Tips and Tools For Staying on Task While Working Remotely From Home

Like many businesses across the U.S., our team at West County Net has been watching the outbreak of COVID-19 closely and following all the advisements of Sonoma County officials. With the latest shelter in place advisory, our entire team is now working remotely from home. 

How do you efficiently move an entire office to remote work overnight? All of us at West County Net are here to help you keep operating as close to business as usual during this transitionary time. If your team needs help staying connected, we are available to help troubleshoot or set up remote working stations — we even have some tips for staying productive while working remotely from home!

What Does Working Remotely Mean? 

Remote work is a working method that allows professionals to conduct business outside of a traditional office environment. Remote employees keep the business fully operational while working in their own personal workspaces. While there are many benefits to working from home, there can be some challenges as well.

Common Challenges Of Working Remotely

  • Time management
  • Creating a workstation 
  • Staying focussed 
  • Remaining organized 
  • Team / Client communication 
  • Remembering to take breaks

How Can I Stay Focused and Productive While Working at Home?

Creating a work-life balance can be challenging, and there can be distractions and disadvantages at home that could put your productivity at risk. Here are six tips and tools you can use while working remotely:

1. Stick to a Morning Routine

Transitioning from a homebody mindset to a focused headspace can take some time when you no longer have to leave the house. It’s important not to dive right into work when you wake up. If your normal morning routine involved waking up early to shower and have some coffee before work, your new routine should, too.

You may not need as much time in the morning to commute, but setting aside time to get ready for your workday will help your mind prepare to do your job duties. The transition into work mode will be smoother and you will be more prepared for the day ahead of you.

2. Claim Your Workspace at Home

Creating a dedicated workspace that is conducive to productivity is essential for remote jobs. This work spot will be your dedicated space that you can associate with working and leave when you’re off the clock.

Maintaining a degree of separation from home life and work time is needed – that means getting out of bed and off the couch. Working from a space that is normally dedicated to relaxing can be hard on your body, and also make it more challenging to transition to a concentrated mindset. 

Setting up a workspace in a high trafficked area of your home can lead to disruptions. If space is tight or your home is full, make sure to communicate your need to focus and claim your workspace as a distraction-free zone.

3. Follow a Schedule and Make Deadlines while Working from Home

With your morning routine in place, your workday should follow a similar pattern. Setting up a daily schedule will help ensure you stay focused. Meeting hard deadlines will become essential to maintaining productivity. 

Katie, West County Net’s social media specialist, personally likes to use her daily planner. Invest in a planner that allows you to see the hours of the day ahead (or simply make a list), so you can remain on track.

“I’m all about lists. My daily planner gives me the opportunity to map out my day, hour by hour, as well as mark my tasks as ‘done.’ It is both helpful and super satisfying!”

4. Use Online Organizational Tools 

Having the right tools to help you stay organized can boost productivity and eliminate stress. Online calendars are great because they don’t take up any space on your workstation and free calendaring tools are readily available. Google Calendar is free with every Google account and you can share it with other Google users.

Remote Project Management 

At West County Net, we use Wrike to keep all our projects, tasks, and deadlines organized. Wrike allows us to remotely collaborate as a team to manage assignments, track project timelines, and maintain productivity.

5. Maintain Good Communication 

If you are suddenly facing the need to work from home, one hurdle you will have to overcome is figuring out the best way to communicate with your team. Thanks to digital technology, staying connected is as easy as ever. 

Our team uses Slack messaging to talk and share things remotely with each other. Slack allows us to organize communications by channels for group discussions and private messaging to share comments, questions, files, and lots of pictures of our pets.

Client and Customer Communication

Staying connected with your clients is another top priority. If you have a large client or customer base you want to contact quickly, there are a number of resources you can rely on, including social media, e-newsletters, and frequent blogging.

6. Take Regular Breaks When Working Remotely 

It may sound absurd, but when you work from home it can be hard to remember to take a break. Remembering to stand up and stretch regularly is good practice for your body and your mind. 

Joyful, our content writer, uses her time to walk her dog or find a quick 10-minute yoga exercise on youtube.

“While we are actively practicing social distancing, ten-minute walks with my dog twice a day is helping us both feel less isolated and is great exercise! I make sure to open the blinds and get as much sunlight in my workspace during the day as possible. I also have found some amazing at-home yoga videos that help keep my body and mind healthy while working remotely.”

Social Distancing vs Unhealthy Isolation 

It can get lonely working from home, and going eight hours without verbally speaking to anyone can make you feel even more isolated. If you live alone and don’t have anyone at home to talk to during the day, call someone. Make the time to take a break and check-in with friends and family regularly. Staying in touch — especially right now — is important.

Stay Connected With West County Net

Our team is here to get you the tools you need during these times of uncertainty. We hope these tips help you if you have or will soon begin working from home. 

Along with continued web development and digital marketing support, the West County Net IT department is available to help set up or troubleshoot remote working situations for companies of all sizes. Please reach out to us today if your office or staff needs a solution for remote working conditions.