Working for a fully remote work or hybrid work office provides the opportunity to make your workday work for your life. Our remote work expert shares seven strategies for an effective remote workday.
We live in an exciting time for work. The remote work phenomenon marks the most significant change to how we work since the introduction of the 40-hour workweek, conceptualized by Henry Ford. After the Industrial Revolution, employees worked incredibly long hours, somewhere around 80 to 100 per week. So, industries introduced the 40-hour week to protect employees from exhausting overtime. Since then, a lot has changed.
Technology has significantly shifted how the workday looks and the types of jobs that are accessible. Now, you can be a freelancer, work on a project-based assignment, or start and run your own business using the available cloud tools. You can also choose to work in an in-person office or a remote work office. Remote work opens the doors for more diversity in hiring, better work life balance for families and access to companies all over the world. Work is no longer a place to go, but rather something we can do from anywhere.
The Remote Work Day
Cloud computing technology introduced on-demand services and products, which helped speed up workplace innovation. The introduction of the internet also increased the pace of business and removed the geographic barriers around communication. Where previously, business communication would take days or weeks to travel across the globe; now, we can interact with colleagues and coworkers in seconds.
Despite the implied ease that comes with it, remote work requires self-discipline and self-motivation. Without the traditional office structure, the new challenge becomes managing your workload while avoiding remote work side effects like Zoom Fatigue. In addition, when you work remotely, you are in charge of managing your daily schedule. And this schedule includes work responsibilities and daily life responsibilities like driving your kids to school or walking your dog. So, mastering time management is imperative and ultimately dictates overall success.
Here are some ways to break up and manage your remote workday without losing your sanity or minimizing your impact.
1. Choose Asynchronous Work
For each planned meeting, ask yourself or the meeting organizer if asynchronous communication could solve the matter. Offer to provide a detailed list of updates or questions as a secondary option to hopping on another call. This alternative limits interruptions to your remote workflow, especially when you need to focus on completing tasks.
2. Always Have an Agenda
Ask for the agenda of each meeting you are invited to so you can join with a clear understanding of what you will be discussing and how best to contribute. If you are leading a meeting, even a short one, include an agenda. This simple preparation helps remote work meetings stay on task and finish on time - a win for all.
3. Take a Break
Cushion your remote workday calendar with 30 minutes between each meeting, and use the time intentionally. For example, walk away from your computer, grab a snack or review notes from your last meeting. This mental space can allow you to reset, reflect and allow your brain to enter diffuse mode - which can help you problem-solve.
4. Flex Your “No” Muscle
Don’t schedule more than three meetings a day. This limit may sound impossible, but you won’t believe how productive you will become as a result. To take it further, set entire remote workdays with no meetings to help you knock out focus-heavy action items without feeling overwhelmed or hard-pressed for time.
5. The Pomodoro Method for Time Management
Time management techniques can help increase your productivity along with your overall happiness at work. For example, the Pomodoro method involves working for 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between. This rhythm helps to maintain concentration and lower instances of unfinished projects.
6. Protect the Necessities
Set predefined time slots for daily activities like having lunch, exercising and socializing. Setting and protecting these parameters is especially important for anyone new to remote workers who may feel compelled to stay head down and skip breaks. Remember, time-outs prevent burnout.
7. Track the Small Stuff
Have daily checklists for everything you need to do during your remote workday. Intentionally include things like paying your utility bills or scheduling your oil change. Checking the “small things” off your list creates a feeling of achievement - something we can all use more of.
The Future of Work is Self-Managed
Whether hybrid or full-time, the remote work model is likely here to stay and will grow as technology continues to innovate. But, even with consistent communication between you and your team, and multiple ways to communicate, remote work requires a lot of self-management. So, develop a livable work pace and routine that allows you room to breathe and stay on top of your projects and deliverables. Productive people will always help drive the needle, but healthy, productive people make a greater impact, not only on the work they do but the people they work with.
For more remote work tips, check out the remote work topic on our blog.