Time management: best practices for remote work
Working remotely from your apartment or while being on business travel? It doesn’t really matter because while working in a remote system, only the final result counts. This form of employment is becoming more and more popular in Poland and recent world events have expanded the need for it.
Companies had to change their work plans from the regular 9-5 to a full-time home office. We did it too, moving 800 people from office to remote in just 24 hours.
Such changes require employees and a manager to work out the best way to manage their time and efficiency in a different work environment.
Switching to home office requires good preparation and strategy. You may be wondering how to show your team that you’re doing your job without them seeing you.
Well, when your software development teams work remotely your relation has to be based on responsibility and trust. It may sound obvious but we shouldn’t forget that jobs with a high level of trust help people grow both personally and professionally.
A lot of companies, which – due to a pandemic alert – were forced to move their employees home, have already recognised that remote working could be effective.
Some of them are keeping it safe by combining the benefits of remote teams with the traditional management model. In this scenario, a daily Skype videoconference, where everyone is reporting to their supervisor is still a must.
Ironically, everything now depends on employees and their ability to self-organise, which allows them to manage their work properly.
We’ve prepared some tips for you to succeed in working in the 100% remote model.
Tips for effectively managing your remote work
Switching to remote work requires a change of attitude. To get the most out of it, get familiar with a bunch of tips from our colleagues, who work remotely all the time.
- Choose your place to work
If you have an opportunity to work in a separate room where nobody disturbs you take advantage of it. It greatly facilitates the efficiency of remote work.
If you need to work where other household members spend time, try to find your own corner and make the most of it. Put your headphones on, turn your favourite music on, make yourself a cup of tea and try to work in at least two-hour long intervals.
- Pretend you are in the office
Getting used to working in the office can increase productivity, so there is no reason to abandon your daily routine while working remotely.
Do everything you need to do to prepare yourself for the usual workday: set an alarm clock to get up in the morning, make yourself a cup of coffee, put on clothes that you would normally put on going to the office. While sitting in front of the computer in pyjamas, we subconsciously tell ourselves that it is time to relax, not work. It may reduce motivation.
You can even set up multiple browser accounts with different toolbars at the top – for example, for home and work-related activities.
- Plan your day
Working at home, you are your own manager. Without things like personal schedule, you can quickly lose concentration or burn out.
Decide what time do you want to start, what time do you finish, what breaks you will take during the day etc. Answering these three simple questions is very important. If you do not create such a schedule and allow your work to be interrupted by numerous random events every day.
To keep up with your plan, write down all upcoming tasks and calculate how much of your time would they take.
Start with the most demanding things in the morning. If you have an online calendar, create some events (with reminders) that prompt you when you switch to other tasks.
- Start early
When working in the office, morning commutes can help you wake up and feel ready to work before you get to your desk. At home, the transition from pillow to computer may be much more difficult.
Believe it or not, but one way to work efficiently from home is to start your work as soon as you wake up. Getting started early in the morning can be the key to finishing everything you have on your TO DO list on time.
- Focus on your tasks and avoid social networks
While working remotely, it’s very easy to distract yourself with social media, thus fall into the vortex of endless browsing. To reduce the risk of doing so during business hours, remove them from the browser shortcuts and log out of each account. You can also use browser plug-ins to block various sites while working.
One of such plugins is the Block Site (available on both Chrome and Firefox browsers), in which we enter a list of websites.
- Make sure you have the tools and equipment necessary
In order to work efficiently you need to make sure you have the equipment necessary – apart from a comfortable chair and computer, make sure you have a working web camera, headphones or speaker and anything else you use on a daily basis.
Once you have the equipment, it’s time to think about online tools that will allow you to conduct or participate in meetings with your team members – take some time to think about what will come in handy and install them on your computer beforehand.
- Keep it safe
Taking care of data security in your home office during remote work is just as important as in the workplace. Here are some tips to make your work safer:
- Before you start working remotely, create a backup of your most important documents or data.
- Upgrade the software installed on your computer (including antivirus) and check if the operating system is fully updated.
- If you store some sensitive data on your computer, make sure that the medium on which you hold it is encrypted.
- If working on a computer that other people have access to, set a strong password to your business-related account and log out of it every time you leave the room.
- When using your home Wi-Fi network for remote work, make sure it has a strong password.
- Pay special attention to fake emails that reach you and do not act emotionally. Beware of phishing attacks. Think twice before clicking on the link in the email. If necessary, verify the message by phone or in person.
Remote work allows employees to manage their working hours by themselves, saves commuting time, allows to spend more time with their families. Some team members may also be very efficient and can perform tasks better and faster.
On the other hand, the inexperienced remote team might suffer from developing bad habits, some of them may become less motivated or procrastinating.
Both groups could be motivated and managed effectively with the implementation of the most suitable team management framework.