How to Work Remotely Without Disrupting Your Workflow

How to Work Remotely WITHOUT Disrupting Your Workflow

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, more people were already working remotely than ever - and this was before the current COVID-19 outbreak set in and potentially changed our professional lives for the indefinite future (if not permanently).

With so many states instituting "stay-at-home" orders for non-essential employees, the chances are high that you're going to be working remotely soon whether you like it or not - if you're not already at that point.

Many people who work remotely on a regular basis love the fact that they don't have a morning commute to worry about. They'll never be stuck in traffic and they can "make their own hours," so to speak.

But at the same time - a lot of people struggle with it simply because it represents such a disruption to their normal way of doing things that their productivity begins to suffer, at least at first.

As this particular global pandemic doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon (to say nothing of the next mass disruption that could rear its ugly head at any time), it's best to try to embrace the advantages of working remotely now before it has a chance to impact the way you like to get your important tasks done on a regular basis.

Therefore, if you really want to learn how to work remotely without it disrupting your workflow in any type of appreciable way, there are a few critical things you'll want to keep in mind.

Create a Structure for Your Day, and Stick With It

» Create a Structure for Your Day, and Stick With It

One of the biggest benefits that come along with any type of remote work is also, for many people, the processes' greatest challenge: freedom.

Even if you're not explicitly "working for yourself," you're still essentially working for yourself when you're at home all day. As long as you're able to remain productive, you don't really have anybody to answer to like you would in an office. Nobody knows exactly how long it takes you to complete any one particular task and if you want to take a break or have a long lunch, nobody is going to stop you. Which, of course, is problematic - especially if you're not used to that sort of thing.

Therefore, the absolute best way to work remotely without it disrupting your workflow is to create as much of a structure for your day as possible. You should still try to get up at roughly the same time you always do and go through your normal morning routine as you would if you were heading out for a long day at the office.

If that means having three cups of coffee before heading in the shower to get ready, so be it. What you really want to do is "trick your brain" a little bit into thinking that the stakes are higher than they really are. Sure, you know that if it takes you longer to do something than normal, you can still remain productive at 9:00 PM or even 3:00 AM if you needed to... but do you really want to?

Rather than throwing all semblance of a normal routine out the window, try to lean into yours as much as possible. You'd be surprised by just how much of a difference holding yourself to these types of standards can really make.

Maintain a Connection with Whomever You Can

» Maintain a Connection with Whomever You Can

Another one of the biggest challenges that come along with working remotely has to do with the fact that all the people you're used to being around - those fellow employees that you communicate and collaborate with in-person - are now less available than they've ever been in the past. For many, this can be problematic - especially if one or more of your tasks require the close input of a number of other people.

Therefore, it's absolutely in your best interests (and the interests of everyone else, for that matter), for you to do whatever it takes to maintain this connection as much as possible. You could try getting a team group chats going, for example, so at the very least that line of communication is still open in some way. You could also embrace the teleconferencing tools that have become so popular in such a short amount of time, like Skype or Zoom.

Make it an effort to check in with your team members and share status reports and other updates. Again - even though you're working remotely and this represents a major change in the way you like to do things, it's still important to maintain as much "normalcy" as you can. This is especially true in the heavily virtual world that we're all going to be spending some time in moving forward.

» Surround Yourself with the Right Tools

Finally, you should absolutely make an effort to embrace the right tools that you need to do your job - meaning the ones that allow you to be just as productive at home as you can be in the comfort of your own office. These tools have already existed for years - all you have to do is embrace them.

If you haven't already switched to a cloud-based infrastructure (or at the very least, cloud-based storage and file sharing), now would be an excellent time to do so. You'll be able to access every last kilobyte of data from home that you could if you were sitting at your workstation at your desk.

Likewise, all the best email marketing tools already come with cloud-based features built right in - allowing you to get work done from literally any location on Earth with an active Internet connection.

When you use a timeline maker like Visme (which I founded to help people communicate with one another), the same is true. All the same templates and other assets that you've always needed are still right there, allowing you to keep right on moving forward like nothing ever happened.

In terms of the actual meat of the work, you're doing as a marketer, understand that people's attention is understandably fractured right now. You'll see this immediately if you head to a site like Respona to research all the topics that people care about.

Rather than shying away from the current COVID-19 pandemic and pretending like it doesn't exist, don't be afraid to adjust your messaging to lean into it to a certain extent. Let people know what you're doing and how you're taking steps to protect both your customers and your employees all throughout this challenging time. Create collateral that keeps people updated and in-the-loop about how it has impacted your business and what types of disruptions they can expect.

But more than anything else just remember that we're all in this together - which means we're all going to get through it together, too. Working remotely is going to be a big part of how that particular goal is accomplished and with tips like those outlined above, you'll definitely be able to make the most of an understandably frustrating (and somewhat scary) situation - regardless of how long everything takes to resolve itself in the safest and most satisfactory way possible for everyone involved.

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Payman Taei

Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.

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