As someone who is fortunate enough to work from home regularly, I have developed a process for making my remote work time as productive as it can be, but also being responsive enough so that my presence is not missed. A few things that I do that I have found to be effective:
- Keep the same hours. Just because your environment has changed does not mean your routine has to. This is also important so that your colleagues can reach you and collaborate with you while you are remote.
- Set a goal—or goals—for the day. Know ahead of time what you are going to work on so that you can start off the day with focused energy, rather than bouncing between tasks. I use my remote days to work on large projects that I know I need to spend concentrated, uninterrupted time on, or projects that are part of a larger goal that needs to be kept moving forward. I highly recommend using a tool like the Productivity Planner, where you write down your top five tasks for each day and track how much time it takes you to complete them.
- Be responsive. Your colleagues will still need to communicate with you even if you’re not physically there. Make sure that you are responsive to requests, and if you need uninterrupted time, let your team members know that there will be blocks of time when you are unavailable (via a Slack status or calendar block).
- Have a dedicated space. When I work from home, I work from my home office so that I have everything I need and minimal distractions. Set up your space so that you have to focus—keep clutter minimal and remove anything you know will distract you from your work.
- Move around! Make sure you’re still stretching or walking around and not just sitting at your desk all day. This will give you more energy and a much needed break from the screen.