13 Best Practices for Working Remotely—Make Every Minute Count

Working remotely is not a new concept—but there are best practices for getting more done from anywhere and everywhere. Some of those best practices have evolved with technology. Others are staples of the productive remote worker.

After working remotely—from home offices to cubicles in airport lounges to doctor offices waiting for a checkup—I’ve discovered 13 tips, tricks and thought processes that help me worker smarter, faster and more efficiently. Let’s dive in.

  1. Get dressed every day.

There’s an old joke that remote workers—especially people who work from home—conduct business in their pajamas. Well, at least until after lunch. In the early days, I subscribed to that theory but I realized it hindered my productivity. About 20 years ago, someone told me to get up, get dressed, put my shoes on and act like I was going to work. That helped me shift my mindset and drove up my productivity.

  1. Create a dedicated workspace.

If you are working in a coffee shop or on an airplane, obviously you’re at the mercy of your environment. But if you work from home or even in a hotel, setting up a dedicated workspace with all the tools you need at hand will help you get more done—guaranteed.

  1. Create a daily schedule the night before.

I use a Franklin day timer. I also use Google Docs. At the end of every workday, I write a list of what I need to accomplish the next day. I set a schedule for the morning, mid-morning, afternoon and late afternoon. I know what my priorities are—and I accomplish most of my goals every day.

  1. Use earbuds or get a wireless headset.

This way, you can use your hands to take notes, type or otherwise multitask. This is especially helpful when you are on hold making appointments. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t plow through that e-mail box.

  1. Keep your passwords handy.

Some web browsers have password savers. You can also store your e-mail, social media and online application passwords in a file or hand write them in a notebook. Losing a password is a waste of time.

  1. Invest in the right software tools.

If you need online storage, buy it. Google Drive offers cheap storage. Automatic data backup? Invest. Graphics programs like Photoshop? Get them. You’ll be more productive with the right tools, especially cloud-based tools that are accessible from anywhere.

  1. Set boundaries.

Too many people have the wrong impression if you work from home, you can talk to them anytime when you work remotely. It's easy and productive. Have a lot of callers? Consider adding a Virtual Receptionist. They're easy to set up and extremely affordable! 

  1. Stay connected.

If you work with a team—whether the team is remote or in an office—stay connected. Use Zoom for video conferencing, or other instant messenger programs that make you visible so your clients or boss know you are on point.

  1. Do the right task at the right time.

There’s a concept success coach Brian Tracy teaches called “eat that frog.” Do the hardest thing you have to do on any given day first while your energy is high. Get it over with. The rest of the day will be easier.

  1. Over-communicate.

Since it’s easy for misunderstandings to occur via e-mail—or e-mail to get lost in cyberspace—over-communicate. If someone doesn’t respond to a vital message, follow up with a text, instant message or phone call. Don’t assume they got it.

  1. Plan group meetings when possible.

Do you find yourself sounding like a broken record? Stop wasting time holding individual meetings when a group meeting—much like a group e-mail—will drive more efficiency and productivity. Davinci Meeting Rooms offers a variety of meeting room spaces for you to plan the perfect meeting! 

  1. Get the right mobile apps.

If you spend even a few hours away from your desk each week, rely on mobile technology—rely on mobile apps to help you stay focused. Voxer is great for quick talks. Google Drive is available on your phone. Get connected.

  1. Don’t forget to take breaks.

This is my downfall. I get in a zone and don’t stop. Sitting is the new smoking. Get up and take a break. You’ll be more productive in the long term if you do.

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