Remote work is here to stay. And although there are many benefits to remote employment, there is a concern about how to avoid distractions while spending time at home.
At Happeo, we have helped businesses operate successful remote work strategies for years. We understand the pros and cons of working in a digital workspace and are happy to share these insights with you.
One of the main motivations for remote work is to spend more time at home and less time commuting to the office. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get distracted. Between family obligations and household chores, some individuals don’t know how to balance their personal life with their work time. Below are some of the most common distractions when working and our tips on how to face them head-on.
1. Create a home office
Many modern offices are designed to maximize employee productivity, but our homes lack these innovations. Without a physical boundary like an office or cubicle, it’s tempting to work from the living room couch. Having a dedicated area to work remotely gives people a comfortable and quiet space to work on tasks and make phone or video calls. Ideally, workers should make use of a spare room with a door to reduce noise. This is especially important if you live with family members or roommates and need privacy.
2. Schedule work with to-do lists
A digital platform like Google Calendar can help remote workers schedule a set time to work on tasks. If you are already taking advantage of Google collaboration tools and intranet solutions, you can use Google Calendar to create a work schedule and set important reminders. Time blocking allows users to set aside periods of time to work on specific projects. Don’t forget to factor in time for lunch breaks and personal events such as picking up the kids from school. This gives remote workers the chance to also maintain a healthy work-life balance.
3. Set designated work hours
Some friends and family members assume that working from home means you have a lot of time for frequent lunch or coffee breaks to socialize. This is why remote workers need to learn how to set boundaries. Once you have your workday planned out, do your best to stick with it. Some companies allow employees to choose their own working hours, so try to figure out your peak productivity time. Do you work better first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon? Is 7am – 3pm more conducive to your lifestyle, or 10am – 6pm? The answer to these questions can help you set designated hours.
4. Stay connected with colleagues
One of the biggest problems remote workers face is staying connected with colleagues and team members. Video conferencing and instant messaging applications are among the best replacements for in-person meetings. These tools not only allow teams to see and speak to each other but also share presentations in real-time.
However, just because remote teams can communicate at any time, doesn’t mean this is always productive. Over-communication can be a distraction in and of itself. Instead, remote workers should be on the same page about the time spent working and the time set aside for sending and responding to messages.
5. Manage your devices
Smartphones and other devices have become essential tools in our everyday lives. However, they can cause some serious distractions. To reduce distractions and improve remote productivity, employees may want to block access to certain websites during the workday. There are many handy browser extensions and desktop applications that can block social media sites, television and movie streaming services, and gaming apps during certain times of the day.
6. Put background music for concentration
Music has the power to sharpen your focus and improve your mood while working. Although lyric-heavy tracks may not be the best way to get things done, listening to soft background music is a great tool to help employees engage in tasks while blocking out distracting noise. Headphones also have the perception that someone is focused and not interested in casual conversation, which is useful for adults who live in a shared household.
7. Work outside the home
Sometimes, remote workers find it difficult to stay on task. Perhaps the number of distractions are overwhelming or frustrating to deal with. Getting out of the house keeps employees energized by giving them a new environment to work in. Most local coffee shops, for example, offer free wifi and fewer distractions than a traditional office environment. Co-working spaces and shared offices also provide areas for remote employees to work if they don’t feel like being alone.
8. Suit up
Even though there is no single formula for becoming an efficient remote worker, establishing a routine is critical. This means waking up and getting ready for the day ahead. The simple act of getting dressed allows individuals to transition from their personal life into “work mode”. Getting dressed in the proper work attire is also a way to make sure you look professional for any impromptu video calls.
9. Use the right tools for remote work
Wifi, cloud storage, and other sophisticated digital tools all help the average employee work from home in a sustainable manner. A shared company intranet, for example, is one of the easiest ways for people to stay focused and connected with their teams. Intranets are a digital workplace where colleagues can access files, share updates, and collaborate on projects in real-time. Once a business implements intranet software, employees can log in from any device at any time. It is important for remote workers to make the most of intranet technology to carry out everyday tasks and find essential company information.
10. Take a break
It’s normal for people to feel stressed when working from home. Working for long stretches of time often leads to burnout, causing problems like headaches and fatigue. Instead, employees should spend a certain amount of time each day away from their work environment.
To protect your work-life balance, commit to taking small scheduled breaks. Get up from your desk and freshen your coffee, meditate, or take a walk in nature outdoors. Remember to communicate with your teams about your scheduled breaks, so they don’t attempt to interrupt with phone calls or instant messages.
Avoiding distractions while working remotely
When working from home, there are a number of ways to stay focused and deal with distractions. Take some time to find the right methods that work for you.