Remote Control

Six Ways to Maintain In-Office Efficiency in Out-of-Office Environments

Here’s a thought. What does “at work” mean for you these days?

For growing numbers of us, “at work” is no longer a synonym for “at the office”. Remote working – whether it be working from home, from another city or even from another country – is no longer a novelty. And as more and more organisations make every effort to appeal to a young, woke workforce demanding greater flexibility and a better work/life balance, the ability to offer remote working opportunities may rapidly become not only normal, but a necessity.

Fortunately, keeping your distance doesn’t have to be disruptive: there’s no reason why your usual in-office efficiency should unravel in an out-of-office environment. And just to ensure it doesn’t, we’ve put together a few helpful tips:

1. Get organised in advance.

PEP enthusiasts will already be all over this one: ensure you have exactly what you need, where you need it. Organise your information so that all your relevant files and necessary tools are easily accessible, regardless of your location. Cloud-based content management and file-sharing systems like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive are useful as they enable you to access files on any device at any time. They provide a handy backup service, too.

2. Give colleagues a heads-up.

Don’t assume everyone’s up with the play. You may have cleared your remote working arrangement with your manager, but chances are your absence from the office may impact others, too. Ensure that the right people are both informed of your intentions and are comfortable with the arrangement. It’s only polite, after all.

3. Be clear on collaboration protocols and tools.

Out-of-office shouldn’t mean out of the loop. Identify who you need to collaborate with and the best way to communicate with them. As far as collaboration tools go, you’re spoilt for choice: there’s a positively bewildering array available these days. Just remember that not every method will suit everybody’s style of working, so take this into consideration when establishing communication and collaboration protocols. After all, every team member needs to maintain productivity – not just you.

4. Plan your day for peak productivity.

Not a morning person? Then plan accordingly. If you don’t hit high gear until you’re two coffees in, don’t make the day’s first task anything ambitious. Think about what time of day is the most productive for you and schedule your most meaningful work into these hours. And don’t forget our previous point: be mindful of your colleagues’ working habits, too. The times when they’re happy to engage may not necessarily coincide with your own.

5. Take time out.

No distractions is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. Without the natural ebb and flow of office interactions, you can easily forget to come up for air – and burnout and stress are just as much of a risk in a home environment as an office one. So be as disciplined about disconnecting as you are about logging on. Regular breaks are better than burn-out, don’t you agree?

6. Be clear on your objectives.

Clarity is key no matter where you’ve set up camp. Don’t let a change of location cloud your focus. Instead, begin your day by identifying your three most important objectives, and keep them in sight – both literally and figuratively. It’s a great way to maintain discipline amidst the diverse distractions a different location may present.

As always, our underlying message is pretty simple: be prepared. After all, in the inherently mutable modern workplace, any number of issues – from illness to endless interruptions – can rattle your routine. Even if you don’t work remotely on a regular basis, take this post as a gentle reminder to review the systems you have in place. Your goal? To be good to go – whatever that entails.