This month at Think Productive, we’re celebrating the fifth characteristic of the Productivity Ninja: unorthodoxy.
In short, unorthodoxy is about being unafraid to do things a little differently, and not doing something purely because “it’s just the way we’ve always done it”. But it’s also more than that. It’s about focusing on the end goal of productivity, knowing that there are multiple ways in which to achieve something, and being prepared to figure out what the best way is going to be for you. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s about being open – to change, to new ideas, and to the possibility of breaking the status quo.
Remote employees are a prime example of one of the ways in which many businesses are embracing some Ninja-esque unorthodoxy.
The age old question: can you really work from home as productively as in the office?
We’d certainly like to think so! The thing to remember here, though, is that just because it is possible to be a productive remote employee, what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. There are always going to be those who can only hit their productivity sweet spot at their regular office desk, in a shirt and tie.
But, if you have the opportunity to try working remotely, and want to give it a go, here are some of our tips for keeping things productive!
1. Just because you’re not at work, doesn’t mean you don’t need a workspace.
If you have a home office, great! If not, there are lots of ways you can create a workspace of your own, whether you set up a desk in the corner of your living room, take full control of the kitchen table, or escape to a nearby coffee house for the duration of the workday.
What’s important here is that you differentiate between the spaces that you work in, and the spaces you relax in. Having a regular place to work allows your brain to associate your workspace with your work brain, so that you can get into a productivity zone.
2. Suit up! (Well, kind of.)
Maybe you’re one of those people that gets their best work done in their pyjamas. If that’s what works for you, go for it! For many of us, though, we need to feel like there’s a significant start to the work day to pull us into a productive mind set. Get up, get dressed, and get ready for the day as though you were going to head into the office. Physical preparedness often stimulates mental preparedness.
3. Give yourself a proper lunch break.
If you’re working remotely, the responsibility is entirely on you to make sure that you’re taking a proper break. Remote employees might find that they have far more options for their lunch breaks – you can cook yourself a proper meal, or squeeze in an episode of Game of Thrones on the sofa – but you need to make sure that you don’t half-work through lunch. There won’t be anybody to call you away from your desk for a cup of tea, or nudge you to run across the road and get some food. Pick a time for your lunch break to begin (set an alarm if you need to), and stick to it.
4. Know how (and when!) to clock off.
If you’re working from a café, your walk home acts as a signal for the end of the work day. But if you’re at home, you need some way to transition out of your work brain, and create distinction between your work life and personal life. You might want to leave the house for a short walk at the end of the day, or change out of the clothes you’ve been working in. This is also where having a set workspace can be useful, as you can physically remove yourself from the work environment.
It’s also important to make sure you don’t overwork yourself. Set alarms for the end of the work day, to avoid putting in too many extra hours.
Do you ever work remotely? Feel free to share your own tips with us, by tweeting @thinkproductive
By Steph Rathbone