When I first started working from home, doubling the work productivity was my pursuit.
How would I, with no prior remote work experience, possibly do that?
Saving on three hours of commute time and a hundred miles of physical exertion per day could lead to higher productivity, I thought.
Only if it was that easy. Yup, you guessed it right. That didn’t fly.
Instead, I exhausted myself by working overtime every day. And breaking this loop seemed impossible.
Finally, after months of trial and error, and relentless practice, I found the right mix.
By incorporating a few new habits and lifestyle changes, I did double my remote work productivity.
Outside executing on my regular work streams, I spearheaded new projects, built new skills, increased my relationship capital, and developed good practices.
To know what these habits and changes are that led to my doubled remote work productivity, read on.
Tactic #1: Set up a remote work space that stimulates thinking
For remote work from home, you’re running the show from your desk or your make-shift setups. A clutter-free surrounding will help you perform better.
Look around and see what bothers you the most.
Is it the cables?
Even with so many Wi-Fi devices around, we’ve all got a bunch of tech gear we need every day that still require cables.
Don’t worry, I’m going to share a simple hack I employ to bring down all the cables, encroaching my desk, to just one. I use a USB-C multi-port hub that supports all my gear.
Because the multi-port hub comes with a long cable (it was hard to find one!), I’m able to extend and tuck it under my desk.
My desk is now neat, and I have got plenty of blank space to stimulate my thinking.
Tactic #2: Respect your body
The effect of bad posture is not a new concept for any of us. What we choose to ignore are the signs we get from our bodies every day. Incorrect sitting posture for long hours takes a toll on our remote work productivity. It’s scary to realize how it continues to build up over time and has severe long-term effects.
That’s why it’s worth learning more about ergonomic home office setup for working remotely.
The NHS website sums it up well in a simplistic way. Your employer might also have resources to support you with your ergonomic training and needs. You should ask around and take advantage of it.
Once you know what’s the right posture, follow this next tip.
See if you could have a mirror put up on the closest wall next to your workspace/(s). This will allow you to monitor your posture until you form the habit.
Investing in ergonomic products such as adjustable chairs, standing desks, and wrist-support for mouse and keyboard would also help. Although, the other two tactics above are still enough and useful for any desk setup.
Even if it’s for fifteen minutes, work out. Yoga, HIIT, pilates, running, walking, cardio boxing, stepper—the options are endless. Just pick the one you might enjoy the most. Plug in your favorite music, podcast, or instructor, and get going. I can’t stress enough how much of an important role it plays in my day being productive.
Tactic #3: Network
Don’t miss out on having fun through the remote activities available at your workplace to network with coworkers. But don’t pressure yourself into doing it just because you think it’s the right thing to do, or an expected norm. Go with a flow that suits you.
You could set up a virtual coffee talk or group lunch. Share thoughts, laughter, and pains, just as you would in a physical workspace. From team-organized activities to self-started virtual catch-ups, I take advantage of them all whenever I can. Not only does it help me refresh my mind, but it also allows me to build relationships.
Of course, there are other things that you could pursue to socialize.
Are there any communities you would love to join or build?
I work with people in Employee Resource Organizations to foster inclusion and diversity at our workplace. Hosting events and activities for this community has been very refreshing and purposeful.
One other option is to network outside your department across the organization to build new connections and explore opportunities.
Thus, when remote, there are many ways to socialize so to work as effectively as you would in a physical setting.
Tactic #4: Break up your day
Do you know the most powerful tool that can transform your remote work life?
All we need to do is to use it diligently. Block time for the ONE thing and the strategic breaks that would keep you on top of your goals and energized throughout the day.
I mark everything from exercising to reading on my calendar. Agreed, you might have to move things around a few times per week for critical tasks, but it’s alright as long as you don’t overdo it.
Tactic #5: Invest in yourself
Is there a new skill, hobby, or side hustle that would help you take your mind off from extended remote work hours and bounce back with twice the energy?
I find my side hustle, this blog, an effective channel that compliments my day job. Building skills through this additional creative outlet helps me bring back fresh ideas to my work. For you, it could be something entirely different.
Once you find out what you enjoy and can help you grow, pursue it.
Life is always going to be busy.
Tactic #6: Hydrate
The more you hydrate, the better off is your mind and body. It is a timeless theory.
It’s simple to execute and yet hard to achieve, especially when you’re working remotely.
The only way to make it work is to be intentional about it. In the beginning, I went to the lengths of keeping three tumblers at my desk to get into the habit.
You got to do whatever it takes.
Next, setting hydration goals is probably more important than you think. So set the goal and measure it.
After all, who doesn’t get motivated by positive results?
There are two complimenting ways in which I measure the impact. First, I use a smart weighing scale to monitor and compare my body water with previous weeks. Second, I notice indicators like reduction in burnout and improvement in energy levels. If I feel less tired and more energized throughout the day, it’s a strong sign that hydration is doing its work in the background.
So get that H2O doze, now!
Tactic #7: Ask
Working from home for the entire week and months might be new for you.
But, if you think about your coworkers, most likely, you will get at least one name in your head who has been a remote worker all along.
Why not ask them and take inspiration from their real-life examples? I’m sure they have figured out a thing or two that they would love to share with you.
There are small habitual changes that add up over time to keep your remote work productivity on a high. I did not get all of this in place at once. No one will. But I’m happy I stuck around and kept building one good habit at a time.
Which of the above tactics are you going to start with first?
For daily or weekly mood boosters, come hang out with me on Instagram where I share both serious and silly hacks in byte size.