A Guide to Leveling Up the Remote Work Experience

in Technology on February 24, 2023

Working from the comfort of our homes is a dream come true for a lot of us. No more dealing with the traffic on our daily commute to the office. No more stressing about what clothes to wear because PJs will do. Who wouldn’t covet that, right?

While it is no surprise that the majority of the workforce prefers the work-from-home setup, there is another side to the coin. There are cons just as there are pros to the remote work culture. In reality, it’s all fun and games until you’re faced with the first productivity block that gets you stuck in moving on with your workload.

What is a ‘productivity block’?

Productivity block refers to an employee’s inability to concentrate on their work or finish tasks on time due to distractions caused by either external or internal factors. The term is a play on “writer’s block,” except that it’s your ability to be productive that is hindered. It manifests in a lot of ways, such as:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of workload you’re facing
  • Can’t maintain momentum because of distractions
  • Finding reasons why you can’t complete your tasks
  • Lack of motivation to start your work

This struggle is a harsher reality for those working from home with no manager or colleagues to keep employees accountable and on track to reach their quotas. Ultimately, it’s all hinged on the employee’s ability, or a lack thereof, to be self-motivated and overcome their productivity block. But, understandably, it is easier said than done. So, we collated input from remote work managers and experts on their tried-and-true methods that helped keep team productivity momentum high in a remote setup.

Tips to Combat Productivity Block in Remote Work

1.   Embrace Asynchronous Setup.

Asynchronous work is defined as “the practice of working on a team that does not require all members to be online simultaneously.” It allows employees to work on their tasks at their own pace and within their schedule.

Working from home comes with the fact that employees deal with varying environments unique to their homes, unlike working in an office where all employees experience the same workplace atmosphere. This makes it hard for the management to implement encompassing rules and policies that will safely apply to every team member. Rather, it’s best to follow an asynchronous work setup and track performance, not hours.

“I believe that an asynchronous setup is critical for ensuring employees can have a work-life balance. This setup allows them to be productive workers still while also being able to take care of their other personal and professional commitments. It boosts engagement when employees can complete their tasks without having to adhere to strict deadlines or schedules because it allows for more independence and more freedom,” said Robert Johnson, Marketing Director of Coast Appliances.

2.   Encourage Employees To Follow A Daily Routine.

Routines are healthy for the human brain. Following a routine is calming and helps reduce anxiety, according to a study conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University. If you’re keen to apply tip #1, you can still encourage employees to follow their own daily routine, even in an asynchronous work setup. Motivate them to find one that works best for them, so they can identify the best times of the day when they feel most productive.

“As a creature of routine, I can attest to how helpful it is in maintaining my momentum throughout the week. It keeps me from being idle or getting overwhelmed with what to tackle first on my to-do list. This is why I heavily emphasize it in my remote management style even when we’re following an asynchronous setup,” said Fred Kuffer, Director of Insurance at BrokerLink.

3.   Foster Team Interactions.

Bantering with workmates can make employees feel less alone. Team interactions prevent them from feeling isolated. This builds workplace camaraderie and helps keep employees engaged, which induces a productive mindset. The more comfortable they feel with their colleagues, the better remote collaboration becomes.

“Fostering team interactions in a remote work setting is essential for ensuring that employees feel part of a team and a community, even though they are not physically present in an office space. It breaks that virtual barrier in the remote work setup. It is important for employees to understand that they can still build strong and supportive relationships despite the geographical distance,” said Adam Garcia, Founder of Stock Dork.

4.   Establish A Dedicated Workstation.

Your workspace should be a distraction-free zone even when you’re working from home — especially when you’re working from home, actually.

Remote managers should ensure that employees have an adequately designated workstation in their homes, where they are not vulnerable to constant distractions. Keeping distractions at bay is extremely helpful in overcoming productivity blocks because it allows you to put your whole, undivided focus on the task in front of you. 

“I can’t underscore enough how important it is to have a designated workstation when working from home. Assigning a workstation in your house creates a clear division between home and work life, allowing for better focus on work without the distractions from your personal space,” said Garrett Smith, Head of Local SEO at GMB Gorilla.

5.   Conduct Company-Wide Scheduled Movement Breaks.

Moving the body helps reset the mind and get into a refreshed headspace. Whether it’s a light stretch or a quick cardio pump, the endorphin boost this provides is a hack to kickstart productivity. Also, it’s a fun way to bond with colleagues!

“Movement effectively reduces stress by allowing you to release your frustration and negative energy. We do company-wide movement exercises for at least 15 minutes in the morning when everybody clocks in to kickstart our workday energetically. It sets the tone for a productive day ahead of us,” said Sam Tabak, Co-founder of RMBH Charities.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re a company that has newly transitioned to remote work or you’ve been doing this for several years now, it helps to keep your eyes peeled on how to elevate the remote employee experience constantly. That way, you save the company from increased burnout and turnover rates. Don’t get complacent because what’s working now may only be a temporary fix to another workplace issue.

Categories: Technology