In most cases, remote work isn’t what people expect it to be. Due to the recent events happening around the world with COVID-19 many workers have been forced to work remotely.
One of the biggest challenges remote workers face is with their productivity levels. Many struggle with the lack of oversight from their managers which they are usually accustomed to. Even if you think you don’t have any issues with productivity levels while working from home you could still improve it. We reached out to 17 marketing leaders to find out how they remain productive while working from home:
Break up Your Day
The key is to break up your day and take time away from your laptop. This sound obvious, but it’s incredibly important. When lockdowns started to happen for the coronavirus pandemic, I thought I would be even more productive. After all, I had been used to working remote after 3+ years of doing it full time, and now all other distractions would fall away too. Turns out, non-work distractions are necessary for knowledge work. Take that walk, play a little guitar, read a book, or best bet, foster a dog. These diversions help, not hurt, your work from home productivity.
Alex Birkett, Sr Growth Marketer at HubSpot and Co-founder at Omniscient Digital
Create Different Work Zones
If you have the space (and if you work on a laptop), I love creating different work zones. I only live in a relatively small apartment, so I do this by moving between pieces of furniture.
So when I’m writing for 1-2 hours at a time, I do it standing up with my laptop on top of the dresser (no fancy standing desk required!). I answer emails and Slack on the couch. I strategize and fill out spreadsheets at the dinner table.
For whatever reason, I find I’m able to concentrate for an hour or more at a time this way. But if I try to sit at the dinner table all day, my mind wanders. And I actually do this exact same thing when I’m in the office too. So remote work isn’t much different.
Patrick Whatman, Content Lead, Spendesk
Dedicated Working Time
Prioritization and dedicated time for work. Working flexibily for the last 4 years, I realised that the most important part is having a dedicated time to work. For example, I set my “working schedule” for 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm. This helps me get into a more productive mood.
Uncertain hours tend to make us push work further into day and procrastinate, making a work-day longer and more tiresome.
Nick Malekos, Head of Content at LearnWorlds
Bite More Than You Can Chew
Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available. A corollary to this would be that if you set yourself larger goals than what is realistically possible, you are going to complete them all at higher efficiency.
Sure, you are not going to meet your deadlines the first few times. The quality of your work may come down too. But by constantly taking on more tasks, you are going to keep yourself busy and thus avoid unnecessary distractions at work.
Eventually, you will achieve an equilibrium between your highest state of productivity and quality.
Anand Srinivasan, Founder at Hubbion
Spend Less Time in Your Inbox
Your email inbox is probably the biggest distraction. Take 10 seconds to filter through every email in your inbox. If it takes less than 2 minutes to respond, do it immediately. For emails that take longer than 2 minutes to resolve, add them to a process folder. Go back to assign them into your todo list OR delegate them to someone else later.
Dean Yeong, Head of Content at Sumo.com
Don’t Try to Respond to Everything Immediately
Just because communication should be happening throughout the day doesn’t mean you have to respond to every Slack message or email you receive as soon as it comes across. Set specific times to check everything and respond so that you can still focus on your work.
Sujan Patel, Co-founder at Ramp Ventures
Reliable Internet Connection
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection and good internet speed, test things like email sending and receiving, test your screen sharing tools, Skype, Zoom etc, test the display and audio on your live calls and recordings because these are just some of the essential tools you will need to communicate with the outside world when you work from home.
Paul Granger – Content Marketer at Website Promoter
Use an Online Calendar
Use an online calendar to manage your meetings. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is staying productive while coordinating phone calls, teleconferences, and online meetings, not only with clients and partners but also with your own team.
Choose an app like Calendly or Hubspot calendar, that can sync with your Office365 or Google Calendar, so any time you have blocked for tasks is automatically removed out of your availability. Instead of going back and forth to schedule a meeting, you can simply provide the link to the calendar and let the other party choose a time at their convenience. Remember to limit the meeting’s time to 15 or 30 minutes, and to automatically add buffer time between these to allow you to wrap up any notes from the last meeting and to prepare for the next one.
Jimmy Rodriguez, COO at 3dcart
Have a Schedule
This is a must, you need to set up a schedule, it doesn’t matter if you’re working from home, you’ll need to be disciplined and set up times for all the tasks you have to do throughout the day and of course try to stick to it.
Another tip that works for me is to avoid distractions, in this case, social media, I put my phone on silent and try to stay focused on the task at hand, procrastination is one of the most common errors for productivity, you got to stay focused, so avoid distractions.
Mariana Veloz – In charge of Co-Marketing and Co-promotions at Wishpond
Have a Dedicated Work Space
Have a separate area of your apartment or home dedicated to work. This has been a big positive change for me since covid started. I used to work from my couch or even in my bed, because it was more comfortable. Since covid started, though, I only work from a separate room where I have my desk. This allows me to mentally separate “work” time from “relax” time. I’ve found that my sleep has improved, and it’s been easier for me to not think about work when I’m off the clock.
Mark Lindquist, Marketing Strategist at Mailshake
Take Regular Breaks
If you’re working from home, you need to take regular breaks. Ensure that there is time during these breaks where your brain does not need to ‘consume’ information: no smartphone, TV, newspapers,… a short walk outside for example is much more relaxing.
Stefan Debois, Founder and CEO, Survey Anyplace
Develop a Routine
Develop a routine to structure your day. Your routine does not have to resemble a typical day at the office, though. It’s OK to split the day into bursts of work with time to rest in between. But give your days at least some regular structure. Otherwise, work and life might blend into one, and you’ll end up with little to no opportunity to rest properly.
Pawel Grabowski, Owner of Smashing Copy
Figure Out Your Most Productive Time
Working from home gives you a lot of flexibility. You have a chance to be more productive, but also procrastinate. Given this fact, my number one tip would be to figure out your most productive time. For example, I know I’m most productive in the morning, and at about 3 pm, the PS4 is calling me.
When you’ve determined your productive time, make sure you use it effectively. Cut out all the faff that fills up other parts of your day and work on what’s important. You can do other stuff when you’re less productive.
Nico Prins, Founder at Launch Space
Plan Your Day
Have a clear plan for what you have to do during the day. This will help you get through everything quicker because it makes your day more predictable.
Define time frames for your work. Otherwise, you can push yourself to work long hours and find yourself exhausted by the middle of the week. Since working from home is more comfortable than the office, don’t forget to take small breaks to keep your energy high. In addition to regular breaks, get up and stretch for a few minutes each hour so that your body doesn’t become a permanent part of the sofa.
Anna Ilyina, Content Marketer at Digital Olympus
Exercise & Stretch Regularly
Exercise naturally boosts endorphins, which increases happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels, all of which are important for productivity.
Regularly stretching helps you maintain great posture. The knee-jerk is a personal favorite of mine. While sitting on your chair, lift your leg up and grab onto your knee. Try and pull your leg towards your chest and hold for 10 seconds
David Campbell, Marketing Strategist at Right Inbox
Make use of your Calendar
Create recurring calendar entries for the activities that truly create productive and successful people over time. Look into the following to ensure you remain productive at home – Meditation, journaling, exercising, healthy food prep, learning, sleep and self-care.
Giles Thomas, CEO Wholedesignstudios.com
Have a Work Zone
It’s very tempting to stay in bed or sit on your couch. However, those who effectively work from home agree that setting up a work-station is a must. If you don’t have access or room for a desk, use your kitchen table. A designated desk can help you feel like you’re at the “office”. This helps you avoid distractions, maintain a good posture, and allow you to separate your work life from your home life, striking the perfect balance during these unprecedented times.
Sam Molony, Marketing Specialist at ZoomShift