How to effectively work remotely

by Tobi Adono on October 17th, 2016 – Post a comment

Recent stats about remote working says 33% of organizations have considered the option of staffs working remotely. 50% of board and managers think that staffs may not be productive when working remotely. Only about 15% of managers encourage working remotely while 35% tolerates it. This issue piqued the attention of researchers to study the productivity rate of remote workers. To be candid, it requires a level of focus and discipline to be able to work productively outside of the office.

Quite a handful of staff and managers misconstrue remote working for working at home. Actually, working remotely does not necessarily mean staying in your bed and typing away at the keyboard.

Much more than that, it means anything from working from the corner café store on the main street to a hotel room outside of town. In a nut-shell, working remotely is working from anywhere but the office. A typical example of this is Trello where 22 of their 44 staffs work from the Headquarters in New York while the other 22 work remotely around the world.

This example goes to buttress the point that you may often time need to recruit team members with the fitting skill-set from outside your locale. You will agree with me that there are people with the right set of skills and talents that your firm needs who currently reside outside your business’ area / state. That is where the efficacy of remote working or telecommuting comes in for your business.

From the opposing end, 49% of managers resent remote working because of the inability to interact with staff face-to-face, while 22% fear that staff may slack off when working remotely or may not be accountable for time spent doing work.

These fears cannot be waved off with small concerns because of the likely encumbrances that surround the remote worker and may contribute to loss of focus and distraction. Some of these include: chores (if the home is your remote workplace), the internet, visitors and attendants, personal errands and miscellaneous commitments.

Having discussed the situation thus far, it is obvious that the hurdles to remote working are much and may be justified. However, below, I will share some tips on making the most of your remote working times if your board sanctions it or are considering to do so.

 

Stay connected to the team

This cannot be emphasized enough. The choice of maintaining a connection with your team members is important to keeping you focused and connected with the whole team. It is easier to wander off into unproductive activities like surfing the internet and multi-tasking business with personals when you are not with your colleagues.

Staying connected via digital channels like Slack for group / one-to-one discussions and Skype or Facetime for video conferencing and chat can help to simulate the ‘being–in-the-office’ feeling that engenders teamwork, connectivity and productivity even when you are not there physically.

By this connection, I do not intend strictly official discussions alone. Casual chats and discussions also fall in this category. For example, we have a #Random Slack channel where team members drop funny pictures and comments that they come across on the internet. We also throw tasks and puzzles on it for mental juggling.

This connection keeps you in sync with the team and helps to deliver as much productivity as you would in the office.

Maintain normal schedules and traits

You should not attempt to sacrifice convenience for slothfulness when working remotely. Keep this in mind, if your resumption time to the office is 9:00 am; try to be at that corner table where you work remotely at 9:00 am. And do not think you can be in your pajamas and bathroom flip-flop while working – get into a smart cloth, just as you will if heading to the office.

Also important are the breaks. You don’t want to work your fingers sore because you are in your terrain. Take that 45-minute lunch break as usual, take a stroll to clear your head – just as you would in your office, engage your Pomodoro technique app etc. whatever you do, just maintain your daily official routines.

Maintaining this schedules and traits keeps your mind and body together and ultimately put you in the right mind frame to deliver optimally.  

Keep away from distraction

This is perhaps the most important thing to emphasize. We all know those distractions that can cut our attentions and zap productive minutes: The TV, pets, children (if you are a parent) friends and passers-by (if your remote work station is the coffee shop or the local library).

To be productive with working remotely, you may need to steer clear of those encumbrances. After all, you are supposed to be more productive working from your home-zone or convenience zone if that how you interpret it.

Measure progress and document process

Documentation here helps you to keep tabs on your activities and grant you the ability to measure progress and development. Bear in mind that you are still working, even though out of the office, so it is importance that you measure your progress and activities.

Keeping tabs on your progress will allow for the momentum needed to yield more result and also keep you accountable to your boss and the rest of your team members.

Accountability is key to a successful remote work process. You need to be able to justify your work hours to your boss even though you are not there physically. That is why documentations like report of the day’s activities, progress made and activity in progress are crucial for personal and organizational purpose.

With these tips in mind, I believe you are good to go on your next remote working schedule.

Author: Tobi Adono

With a strong academic background of a degree in Philosophy from the prestigious Lagos State University, Tobi is a natural storyteller, with a knack for rational and analytic discourses.

A huge fan of music, social media and a black tea lover.

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  • David Dida Tella

    Very insightful piece here. I work remotely, but in my case I work for myself. I do have little distractions here and there just because I work from the convenience of my home. The tips highlighted above, especially that of doing away with distractions and measuring progress struck me like Sango’s thunder. I will make amends asap and become a better work-at-home worker

    • David, thanks for the compliments. With much determination and focus, you should be able to scale through the distractions that comes with working remotely. However, It may be easier for you because you are a stand-alone entrepreneur. Organizations may find it not so attractive given the current state of digital exposure and broadband penetration in Nigeria and Africa. Finally, I will like to hear your take on the practicability of this from an organizational angle assuming you get employees to work with you.

  • Sodiq Abolarin

    Working remotely is a new development that has come to stay… And am not surised people are not embracing it open handedly….. However mordern technology is constantly reaffirming the plus it brings to the smart age…… The truth is if ain’t working for you remotely he sure is working for himself remotely….. So it’s high time you spend that door to explore the strength of your workforce conceived in the light of a remotely working world. It’s a global Vila after all……

    • Thanks Sodiq. It is good to know that you agree the world is now a remotely working one. However, I will like you to consider the chances of diverted attention if you have your staffs working remotely. Do you think that is a threat that the benefit of remote working outweighs?

  • Ayinde Jamiu Kunle

    Working remotely is one of the multiple advantages of the global village. It has the capacity to increase result and decrease waste time. Working remotely still apparently have challenges with Nigeria employee but this is a show off of their technology ignorance. We are looking towards a future of where more than 90% of people will be working remotely and this is achievable. On a daily basis more technologies are been built to advance the result of working remotely. The author of this work has done a great job, this article is timely and well written.

    • Jamiu thanks for taking your time to read and comment. Your claim is valid that more technological developments in our present day is making remote working more feasible. However, do you think that the prediction of a larger percentage of remote workers (90%) in the future pose a threat of alienation to the office/work style? Is this a desirable future?