Here at Baremetrics, we boast an entirely remote team…but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or entirely productive, so we understand how hard it can be to maintain your productivity or transition from an office to a remote environment.

From managing distractions, to finding the best way to block off your time, and working collaboratively across the team, you’ve probably faced one or all of these challenges in a remote role. We pulled together 5 ways to maintain your productivity while working remote…no matter what distractions you’re facing:

Dedicated workspace and hours

First things first, you need your space! If you were going into an office, most likely you would have dedicated space just for you, whether it’s a cubicle, desk or your favorite couch in the communal area. This shouldn’t be any different if you’re working remote. If you’re working from home and have the space, set yourself up with a desk and work only area. Once you’re sitting down and set up, you’re at work and your roommates, loved ones or partner should know not to bother you.

If working from home isn’t an option, you’ll need to brave the outside world to find the best space for you. Whether it’s your local coffee shop, library, or a co-working space, you need to pick your spot and go. If you spend a lot of time on the phone or in video calls, your local library may not be the best bet, but a quiet coffee shop could be a great option. If you need to get up and head to the water cooler/cold brew tap, then a co-working space may be the best way for you to connect with other local remote workers and maintain your productivity.

Set your hours and get to work! One of the hardest challenges to tackle as a remote employee is setting hours. It’s too tempting to get up and get caught up washing the dishes or starting to cook dinner, or getting lost in a social media hole without a boss to look over your shoulder. Before you know it, the afternoon is gone…in the least productive way possible. Sticking to strict ‘office hours’ is one of the best ways to maintain your productivity even if you’re not necessarily in the office.

Time blocking

Just because you’re not in a traditional office, doesn’t mean you can’t make use of your calendar! That’s right, set meetings with yourself and do some serious time blocking as a means of organizing your day-to-day activities and projects. Our attention spans are about 18-20 minutes long and haven’t you ever noticed how easy it is to get stuck in a social media hole scrolling on your phone after a burst of productivity?

Combat the endless scrolling by blocking off your time on your calendar or planner and plan in some breaks for yourself. Get up, stretch, grab that second cup of coffee or do some jumping jacks. By giving your mind and your body a few minutes to reset and recharge, you’re giving yourself that extra boost of productivity to get through the day. Heads down, cranking all day may feel like you’re being more productive, but chances are, you might be making things harder for yourself.

Without office mates or a water cooler/coffee maker to chat around, you might be missing out on those crucial brain breaks, so build them into your schedule. And on the other hand, all those in-home distractions can start to affect your productivity, and time blocking can help hold you to a stricter schedule…plus, you can always block off a few minutes to switch out all that laundry you’re trying to get done!

Set up your tools

We’re only as good as the tools we work with, right? And there are NO shortages of different tools and apps out there that can help you maintain your productivity and collaborate with your teammates. You have no reason not to take some time in setting up a toolbox that helps you work more productively and efficiently.

Whether you’re in need of extra organizational help, or something to work collaboratively with your team, there are plenty of tools out there to get you on track. Here are a few we love…but there are many more than just these 5:

Trello – Whether you use it as your list/task management, or your daily calendar, Trello’s got it all. Plus with its collaborative features, you can assign tasks for your teammates or allow them to work off the same ‘board’ and projects.
Google Drive – The days of saving files and presentations to your desktop are over! Instead, access all your documents in the cloud…or on your phone or any computer you log into. Plus, with easy collaboration, you can quite literally watch your teammate make edits within your documents and chat about it real time. It doesn’t get more collaborative than that!
Evernote – Similarly, Evernote allows you to easily take notes, create documents and ‘organize’ everything in your life within their clean and sleek apps. If you’re a list maker, then Evernote is the tool for you.
Slack – Now who isn’t on Slack these days? The messaging system allows for easy collaboration within a team no matter where in the world they’re located and new updates now allow for video calls and more for simplified communication.

Accountability buddy

McKinsey reported that productivity increases by upwards of 25% in organizations where the employees are more connected. This may seem like a given, but when you’re working remote, it can feel isolating and take a toll on your productivity. Even if you’re a freelancer working on your own, find a ‘buddy’ and check in with them on a regular basis. Set up a Slack channel or a GChat and even if you’re just sending strange gifs back and forth to each other, you’ll be grateful you have someone to chat with.

Establishing your buddy gives you a chance to collaborate, share ideas, or even vent, giving your brain that much needed break for optimized productivity. But in the case of working remote within a team – like us here at BareMetrics! – you get to establish a connection with your team that according to the stats, increases everyone’s productivity.

Go forth and be productive!

Working remote isn’t always easy, and all those things you traditionally thought were time-wasters (ahem water cooler chat) turns out to be some of the parts of your day that can make you more productive. But they’re things you miss out on by being a remote employee! Luckily you can build it into your daily work schedule yourself, all while staying collaborative and being a better team player.