Remote work like a pro: tactics & tips for better productivity and results

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Whenever you type a keyword ‘work’ in Google Images or any image bank you get hundreds if not thousands of results with pictures presenting different offices. At the same time, when office employees are asked what would be their most valuable perk, they almost all together say ‘we want to work remotely, at least from time to time’. In the increasing number of white-collar professions, it’s no longer a novelty or even a perk, but rather a sign of the times. Basecamp, Toptal, Zapier, Aha!, InVision App and more successful companies, well-known at least in the tech sector, operate 100% remotely. The trend to hire external consultants and allow team members to work remotely, at least partially, is strong.

It seems like an ideal working environment for employees (flexibility, no need to commute, and more sleep!), but there is a trick. Lots of people struggle to concentrate at home and employees are afraid of lower productivity. Luckily, many people have been working remotely, and they’re eager to share their real-life tactics and tips for better productivity, results, and well-being. We’ve gathered the most useful ones.

Act as if you’re at the office

Remote workers are often visualized as spending all day on a sofa in their pyjamas or running errands during the day. We can’t say it never happens as every myth has a grain of truth, but for sure, this is not the reality of all remote employees, and we strongly discourage it. Instead, it’s better to stick to the morning routine, change clothes to neat, have breakfast, make a cup of tea or coffee and then start to work. In short, to do everything that you would do before leaving the office. With one difference: there is no need to rush.

Acting like in the office also means being available. Even freelancers often set up time frames that can be considered ‘office hours’ when they focus on work and can connect with their clients. Employees that work remotely for one employer generally have specific working hours and are expected to be reachable and ready to have a call or a chat. That’s why if you need to have a doctor’s appointment or run errands, ask your manager whether it’s ok to do it during working hours - just like you’d do in the office. If your employer is worried about a possible lack of contact, be proactive and stay visible. Comment on the company intranet, ask questions, share progress. You’ll also feel less excluded and more a part of the team.

Focus on results

Results should always be the top priority, both at the office and outside it. Still, there is a harmful myth that remote workers don’t deliver good results because they’re disconnected and distracted. It’s a myth because working in the office doesn’t guarantee productivity and modern open offices are proven to be highly distracting. That’s why both remote employees and managers should always keep results in mind, not the time spent on doing the task. The results speak for themselves and are the best indicator of the quality of work, no matter the location.

Don’t avoid meetings

Meetings have a bad reputation for being time-consuming distractors. On the internet, there are tons of memes and jokes about meetings that should have been emails. The truth is face-to-face meetings are inevitable and crucial for distributed teams and remote workers. Exchanging ideas and sharing recent updates is more straightforward face-to-face. Staying connected is one of the most fundamental parts of being a part of the team, and regular, short and efficient video conferences help to keep everyone in the loop. However, meetings have to be structured. In a distributed team it’s good to devote the first 10-15 minutes (but no more) for an informal chat about what is going on in their lives. It’s a digital version of having a conversation by the coffee machine, which is an integral part of office work and when new ideas pop out.

Try to Work Out Loud

Working Out Loud is a concept that is growing in popularity not only in distributed teams. It can be developed just as well in the office, but a remote environment is even more suitable for it. In short, it means making work observable and put into narrative frames. It can be easily compared to typical social media behaviour in private life - using social media to share what people do, read, watch, eat, where they go. Documenting work can be easily done similarly and especially in remote teams, it’s valuable because it helps everyone to keep on track with what others are doing and what is the progress. Just be aware that Working Out Loud doesn’t mean flooding communication tools with updates all the time. Try to adjust to the team and share only essential and valuable thoughts and updates.

Let technology help

The rising popularity of remote work brought lots of digital tools that facilitate it. Collaboration tools, group chats, time tracking software are just a few examples of what can be found on the market. Of course, they’re also widely used by teams that meet in the office every day, but the distributed ones get the most out of them.

Google Suite is an interesting example of a digital ecosystem of tools that can be used both in private, in the office, by freelancers and remote workers, and both big and small teams. It offers software that is useful in every organization, especially remote. There are not only email, calendar and cloud-based drive but also word processor, spreadsheets, forms and slides editors that can easily be shared and edited by team members and external contributors. If we add hangouts, notes, web analytics, maps, and numerous other features, we get a comprehensive office software. For free, assuming there is no need for a custom domain or unlimited storage space.

Google Suite has limitations, though. Everyone who has ever used Gmail for work, especially in sales and marketing, is probably aware that on Gmail and Google Contacts, it’s not possible to share contacts with anyone. A one-person-team may not notice it, but for a sales or marketing team, it’s a significant blocker. Contacts can be shared manually, for example, in a spreadsheet. Still, it will never replace a synchronized database that can be updated in real-time and visible to everyone in a team. Shared Contacts for Gmail fixes this issue by offering a Gmail extension that can turn Google Suite into a comprehensive sales and marketing solution.

Key takeaways

  • Working remotely is a trend that won’t likely be stopped. The growing number of professionals, especially in tech, demand more flexibility. 
  • Working remotely, especially from home, can be challenging. Luckily, there are tips and tactics on how to stay productive and deliver even better results than in the office. It’s important to stay focused, keep in touch with the distributed team, and communicate well.
  • Digital tools can significantly improve the results of remote workers, and Shared Contact for Gmail can turn Google Suite into a comprehensive sales and marketing platform.


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