Since the pandemic began, the way we work has shifted considerably. These days, remote and hybrid working models are far more common than they used to be.
So, whether you have taken the plunge and set up on your own as a freelancer, or if your once office-based job now requires you to work from home, you might be on the hunt for working remotely tips and tools that will help you stay focused, adapt to your new working environment, and remain productive.
Some people find that they instantly love working from home, while others feel lost without the structure of being an office and the clear divide between work and leisure time.
If you fall into the latter category, don’t worry.
Keep reading for our full list of helpful tips for working remotely.
1) Invest in your workspace
While not having to commute or prepare a packed lunch are some of the many advantages of remote working, having to make your own workspace can sometimes be a challenge.
Some individuals have to resort to creating makeshift desks out of dining tables and breakfast bars, and find themselves missing the comfortable swivel chairs and wide desks of their old office environment.
But, as you’ll be spending so much time in your remote office, we recommend investing in some new equipment and furniture. It will pay off in the long run, we promise.
If you’re feeling physically comfortable, then your mental productivity and health will be boosted too.
Some other ways you can make yourself more settled at your home workspace include:
- Creating a stand-up desk to stop yourself feeling stiff from sitting all day
- Using a pillow to ease any back problems
- Propping your laptop up on books or a stand to prevent neck pain
- Keeping things tidy and free from clutter – clearing your workspace of distractions will really help you stay focused on the tasks in hand
2) Create your own routine
Becoming your own boss, or simply being away from the office environment, removes your usual daily structure.
With nobody else setting deadlines for you or telling you when you can go for lunch, it’s a good idea to think about your own daily structure.
Start your day by writing a quick plan that includes everything you want to complete and how long you predict each task will make. Make sure you also include time for lunch and regular screen breaks, too.
This will all help you practice effective time management and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
3) Motivate yourself with to-do lists
Similarly, a to-do list will help you prioritise what needs to be done first, stay productive and feel the satisfaction of completing and crossing off each different task.
Without a clear working order for the day, you might find yourself just flitting from task to task without giving anything attention it requires.
Starting the day by writing a to-do list (ordered with the most urgent at the top) and finishing it by admiring all the many things you can managed to complete, will help you stay positive and excited about your projects.
4) Embrace the world’s many video conferencing tools
Sometimes, talking things through can be so much easier than trying to explain, plan and negotiate over email.
Just because you might work physically alone, it doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting verbally with people all together.
If you have things to discuss with a partner, client or colleague, don’t be afraid to set up a video call or meeting if you think it will help and be quicker than typing out your thoughts and questions.
Speaking to people regularly, and seeing each other’s faces, can also help you improve your relationship with them, and stop you feeling so isolated whilst working remotely.
Some video conferencing tools to try include:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
- Google Meets
5) Utilise project management tools
If you’re working as a team or by yourself, digital project management tools are an easy way of organising your tasks and projects and making sure you meet every deadline.
Tools like Trello allow you to make ‘cards’ for each individual task you have, add deadlines, notes and assign any other partners or colleagues to them.
This stops you from forgetting about every little thing you meant to do, and provides a clear way of seeing how busy you are and whether you have capacity to take on any more freelance projects.
Some project management tools for remote working include:
6) Get a time-tracking tool
Whether you are monitoring how much time your employees spend on each task, or making sure you don’t work over budget for your clients, time-tracking tools are such an easy and quick way of ensuring your projects and day-to-day plans are running efficiently.
Just click ‘Start’ every time you begin a task and ‘End’ every time you finish one.
More in-depth time-tracking tools can also monitor a whole team’s output and log times for different projects.
You can also use timers to schedule regular breaks for yourself. This will help the day go quicker, and improve your work output.
Here are a few time-tracking tools for individual freelancers and teams:
- Time and Date