My role at Acceleration Partners was my first ever 100% remote working role. When I started remote working, I certainly faced some challenges, and it wasn’t an easy adjustment. To help those who are remote working for the first time, I’m going to share some tips and best practices I’ve picked up along the way to ensure maximum productivity.
1. Include regular breaks
Remote working means no office distractions and increased focus, and this makes it all the more important to take breaks often. When you hit a roadblock or find yourself getting more easily distracted; take a break! Normally I would ensure I get fresh air every day, but for many under lockdown across Europe, this isn’t possible. If you can’t go outside, it’s still important to have regular breaks from your work to ensure you are focused and present. During your lunch break read a book or magazine and make sure you get away from your screen or put the time in to connect with co-workers virtually. We also have fun calls with the team where we do ice breaker questions, play virtual games such as Pictionary or discuss our plans for the week ahead.
2. Plan your schedule
With this newfound time and flexibility, it’s important to define a clear schedule that works for you and maximises your productivity. Suddenly you have new distractions, like that pile of washing that needs doing or housemates also working from home.
I like to start my day by listing the three tasks I will commit to completing before the end of the day. Focusing on to do’s like this allows you to stay focused, not veer from your priorities and create a clear structure for the day ahead. Tools such as productivity planner are a great way to document this. We also have a #Commit-to-3 Slack channel to allow people in the team to feel accountable for their priorities.
3. Set a morning routine that works for you
When you travel to an office each day, you have a clear routine. Working from home this changes.
Working from home doesn’t mean checking emails in bed in your PJ’s. A steady morning routine will help you separate your professional part of your day from your personal life and ensure maximum focus.
It’s so important to start your day, right! Set the alarm, get dressed and fuel for the day with a good breakfast. These small but important tasks help you to prepare for the day ahead. I also find getting dressed as if I was going to work in an office helps my productivity and focus.
4. Dedicated working space
I live in zone two in London, so I certainly don’t have the luxury of lots of space. However, it’s still important to dedicate an area to work. Where possible, make sure it’s comfortable, quiet, and there are minimal distractions. If you are working in a communal space such as a lounge or dining area, tidy up your work items at the end of the day, so it helps you to separate the personal and professional. If you and your partner are both having to work from home, try and dedicate separate work areas or at least one quiet area for calls.
5. Communication is key
Working remotely means that it’s more important than ever to have good communication lines with your team. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the loss of social interaction. That break to make a cup of tea with a colleague or a drink after a busy day at work. You also can’t just pop over to someone’s desk for a quick catch-up or to ask them something urgent.
Be sure to reach out to your team regularly. We use Slack across Acceleration Partners for informal communication and all of our conference calls are on video.
Working from home is an adjustment, but with the right plans in place, it’s possible to see your productivity soar.