While the general shift to remote work hasn’t been without its drawbacks, it does have one important benefit: commuting is no longer an option for many of us.
“Since the pandemic began, eliminating the daily commute has saved employees in the United States roughly 89 million hours per week – equivalent to more than 44.5 million complete workdays!”
Working remotely, according to these figures, maybe a deus ex machina for reclaiming one of our most valuable and restricted resources: time.
Table of contents
- Working remotely brings a hoard of blessings with it but so does it bring a fair share of problems. What are they you ask?
- Here are a few tips on how to save time working remotely.
Working remotely brings a hoard of blessings with it but so does it bring a fair share of problems. What are they you ask?
Difficulty Switching on our “Woke” mode 🧐
When you don’t have an office to commute to, the line between work and home blurs. Although data reveals that commutes are one of the most stressful and unpleasant aspects of the day, having no commute at all has its own set of challenges.
We discovered in a series of research that driving can help people switch gears between home and work and that without a commute, people find it difficult to separate their work and personal life. Rather than turning off the computer and squeezing home on a crowded train at 6 p.m., many people are working later than ever before, with “just one more email” turning into an extra two hours hunched over the laptop. And that extra time at work isn’t always well spent.
According to research, people reported they spent more time in meetings during the pandemic than before, concentrated too much time setting agendas. didn’t do enough creative cooperation, and spent more time doing useless work. The extra, less productive labor absorbed the average 53 minutes per day saved by not commuting, proving Parkinson’s law that work expands to fill the time available for completion.
Hard to Spend Free Time Wisely 🧠
When people did find free time, it wasn’t always spent wisely: surveys indicated that “passive leisure” activities like watching TV increased considerably, while “active leisure” activities like volunteering and socializing saw a massive decrease. While passive leisure is a beneficial method to unwind, our research reveals that it is less likely to make people happy than active leisure.
Here are a few tips on how to save time working remotely.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It 🧲
When we were commuting, we were essentially turning on our “work mode.” That change, however, does not have to be made via a physical commute. According to research, the ideal commute length is 16 minutes, so use that time to find another means to transition into a work mindset if you’re working remotely.
The true wake-up call you need to start feeling motivated every day is taking 15 minutes in the morning to plan out your day’s program and sticking to it. This also aids in the separation of work and home that we discussed previously.
Focus Your Workload on a Daily “Must Win” 🥊
If you’re anything like the rest of the population’s, your to-do list is constantly too large. To avoid drowning in work, choose a must-win goal for each day — something you must accomplish no matter what — and then go all out to achieve it. Staying focused on your top priority in the face of numerous interruptions from email to messaging platforms is a true accomplishment. And if you succeed in completing your must-win, research shows that the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will have a big impact on your happiness. To double down on your sense of reward treat yourself to a big scoop of ice cream or your favorite Netflix show.
Socialize with Colleagues 👩🏻🤝🧑🏾
The methods outlined above can assist you in reclaiming some of your time. More time, in and of itself, is worthless; what matters is what you do with it. Are you making the most of your newfound spare time by connecting with others?
This doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Short informal social encounters (in person or online), as well as 10 or 20 minutes of physical leisure, have been shown to improve well-being. This does not mean spending two hours every day socializing, but simply 20 minutes catching up with a buddy or going for a walk.
Determine how much engagement you require to feel included and connected. Even if you’re an introvert who despises social situations, do a few interactive activities to familiarize yourself with them in case you ever decide you want them, which trust me you will. If you don’t work for a firm with a strong remote culture, you may need to be more proactive when it comes to developing relationships. Engaging in online hangouts at the end of a long day of work can be an amazing method to achieve that.
Run Time-Management Experiments 🔬
Today, we’re all participants in a large-scale study on how we spend our time. Even after the pandemic limits have been lifted, it’s a good idea to experiment with different time management strategies to determine what works best for you.
For example, at the University of Zurich, a team devised a “3-2-2 week” plan that allows people to strike a nice balance in life: each week, you spend three days at the office (yes, believe me, the travel time is worth the office’s conviviality), two days working from home, and two days with family and friends. Experiment with several ways of organizing your days and weeks to determine what works best for you, both during and after the pandemic.
Shifting to remote work could save billions of hours around the world, but it’s up to us to make the most of that time. Now is the moment to think about how we can reshape work so that we can have more of what we all want: time.
The most important criterion for working from home is that you may communicate excessively.
Make it a point to inform your coworkers about your working hours, any troubles you’re having, and so on. Don’t take it for granted that they’ll remember either. Make sure to remind them on a regular basis. Keep everyone up to date on all work-related information, as this will have an impact on those who work with you. Remember that information is the most valuable resource for a remote team.
Overcommunicating doesn’t mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to justify every move you make, but it does mean you keep repeating yourself.
Take breaks ☕
If you work for a company, be aware of the company’s vacation policy and take advantage of it. A 14/15 days paid vacation appears to be the norm for full-time employees in the United States. Another very important thing would be to not succumb to the pressure of working on your off days or weekends. That is your hard-earned, well-deserved break that you must make full use of.
Allow yourself enough time during the day to step away from the computer screen and phone if you are self-employed. Get out of the house and move your body during your break. Your body needs motion and blood circulation. Furthermore, the fresh air and natural light will benefit you. Step outside for at least a few minutes before, during, and after your working hours.
Take time off, especially if you’re sick. Take the time off you need if sick days are part of your remuneration package. If you work as a freelancer or self-employed person and don’t have paid sick leave, it can be tempting to work through illnesses. Remember that it is important to relax and recover in order to return to work at full capacity for your long-term wellness and productivity.
Let Your Body Do the Talking 🙆♂️
This one is the easiest one to adopt. Working from home can be a real challenge and we understand the toll it can take on remote workers. If you feel too exhausted and find it a pain sticking to your ground rules, be kind to yourself and start working when you see fit. Can’t seem to work in your home office and think your body needs a change? The whole home office concept is overrated anyways. Move to a new place. Find social distancing hard and don’t need your body is getting how much interaction it needs? Considering taking time off to spend time with a friend or loved one.
Your body always has something to tell you and it’ll only do your professional life a favor when you listen to it.
There truly isn’t a one-size-fits-all to this. You have to learn as you go when it comes to tackling remote work. The tips we have provided can only help you so much. Remote work is new for all of us and it’s crucial we all understand that understand that.