The rise of remote work has been nothing short of revolutionary for the way businesses operate. In just the past couple of years, the need to adapt to crises and technological shifts has seen companies turn their office-bound teams into remote ones almost overnight.
But remote teams have distinct needs. How can organizations ensure that their remote teams are as productive, nay, more productive than in-person teams? The answer lies in innovative productivity hacks.
Remote work is the practice of having employees complete their work without commuting to a centralized workplace like an office. It’s most conducive to white collar work and typically leverages tech like Zoom calls, collaborative software, and lots of “cloud” solutions.
So why is it important for remote teams to be productive?
The success of any organization relies heavily on the productivity of its employees. For remote teams, this is especially true. Without the ability to communicate face-to-face, successful remote teams have to stay organized and on task.
That’s where productivity hacks come in. Productivity hacks are innovative strategies for improving efficiency and productivity. These strategies can include things like setting up a virtual workspace, creating a system for tracking progress, and utilizing communication tools to keep everyone on the same page.
From using the Pomodoro method to quickly moving through 1-on-1s, here are some top-notch productivity hacks for remote teams.
The Pomodoro Method is a great remote work productivity hack for those who are looking to stay on task and get more done when working remotely. It is a time management technique that works by breaking up work into 25-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between.
For example, if you are working on a project from home, you might set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the project until the timer goes off. Then, take a five-minute break to do something unrelated, like take a walk, before starting the 25-minute interval again.
This helps you stay focused, as the timer keeps you from getting overwhelmed and it also gives you a sense of accomplishment, as you can see the progress you are making in small increments.
Tasia Duske, CEO, Museum Hack
A favorite productivity hack that, as a remote worker/co-worker, I believe is extremely important for everyone to implement in their work habits is to set alarm reminders throughout the workday.
This can be extremely helpful for meeting reminders, phone call reminders, and delegating time to certain projects throughout the day. Many remote employees will get sidetracked or use too much time from the workday working only on one project when there are other tasks or things to do at hand.
Whether it be on your phone, clock, computer, or any device capable of setting alarms, every remote employee should set alarm reminders throughout their workday to be as productive, time-saving, and efficient as possible.
Chris Hunter, Director of Customer Relations, ServiceTitan
Working from home, many of us don't have the same productivity-boosting environment that we would have in the office. It's difficult to stay focused, especially when you have a family and pets that can easily distract you.
The best way to stay productive as a remote worker is to block out distractions. Using software like StayFocusd can keep you from being distracted by your favorite websites. It's difficult to stay productive as a remote worker, but blocking out distractions is the first step to being your most productive self.
Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely
If you're hitting a rut, try doing a mindless chore. This trick technically works in an office environment as well, but it's particularly easy to pull off for remote workers.
If you're having trouble solving a problem or brainstorming for ideas, take up a simple household task that doesn't take much brain power. Studies have shown that people's creativity and problem-solving abilities are enhanced by switching to undemanding tasks. They allow your mind to wander and will help you expand your thought abilities.
Rachel Roff, Founder & CEO, Urban Skin Rx
Obvious as it may seem, a dedicated workspace is one key to being productive as a remote worker. I've spoken with hundreds of remote workers over the years who have solved their productivity struggles by creating a dedicated workspace.
Our physical environment affects how we show up in more ways than we realize. Think about the difference in energy and mindset when you're sitting at the kitchen table on your laptop versus when you're working at a desk in a designated space in your home.
A dedicated workspace, besides being more efficient with everything you need in one place, reminds you that you're a professional and can put you in a more focused mindset to get down to work.
It also creates a healthy boundary between "work and life" so that your work doesn't spill out to other rooms in your home. This may be tough in small spaces, but it's an opportunity to get creative. I had a client who found a desk on wheels that got stowed away in a closet when she wasn't working!
Emily Golden, CEO & Strategic Talent Advisor, Golden Resources
As a remote worker, I always try to be maximally productive since it is no longer about spending 9-5 in the office, and I have to complete specific tasks within a specific time.
To maintain my productivity, I set fake deadlines for myself that are earlier than the actual deadlines. When I aim to complete the tasks earlier than the provided timeframes, it helps to avoid procrastination and keeps me motivated.
In addition, if I cannot finish the work in the targeted time, there will be extra time to complete the work, eliminating the risk of burnout.
Karen Cate Agustin, Business Analyst, Investors Club
When we work remotely, we don't have the same level of predictability and welcome coworker interactions. These interactions, for example, when we first get to the office or when it's lunchtime, give us a few moments to reset and connect without taking away from our productivity.
Creating similar "office breaks" while working remotely is a handy hack to supercharge productivity and manage changes in tasks. Walking out of your work area, doing a brief dance, going outside—all these things are simple to do and give us the time to quickly reset and recharge.
Naveed Iqbal, CEO, Dolr
This gives us a regular time to get up from the desk, move, and not be tied to screen sharing or tempted to answer emails or browse the Internet in meetings. Scheduling it mid-morning or mid-afternoon also means that we get a break from the screen when we need it most and can move things on in the business.
It's highly recommended for connection and exercise, both things that can easily be lost in a remote-first business and workforce.
Charlie Southwell, Marketing Director, Let's Talk Talent
One tip I would definitely share with others is to have "Productivity Playlists," which there is an abundance of on platforms such as Spotify or YouTube. Personally, I enjoy Lo-Fi while I'm working, as the lack of lyrics and soothing melodies helps me focus on what I am doing.
Also, sitting in silence can cause distractions, as I'm more likely to look at my phone or start doing something else, rather than work from home. Playlists such as these help me stay on track.
Derek Sall, Founder & Financial Expert, Life And My Finances
Working in a public virtual workspace has been my favorite productivity hack as a remote coworker. It acts as an accountability tool to stay on track, and I'm able to easily work with colleagues from around the world without having to struggle with video call issues.
Working like this helps me prioritize tasks and keep a positive attitude toward my work, allowing for mindful breaks throughout the day. Working in public virtual rooms gives me the structure and support of an office setting from home, helping me stay productive despite myriad distractions.
Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof
My favorite productivity hack as a remote worker is pausing notifications and setting myself as unavailable during off hours to avoid the temptation to be "always on.”
This helps me to focus on my work during the day and to relax and recharge during my off hours. By taking the time to pause notifications and set myself as unavailable, I can create a more productive and balanced work life. It also helps me to avoid the temptation to always check emails and respond to messages, which can distract me and lead to burnout.
This productivity hack has been essential for me in managing my work-life balance and being productive as a remote worker.
Grace He, People & Culture Director, Teambuilding.Com
Don't underestimate the efficiency of quick one-on-one video chats. As a remote coworker, it's easy to feel disconnected and isolated on projects. I like to schedule quick check-ins with team members to make sure everyone is on track with their tasks and there are no roadblocks. This keeps us connected while ensuring that we're staying productive and efficient.
Yusuf Shurbaji, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Prismfly
Productivity hacks can be a great way to supercharge your remote squad and get the most out of them. By taking the time to evaluate the different productivity hacks available and finding the right ones for your team, you can make sure your remote team is successful and productive. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and supercharge your remote squad with innovative productivity hacks!