11 Remote Work Best Practices For Productivity & Wellbeing

remote work best practices

We all aim to be more productive when working remotely. The question is: how can you achieve this? How do you work effectively from home, even when surrounded by distractions? Today, we will explore practical remote work best practices to help you maximize your productivity.

Like any work arrangement, remote work has its fair share of pros and cons. In this article, we’ll provide practical strategies for you as a remote leader and ideas for overcoming the challenges it presents and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

11 Remote Work Best Practices To Work Smarter & Live Better

Take note of the practical strategies and best practices you can implement to make sure you maintain a healthy remote work experience. 

We divided them into 4 categories: Workspace, daily routine, technology tools, and remote communication.

Workspace

Just like in a traditional office setting, you need a dedicated place to work. A place where you can focus on your tasks and work in peace. However, no matter where you go, there can be lots of distractions to interrupt your work. 

Here are some best practices on how to improve remote work and create a distraction-free work environment.

1. Choose A Prime Location

One advantage of remote work is you can do it anywhere in the world. When you choose a place, make sure it’s accessible and convenient during working hours. Your own house is the most ideal choice because it’s free, comfortable, and available 24/7. Not to mention, everything you need is already there.

However, some couldn’t separate their personal and professional responsibilities, so they chose an outdoor space. Libraries, favorite coffee shops, and public courtyards are a few popular choices. Wherever you decide to work, make sure to pick a spot with the following elements:

  • Natural light: Exposure to natural light helps people focus, feel calm, and improve mood
  • Sound barrier: Create a quieter and more professional background if you expect to host virtual meetings or video conferencing
  • Privacy: It should enable you to make or receive calls without worrying about background noise or privacy concerns

There are some noises you can’t control. In cases like this, it’s best to invest in noise-canceling headphones. It can block out noises and other distractions. You can also play ambient sounds that help you focus.

2. Organize Your Workspace

Health & wellbeing

A messy and disorganized workspace can trigger anxiety and stress. Brother UK proves it when their research shows that 31% of workers feel more stressed and overwhelmed when having a cluttered desk. Start cleaning and organizing your workspace to feel more in control.

Here are recommendations to help you set up and organize your workspace effectively:

  • Organize essential work items within arm’s reach
  • Place devices’ cables out of the walking path to prevent tripping hazards
  • Keep supplies and documents in folders, label each, and organize them in drawers
  • Position your screen at an arm’s length, and its top should be just below your eye level
  • Maintain your desk at a height that levels with your elbows (rest at a 90-degree angle when typing)

Remote work requires people to sit for long hours. Invest in a chair with excellent lumbar support to avoid discomfort and risk of back problems. It should also be adjustable to customize the chair’s settings to fit your body and preferences.

Daily Routine

Remote work offers flexibility, enabling you to work at any time of the day. Unfortunately, some people find it difficult to set a boundary and end up working for longer hours. This is especially the case when you’re a team leader with a lot of calls and meetings to make.

This causes burnout. So, establish a well-structured routine that can help you create consistency and structure in your day.

3. Perform Self-Care

Most daily routines start with self-care, which includes exercise and a healthy meal. A proper balance of both will give you the strength (mentally and physically) you need for the day.

Long-term sedentary work usually causes musculoskeletal and joint issues, such as low back and neck pain. One of the more common neck and back pain causes is a herniated disk, which more often occurs in seniors who led an inactive lifestyle when they were younger. Moving regularly can help you prevent it from happening. You can choose any form of exercise because they can all release endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever. It also promotes pleasure, which is helpful to boost your energy levels.

Yoga is also proven to reduce chronic pain associated with these issues. It involves various poses and stretches that encourage proper body alignment. As for mental health benefits, it allows for breathing exercises and meditation to provide a sense of peace and relaxation.

After your daily dose of exercise, eat a well-balanced meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you can start it with a delicious bowl of oatmeal. It’s good for your digestion and improves your blood sugar control. You can add fruits that contain fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and phytonutrients.

If you’re doing a series of workout routines, include pre-workout supplements in your daily meals. It will make it easier to achieve your fitness goals and provide the nutrients you lack. Check the following carefully:

  • Expiration date
  • Safety and purity
  • Complete list of ingredients
  • Quality certifications or seals
  • Recommended daily dosage

4. Learn Time Management

Remote workers make constant decisions about their actions throughout their shifts, which can often be mentally draining. Learning time management will make it simpler because you can wisely plan and allot specific time for different tasks and activities.

Learning the skill is not difficult, but it requires much effort, practice, and self-discipline. You can start with small changes, and once you’re well-adjusted, you can work on more complex time management strategies. Here are the strategies on how you can optimize work remotely through learning time management.

  • Set clear goals (short and long-term)
  • Allocate time blocks for tasks, projects, and meetings to prevent multitasking
  • Create a daily or weekly to-do list based on the tasks’ importance and urgency
  • Use a digital planner or calendar to schedule deadlines and other commitments (enable reminders for quick tracking) Make sure your calendar is in sync with your team’s.

You can also follow time management techniques. The Pomodoro technique is the popular option and an excellent choice for anyone with short attention spans. It works like this: For every 25 minutes you work on a task, take a 5-minute break time. Repeat these steps 4 times, and you can take a 20 to 30-minute break after.

You can also use the Eisenhower matrix to identify the difference between urgent and important tasks.

Eisenhower matrix

When managing your time, make sure you have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. It will help you set a realistic schedule because you know how much work you can accomplish in a given timeframe.

Technology Tools

Modern technology is the reason remote work is successfully adopted worldwide. It offers various solutions and tools to help remote employees work more effectively.

High-speed internet connectivity enables you to access business tools and collaborate with your team members quickly. While cloud-based solutions provide safe storage and access to essential data. Here are other purposes of modern technology in remote work:

5. Use Automation

People feel better emotionally when there is less stress. Automation can reduce the stress level of remote workers because it can handle mundane and repetitive tasks. Set it one time, and it will automate the process consistently and reliably.

Automation can also connect with other business applications, creating a unified platform. It can sync all your work so you don’t have to juggle multiple online tools. Let’s take an eCommerce store.

You can integrate the eCommerce platform into Zapier and create an automation workflow for product recommendation. Zapier can connect to 6,000+ apps to connect. There are two ways to use Zapier’s automation: set a trigger (polling or instant) and action.

6. Task-Based Tools

Using the right tools for the job significantly improves the efficiency and quality of your work as a team leader or employer. Provide tools based on your remote worker’s job type and the tasks involved. To give you an idea, let’s consider how an eCommerce business selling Halloween costumes and lingerie provides tools to remote workers.

  • Visual Merchandiser: Provide graphic design software to create appealing product images and ad banners for the online store.
  • IT Professionals: Uses cybersecurity tools to make sure the security of customer data and online transactions complies with legal and regulatory guidelines.
  • Marketing Professionals: Give access to email marketing platforms (e.g. Mailchimp) to build and send promotional campaigns for Halloween costume and lingerie collections.

7. Install Security Features

Modern technology can give you an advantage, but it can also pose security risks. Here are some more robust remote work security best practices and features to ensure you will keep the confidentiality of your work.

  • Create stronger passwords
  • Run software updates regularly
  • Don’t click on suspicious emails
  • Install multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Protect your device with VPN and firewalls
  • Secure video meetings with a unique ID and password

Remote Communication

Misunderstanding and confusion between management and employees are common in remote work environments. As a project manager, you should implement effective communication to ensure everyone is on the same page. Here are practical remote work communication best practices to implement clear virtual communication:

8. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Lack of social interaction between team members could cause detachment and loneliness. Zippia’s research proves it, as 50% of remote employees feel lonely once per week. Regular check-ins can make a huge difference in boosting your team’s morale and fostering a sense of belonging.

The primary purpose of regular check-ins is to discuss the individual employee’s progress on assigned tasks and project updates. Let’s say the employee has been assigned to research and create a shortlist of potential search fund investors. They can discuss the investors’ information (including their investment focus) and the current status of their outreach efforts.

Remote employees can take this as an opportunity to raise concerns, seek guidance, or ask a quick question regarding a specific task. They can also open a forum-style discussion to clarify the next step in the project, refine the shortlist, or strategize for overcoming roadblocks.

You can do regular check-ins using the communication channels of your choice. The standard preference is through video or phone calls and chat apps like Google Meet (daily or weekly). It’s usually short and on-point, 15 to 30 minutes. Project management tools like Slack channel and Microsoft Teams also offer communication tools. It’s much more convenient because it’s easy to track your team and project’s progress.

9. Plan Team Meetings

Employees have unique viewpoints and experiences. The team meeting is the proper venue to bring your remote managers and team members together to exchange perspectives and brainstorm new solutions.

Compared to daily check-ins, schedule team meetings at least weekly or bi-weekly. Conducting too many unproductive meetings can make the company lose $37 billion per year (estimated). How long should a team meeting last? It depends on the complexity of the subject matter. But as standard, it could last for 20 to 40 minutes.

Preparing a meeting agenda sets the direction for the entire meeting and prevents going off-topic. Here are best practices for efficiently building a roadmap for the meeting.

  • State the remote meeting’s purpose
  • Allocate a time limit per agenda item
  • Place an estimate of how long it will last
  • Assign meeting roles (note-taker, timekeeper, etc.)
  • Specify the meeting time and date that are convenient for all team members 
  • Outline and organize all tasks, topics, or issues based on their logical sequence or urgency
  • Attach supporting documents, reports, and other informational presentations that need to be reviewed

After the meeting, summarize the key takeaway to make sure everyone in the meeting understands the topic and their responsibilities. You can also set the date of the next meeting in your closing remarks.

Professional Development

When managing your time, make sure you have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. It will help you set a realistic schedule because you know how much work you can accomplish in a given timeframe.

Technology Tools

Modern technology is the reason remote work is successfully adopted worldwide. It offers various solutions and tools to help remote employees work more effectively.

High-speed internet connectivity enables you to access business tools and collaborate with your team members quickly. While cloud-based solutions provide safe storage and access to essential data. Here are other purposes of modern technology in remote work:

5. Use Automation

People feel better emotionally when there is less stress. Automation can reduce the stress level of remote workers because it can handle mundane and repetitive tasks. Set it one time, and it will automate the process consistently and reliably.

Automation can also connect with other business applications, creating a unified platform. It can sync all your work so you don’t have to juggle multiple online tools. Let’s take an eCommerce store.

You can integrate the eCommerce platform into Zapier and create an automation workflow for product recommendation. Zapier can connect to 6,000+ apps to connect. There are two ways to use Zapier’s automation: set a trigger (polling or instant) and action.

6. Task-Based Tools

Using the right tools for the job significantly improves the efficiency and quality of your work as a team leader or employer. Provide tools based on your remote worker’s job type and the tasks involved. To give you an idea, let’s consider how an eCommerce business selling Halloween costumes and lingerie provides tools to remote workers.

  • Visual Merchandiser: Provide graphic design software to create appealing product images and ad banners for the online store.
  • IT Professionals: Uses cybersecurity tools to make sure the security of customer data and online transactions complies with legal and regulatory guidelines.
  • Marketing Professionals: Give access to email marketing platforms (e.g. Mailchimp) to build and send promotional campaigns for Halloween costume and lingerie collections.

7. Install Security Features

Modern technology can give you an advantage, but it can also pose security risks. Here are some more robust remote work security best practices and features to ensure you will keep the confidentiality of your work.

  • Create stronger passwords
  • Run software updates regularly
  • Don’t click on suspicious emails
  • Install multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Protect your device with VPN and firewalls
  • Secure video meetings with a unique ID and password

Remote Communication

Misunderstanding and confusion between management and employees are common in remote work environments. As a project manager, you should implement effective communication to ensure everyone is on the same page. Here are practical remote work communication best practices to implement clear virtual communication:

8. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Lack of social interaction between team members could cause detachment and loneliness. Zippia’s research proves it, as 50% of remote employees feel lonely once per week. Regular check-ins can make a huge difference in boosting your team’s morale and fostering a sense of belonging.

The primary purpose of regular check-ins is to discuss the individual employee’s progress on assigned tasks and project updates. Let’s say the employee has been assigned to research and create a shortlist of potential search fund investors. They can discuss the investors’ information (including their investment focus) and the current status of their outreach efforts.

Remote employees can take this as an opportunity to raise concerns, seek guidance, or ask a quick question regarding a specific task. They can also open a forum-style discussion to clarify the next step in the project, refine the shortlist, or strategize for overcoming roadblocks.

You can do regular check-ins using the communication channels of your choice. The standard preference is through video or phone calls and chat apps like Google Meet (daily or weekly). It’s usually short and on-point, 15 to 30 minutes. Project management tools like Slack channel and Microsoft Teams also offer communication tools. It’s much more convenient because it’s easy to track your team and project’s progress.

9. Plan Team Meetings

Employees have unique viewpoints and experiences. The team meeting is the proper venue to bring your remote managers and team members together to exchange perspectives and brainstorm new solutions.

Compared to daily check-ins, schedule team meetings at least weekly or bi-weekly. Conducting too many unproductive meetings can make the company lose $37 billion per year (estimated). How long should a team meeting last? It depends on the complexity of the subject matter. But as standard, it could last for 20 to 40 minutes.

Preparing a meeting agenda sets the direction for the entire meeting and prevents going off-topic. Here are best practices for efficiently building a roadmap for the meeting.

  • State the remote meeting’s purpose
  • Allocate a time limit per agenda item
  • Place an estimate of how long it will last
  • Assign meeting roles (note-taker, timekeeper, etc.)
  • Specify the meeting time and date that are convenient for all team members 
  • Outline and organize all tasks, topics, or issues based on their logical sequence or urgency
  • Attach supporting documents, reports, and other informational presentations that need to be reviewed

After the meeting, summarize the key takeaway to make sure everyone in the meeting understands the topic and their responsibilities. You can also set the date of the next meeting in your closing remarks.

Professional Development

HurryCane

11. Provide Online Resources

Not all professional development requires 1-on-1 coaching or attending a training class. Most companies develop a Resource Center so employees can freely access the information related to their roles or tasks.

Software documentation and demonstrations are the standard content in the Resource Center. Since it provides attractive visuals and clear step-by-step instructions, it makes it easier for remote employees to understand the subject matter.

The sample above discusses the payment process under SaaS subscription management software. It shows how easy it is to perform the task. It also provides 2 CTA buttons so the users can start immediately or learn more about it. Other content you can expect to see in the Resource Center are:

  • Glossaries
  • Case studies
  • Introductory articles
  • Frequently asked questions

Conclusion

Feeling unproductive at work is a clear sign that you must re-evaluate your working habits. These remote work best practices are a one-size-fits-all type of solution, select what you think best suits your needs and the challenges you want to solve.

You also need to set clear boundaries for yourself to prevent overworking. Plan your work schedule and communicate it well with your family or housemates. This will help you create a distraction-free remote working environment.

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