The Lorman Blog

Where training professionals and lifelong learners come for industry news, insights, and continuing education resources.

How to Be an Efficient Remote Worker

How to Be an Efficient Remote Worker

Posted on 07/14/20 By Lorman Team

The trend towards remote work has been evident for several years now, and the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this trend across all sectors of industry. The effect has been enormous; for instance, one study found that in a span of two months, remote weekday work among knowledge workers grew from 27% (before the COVID-19 outbreak) to 60%.

While the change to remote work was met with resistance and finally reluctant acceptance by some companies, other organizations embraced this adjustment. It's no secret that many employees love the idea of working from home. Many workers enjoy the comfort that telework offers, the enhanced work-life balance, and the flexibility. Research has shown that teleworkers are, on average, anywhere from 35 to 40% more productive than their in-office counterparts. 

Of course, remote workers must be self-disciplined in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Here are three tips that can help remote employees to optimize their time and energy.

3. Create a To-Do List

Time management can be a serious issue when it comes to remote work. After all, without the restrictions and supervision associated with in-office work, it can be all too easy for employees to lose focus and waste time.

One of the most powerful time management tools that any employee can have is a to-do list. A daily to-do list can help the employee to prioritize tasks by order of importance, and keep key goals in perspective. Some experts feel that a time-based to-do list is an even better option.

Time management consultant Tracy Lyn Moland encourages the creation of a "to-do list that includes how much time you'll spend on each item on the list". This approach can enable remote workers to prioritize tasks while adding another layer of structure to their day.

laptop computer on desk displaying a video conference call

2. Avoid Multitasking

There is always the tendency for a remote worker to multitask when several items are left on his or her agenda. Working from home has made multitasking easier than ever. There is nothing as simple as turning off the video on a Zoom meeting to handle some non-work-related (or even work-related) task that doesn't bear on the current activity. 

Unfortunately, the tendency to multitask is ultimately counterproductive. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller puts it this way:

"[Our brains are] not wired to multitask well... When people think they're multitasking, they're actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there's a cognitive cost."

Remote workers can avoid multitasking by adopting concentration-enhancing strategies. For example, during a Zoom meeting participants can close all other tabs on their computer, switch to Speaker View, and enter Full Screen mode. It is also important to have a dedicated space in the home for work purposes. Moreover, workers should ensure that all other electronic devices are either off or in silent mode during critical business hours.

1. Stick to a Schedule

Stay at home orders and other restrictions have upended the normal schedule of millions of people around the world. As a result, it may occasionally take a moment for remote workers to even remember what day it is! However, a key remedy for this feeling of disorientation is to develop and stick to a regular weekly schedule.

If remote workers have a set work schedule throughout the week, it will likely be easier for them to maintain a sense of balance. If not, they will be more efficient employees if they develop one for themselves (perhaps with assistance from their manager). In addition, it may be advisable to supplement their work schedule with other set activities throughout the week and on weekends.

Explore our blog for more information on how to manage remote teams in 2020 and other helpful insights.



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