Looking back at Buffer’s State of Remote Work report in 2019, it was found that the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work which has been experienced by 22% of their respondents. Other obstacles they encountered were the following:
- 19% felt loneliness
- 17% with collaborating or communicating
- 10% distractions at home
- 8% is in a different timezone than colleagues
- 8% staying motivated
- 7% taking vacation time
- 3% reliable wifi
Because these factors affect the remote workers, it is quite easy to assume that their work performance is greatly affected as well. At this day and age of the COVID-19 pandemic where many people have made a huge shift to the remote work lifestyle, how can one stay more productive?
1. Do a diet check.
Of course, a healthy diet is important in the pursuit of good health and nutrition. It keeps you away from many chronic non-communicable diseases. A plate with a proper portion of meat, vegetables, and fruits can go a long way. Minimize your consumption of salt, sugar, and saturated and industrially produced trans-fat. When you are working, the food you take should be carefully thought of as a poor decision for lunch can put you in an unproductive mood the entire day.
2. Know your vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins perform various roles in the body. In general, however, they help your body grow and work the way it is expected. You may want to revisit your food intake or your supplements if you are getting enough vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins — thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate. Among these, vitamins C, B6, and E are helpful in boosting your immune system and fight off illnesses.
3. Look forward to small rewards.
Remote work can feel rough and monotonous sometimes and motivation can be quite a problem. When you are faced with these challenges, look at the end of the rainbow. It is important to celebrate small victories with some reward. Perhaps a glass of your favorite wine or a movie on Netflix can compensate for your efforts after a long and tiring day’s work. Treat your small rewards as “small breaks” which can help you regain the motivation and energy to carry on.
4. Find your peace.
When the mind is calm and peaceful, you can work with more focus and concentration. Ensure that your workspace at home is not exposed to noise and nuisance. A barking dog, a jack-hammering worker, and a loud television can get in the way of your productivity. If these are unavoidable, wear earplugs to block the noise or you can make use of noise-canceling headphones to play relaxing music instead. You may also make arrangements with your manager if you can perform the job at night when it is more peaceful and quiet.
5. Get acquainted with your tech side.
Familiarize yourself with the tech and equipment that you are using for your remote work. These can hinder your overall productivity as some laptops and computers perform differently for specific tasks. Get advice from a friend in investing the appropriate hardware for your nature of work and once you have fully decided to make a purchase, take advantage of discounted shipping offers so that you can get more bang for your buck. The speed and accuracy of your equipment and network connection may stand in the way of getting a job delivered fast and efficiently so this should also be of consideration.
6. Rest well.
Your work efficiency is correlated to sleep and rest. Studies show that sleep deprivation reduces concentration abilities and therefore decreases overall work performance. Analyze your sleeping habits and find ways on how to make yourself get quality sleep at night. Maybe you need to rearrange the bedroom so that you can rekindle your love for sleep. Have you changed your linens? The smell of fresh linens can also be relaxing and put you to sleep easily. Make use of air humidifiers and essential oils as well. Quality sleep can improve your chances of functioning at maximum capacity.
7. Stay connected.
Social interactions are important in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. To make you less stressed and lonely, organize a Zoom conference with your friends and share stories over a cup of coffee or wine. If you run out of topics to talk about, try playing Zoom games which use the app’s features like breakout rooms, whiteboards, screen sharing, and reactions so there is not much need for other materials to play the games. This is how you stir fun and laughter despite the distance and therefore maintain your positive and healthy relationships with them.
8. Check out your neighborhood co-working space.
A co-working space is where people assemble within a “simulated office”. People in a co-working environment are not really working for the same company but they are flocked there to work independently. Like a real office, it also has a wifi, a printer, a conference room, and a provision for some tea, coffee, and snacks. When the work environment gets a little mundane at home, visit your neighborhood co-working space to get a breath of fresh air, renewed energy, and as an added bonus — meet new friends.
Whether you are a freelancer, a fresh-grad off to start with this kind of work setup, a part-time or full-time employee, the remote work lifestyle can really be grueling at times. However, the tips above, and a dozen others, can make this work setup even more meaningful, less of a challenge and more of a mindset.
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management and traveling are translated in his works.