your physical and mental health. If you don't feel well, it'll be impossible to be productive.

As a remote worker, you're not as accountable to anyone but yourself. This means it can be easy to let work build up on your plate until it becomes overwhelming. The steps we discussed, like creating a routine and sticking to a schedule, will help you avoid getting caught up in work-life balance issues. 

Daily habits like getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and exercising can greatly impact remote worker’s wellness and productivity.

Stress management is crucial for remote work productivity. Mental health can be overlooked when you're trying to juggle a million tasks at once. When you feel overwhelmed, write down what needs to get done and assign a priority to each task. Work on one thing at a time until it's complete before moving to the next thing. Cultivating a comfortable and well-equipped home setup is vital to create a conducive work environment, promoting better focus, efficiency, and overall well-being during remote work.

Finally, it's crucial to have a self-care plan to tap into when you're not feeling well. Allowing time in the sun, contact with loved ones, and hobbies can help you manage stress and stay healthy.

Final thoughts on remote work productivity

Remote work has proven benefits for organizations and it's even helping to solve social challenges. Still, flexibility and distributed teams can also raise concerns about productivity, especially when managers can't monitor their employees' face-to-face interactions

For employers, the best way to ensure remote employee productivity is by providing them with the tools and support they need to succeed.

On the other hand, workers need to make sure they have an appropriate workplace, stay organized and take care of their health for optimized remote work productivity.

The bottom line is that a company culture based on trust and clear communication will alleviate any worries regarding productivity.

If your company is looking to provide the necessary tools for its remote workforce, we can help you. We offer smart equipment management for globally distributed teams at the touch of a button. Request a demo to efficiently set up employees in more than 150+ countries and help your business scale.

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