The way we work is rapidly changing, as technology allows us to stay constantly connected. Thanks to this, you can now decide how, where and when you work, to suit your own lifestyle, and more people than ever are adopting this new approach. If you have the opportunity to work away from the usual office environment, there are a few things to bear in mind to ensure you are as productive as possible.
1. Think about which environment is right for you
You have just gained the freedom to escape your office with its set rules and hours. So don’t carry on penning yourself in by making assumptions about what your new work environment should be like. For example, working from home doesn’t have to mean working from home. Experiment what kind of environment works for you and makes you as productive as possible – everybody is different. Try out coffeehouses, your garden, a study, the park, a library… there are so many possibilities, and you never know what could be the best for you. With more and more people choosing telecommuting as their mode of work, you can easily surround yourself with other people in the same position as you, so that you are still in a productive and work-driven atmosphere.
2. Keep an eye on your hours
Just because you are working from a different environment does not mean that your priorities can completely switch. You shouldn’t be spending half your day walking your dog or experimenting with baking just because your boss isn’t breathing down your neck. Your work and play time should be clearly separated. Of course, you can switch up your schedule to work at 5am, 7pm, 11pm – whatever suits you – but the total number of hours spent at work should largely be the same. Of course, for many people getting out of the office increases productivity hugely, so you might find yourself with a little spare time after all! But make sure you don’t give yourself breaks you can’t afford to take and allow yourself to become distracted.
3. Find a way to stay organised, and stick to it
There are so many organisation tools and gadgets out there, it would be silly not to make the most of them. One great habit to keep is constantly using and updating an online calendar. That way, you can access it wherever you choose to work from, and keep on top of all your tasks. You can also set it up to be shared with co-workers, so that you can constantly keep each other updated and in the know about what still needs doing and what has been completed. It can also make it much easier to schedule meetings and teleconferences, as you can quickly check when everybody is going to be free to talk.
Try these tools…
If you set up a google calendar you can access it from any browser, as well as from standard calendar applications like those on your smartphone or computer. You can also share calendars, set up recurring events, reminders, and everything else you might need to keep your time organised.
Evernote provides a hub for all the notes, lists, images and moments you need to keep. You can set up individual notebooks for your work and personal life. You can grant others access to view and edit your notes, as well as use evernote’s chat function to stay in instant communication with your colleagues. You can set reminders for notes, as well as make notes into presentations for business meetings. All of these features are free out of the box. Evernote provides a very versatile note taking system.
4. Try not to combine environments
Create a work space, and make it for work. That means it’s probably best if you don’t have lunch where you work, or catch up with your kids in there after school. Make it psychologically separate from the rest of the house, from your favourite coffee-spot for a catch-up or from the part of the park you like to go for Sunday strolls. That way, when you are in your working area, you will be in a work-mode too, increasing your productivity by ensuring you are in the correct mind-set.
5. Keep in touch with instant messaging on all your devices
There are so many ways to make sure that you are kept in the loop, and it’s really important that you make the most of them. If you feel isolated or in the dark, how can you produce good work? Constant Instant Messaging is an option if you are working with a group on an on-going project, but don’t let it become a distraction. Applications like Google Hangouts allow you to keep in contact with the people you work with at all times. Another great tool is free conference calling – which can be achieved by using 03 numbers which are included in your bundled minutes. This is a wonderful way to stay in contact, as you can schedule an audio conference for every day, week, or month as you see fit and depending on the participants of the call. You can also dial in from anywhere, thanks to free conference calling from mobile phones, and record the call to refer back to when you are continuing your work alone.