Staying on top of deadlines, new tasks, and project updates while working from home can be challenging. Mainly when someone is new to remote work. What some consider a perk, others think of it as a challenge. Whether you’re new to the world of remote working or you’ve been navigating it for a while, the key lies in having the right tools and developing healthy habits that can help. Here’s a quick rundown of the best tools for remote workers and some remote habits that will make working from home a positive experience.
Project Management Platforms and Task Trackers
When you’re working for a large company, odds are they have their project management system in place. But, for freelancers, keeping up with to-do tasks and project deadlines can be a bit more complicated. Keeping up with everything on your plate using random scraps of paper might not be as effective. Instead, use task and project management tools like Tispr to manage tasks and promote teamwork.
Give each one a try before you settle on the one you find works best for your working style. There are many other to-do apps available that can help you stay organized. Look for ones with desktop and mobile versions so you can keep track of your tasks and updates no matter where you are.
Online Communication Tools
Communication is crucial for remote workers. Beyond emails, video calls, instant messaging, and a traditional phone call can go a long way. Nowadays, video conferencing is the go-to alternative to face-to-face meetings, and those are excellent for collaboration meetings. Plus, with screen sharing capabilities, these tools take collaboration to a whole new perspective.
Popular video conferencing tools include Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx. Experiment with different ones to find the best ones that suit your team. for freelancers, it’s always best to create accounts in various ones to accommodate clients.
Sometimes you want to share news as quickly as possible, need a quick answer to something, or want to share an update. Instant messaging apps like Slack, Discord, Microsoft Teams, and others are perfect for that. Communication tools are also great for creating a sense of community and team, hard to recreate when remote working.
Team Collaboration Platforms
Those against remote work believe that it butchers team collaboration. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. Thanks to collaboration tools like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive, teams can collaborate in real-time on the same document. These are excellent collaborative tools to share ideas, update tasks, and more. Collaboration tools are perfect for teams in different time zones, as each person can visit the same documents and see the latest updates.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle remote workers face has to do with productivity. Without the morale of being in the office, remote workers are likely to be distracted and lose track of time. On average, remote employees work 16 hours more than those in the office. This is partly because remote workers are more likely to work weekends and overnight. Productivity tools help you stay productive, avoid distractions, and keep yourself accountable for your time.
For freelancers, tools like Toggl can help you manage your time better. Mindful Browsing and Hocus Focus are excellent website blockers that keep you away from distractions. Then, to simplify and elevate your services, productivity tools like Tispr give you access to various apps, including chats, contracts, invoicing, task management, and time tracker, all in one platform.
Habits of Successful Remote Workers
At first, working from home can be challenging, and it will take time to adapt. It’s crucial to develop successful remote working habits that help you eliminate distractions and get more done. Here’s a roundup of the best habits successful remote workers follow.
Remember to Take Breaks
At times, it can be easy to keep working for hours without end. Prolonged focus on a single task, believe it or not, can hinder your performance and decrease your ability to concentrate. The optimal break schedule varies greatly. Some people take breaks every two hours, others every hour. A quick 5-10 minute break between tasks works best for you. Try different schedules until you find what works best.
Finding a routine while working from home can be challenging. This is particularly true for those with kids, spouses, or roommates in the house. Overcoming these distractions takes discipline and boundaries. Setting a schedule from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm is a great way to keep yourself organized. A fixed schedule also prevents displaced productivity, like taking a break to empty the dishwasher or putting clothes in the laundry.
Because you don’t feel the pressure of your boss or coworkers watch you mindlessly scroll through your social media feed, you might spend more time there. These distractions can be challenging to avoid. Use app blockers to help you stay away from these distractions. Set schedule times to check your emails and notifications. For example, set intervals of every two hours or so instead of looking at emails every second. Minimizing distractions is one tool that can help boost productivity at home.
Create a Space for Working
If you’re planning on becoming a remote worker for the long-run, you have to invest in proper equipment. Choose your desired working station, but do your best to work from the same location every day. Whether this is your home’s office or your couch, having a dedicated area you associate with work will help you become more productive and focus better.
Keep in Touch
Working from home can feel isolating and alienating at times. But, you don’t want to be out of sight. Whether you’re working with a team or being a solo freelancer, make sure you keep in touch with colleagues and clients. It’s far better to over-communicate than under-communicate, especially as a remote worker. Share project updates, highlights, and more to stay connected.
When you have the right tools for remote workers and develop remote habits for improved productivity, working from home becomes a real perk. It might take time at first and a lot of trial and error, but once you find your groove, it will help you turn your freelance career into your full-time source of income.