Learnt@Deskimo: 5 good habits that will help you stay productive while working remotely
Remote working used to be a perk that employers granted to their most productive employees. With the Covid-19 virus, many companies had to resort to remote working. Suddenly, remote working is the norm.
Many have embraced remote working and want this to stay. Some have also successfully made remote working a real possibility. Then, by nature of their jobs as freelancers and start-up entrepreneurs, others are already familiar with working remotely.
So now that working remotely is touted as a new normal, is this the perfect solution to improving efficiency? Well, remote working can feel more like a punishment than a benefit without the right conditions.
Some reasons cited by remote workers who experience burnout out include a lack of communication and an unmanageable workload.
So while remote working is proven to improve business productivity and lower operating costs, companies that want to move out of their offices and let their employees work remotely also need to manage their employees’ workload to avoid burnout. Similarly, entrepreneurs will also need to set good habits to reduce the anxiety of being overwhelmed.
Here are five good habits you can apply, whether you’re a manager working with a team, an employee or an entrepreneur hustling for your own business.
1. Designate a specific workspace.
In a famous study done in 1975, scuba divers were asked to memorise words underwater and later on land. Results of the study showed that how much they remembered depended on the place. If they were asked to recap the words while on land, they could only remember words given when they were on land. But if asked to repeat the words given to them while they were underwater, they could not do so.
Psychologists call this context-driven memory, and it just means that we remember things associated with work when we are at work. When we are working remotely, we might choose to work from home. But at home, our environment is disrupted by other household items, distracting us and making us more forgetful.
This is why it becomes so important to set up our workspace with items we associate only with work. Having household items directly in our line of sight or on the table next to where we’re working can take us out of a working mindset and into our home mindset. Therefore, we need to surround ourselves with items that cue our brain into that specific work state of mind, inducing us to be as productive as possible.
That’s not easy to do in land-scarce Singapore, where apartment sizes are shrinking rapidly. It might be best to find a co-working space so you can associate the room with work. You can opt to travel further if the commute helps put you in the right state of mind or choose one near your house if you need to run household errands later. The idea is to find a place that reminds you of work so that you can focus solely on work.
2. Take breaks and go outside.
You need to schedule mini-breaks for outdoor walks or exercise. If you have a dog, use that as your excuse to go outside throughout the day. Short breaks hourly can help increase mental clarity and productivity.
Even staring out a window at lush greenery can improve your focus and productivity. Research shows that even 5 minutes breaks where you focus on your breathing before jumping right back can help improve your mood at work and prevent you from being too overwhelmed.
3. Keep regular work hours.
Try to keep meeting schedules and calls with your team scheduled regularly. This planning facilitates workflow better as your teammates know when to huddle on a call.
While you have control over your time when working remotely, be mindful of your calendar, especially when it comes to household matters. Don’t hesitate to put your family members on a calendar and block off time so they know when to talk to you as well.
If you find yourself playing video games in the middle of the day or binging Netflix till 2am just because you can, these are bad habits that you need to stop. You want to keep regular work hours so your body can also function better, keeping with the cyclical rhythms of your body clock.
Remember also to schedule gym hours to work out. Physical health has a substantial positive impact on your mental health.
4. Make it a habit to socialise
Remote working can be lonely. If you work in a co-working space, you might see familiar faces. Try to engage them in small talk at the pantry or communal tables. Apart from the chances of networking across different industries, small talk also elevates moods since it provides an opportunity to improve our mental health.
Socialising staves off feelings of loneliness and helps sharpens memory and cognitive skills, and increases your sense of happiness and well-being. Multiple studies have shown this to be true.
What about digital small talk with your company employees? It’s possible even if you don’t see each other. Check out our blog to learn how to make small talk even when working remotely.
5. Comb your hair, put on work clothes – grooming is still important
Yes, you might be going to your favourite co-working space near your beloved yoga studio. But try to stick to your morning routine (unless it’s Friday, we understand).
Create a morning habit that you will carry out if you go to the office. Shower and shave if you need to, dress up, and spray on perfume.
These small actions put you in the mood for work and help you kick the day off more positively. Rather than working in your pyjamas or joggers daily, make it a habit to wear corporate clothes still most days.
This habit will help you feel more confident and get you to stay on-task, even when you are working remotely.
Working remotely has many advantages, but only if you cultivate good habits and routines. Work is work, whether in the office or away from it. These five good habits will help you maintain a work-life balance and be in top form.
Deskimo is the flexible work platform of choice that helps businesses navigate the new future of work. With us, you and your business can adapt to flexible work and pay-as-you-go across dozens of Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong spaces.