Texting, chatting, wikipedia-wormholes, Pokemon Go…workplace distractions aren’t rare. Add remote work to the mix and keeping your employees on track can feel like a feat fit only for Hercules. But the truth is, the tools available for keeping remote workers focused and happy are endless. Whether you have a few remote workers or your employees are spread out across several time zones, each one of these productivity hacks is sure to keep even the longest distance employees engaged. Think of us as your own personal Athena, and let these hacks guide you and your employees to a more efficient way of remote working.
Embrace the Smartphone “Problem”
Many employers see smartphones as the biggest threat to productivity in the workplace. But for remote workers, the smartphone can be a critical tool for staying on track. There are a bunch of great apps out there that offer everything from messaging to project organization.
Looking to boost communication within your remote teams? Try Slack. This messaging app, which also has a desktop version, makes team communication easy and streamlined. While group emails can be difficult to organize, Slack is great for quick questions or brainstorming ideas. Think of it as the grown up version of MSN Messenger or AIM.
Communicate the Old-Fashioned Way
Weekly or daily touch-base calls are awesome for setting up workweek priorities and outlining tasks. While your employees may be working remotely, a good old fashioned phone conversation can get the productivity ball rolling.
Tip: If your employees are in different time zones, you might have to be creative with the meeting times, but trust us, the results are worth it.
Live That True Remote Life
Encourage employees who work remotely to get out of the home office once in awhile. Removing unavoidable distractions like cats sitting on keyboards (or just cats in general), will skyrocket productivity. Heading to a well-loved coffee shop or library is a great way to get re-focused.
Weary of background noise? Offer remote employees a co-working space allowance or encourage them to find a co-working space in their area. Heading off to a collaborative workspace offers the benefits of an office environment. The faux-office feel is a great way to inspire hard work in those who love a more structured work setting.
Let the Night Owl Thrive
If you don’t need to set strict work hours, flexible hours can be a great incentive for employees who are more productive or creative at off-hours of the day. Letting your employees work when they feel they have the most drive can actually boost their efficiency at work.
Hacky Fact: Nikola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci both followed the bizarre Uberman Sleep Cycle, taking six evenly spaced 20-minute naps throughout the day . No correlation between genius and this sleep cycle has been found, but could they have been on to something?
Don’t Skip Lunch
When we’re busy or uber-focused on a specific task, taking a lunch break can feel like a productivity killer. In reality, taking breaks can be critical to keeping the gears turning. Encourage your employees to take a lunch break, a break for the gym – anything! After removing themselves from an intense task or project for a short time, they’ll come back with a fresh mind ready to hit the grindstone.
Tip: If your remote employees don’t work regular hours or dislike taking a full lunch break, encourage them to take frequent shorter breaks throughout the day.
Turn Off and Tune Out!
The secret to a successful remote work environment is to remember – it’s okay to go radio silent. The work-life balance is just as important for successful projects as it is for your employees’ health. Remind your employees that it’s okay to turn off the email notifications when they need to.
Tip: If your remote team doesn’t have set work hours, recommend they take personal days every once in while. Many companies are embracing the “unlimited vacation” policy to keep employees happy and healthy. You can bet they’ll come back revived and ready to work hard!
Strengthen those remote teams by investing in fun, exciting activities to foster camaraderie and friendly competition. Use a newsletter or Facebook group to ask weekly icebreaker questions. Also, team-wide adventures, e.g. Museum Hack’s kickass museum tours, are a sure-fire way to strengthen all aspects of your company!
How does team building inspire productivity? The trust that blooms from activities like company scavenger hunts and group trips, not only brings teams closer together but they’ll see themselves as each other’s “cheerleaders.”
Now, who needs Hercules? Try these killer productivity hacks with your remote teams and see what amazing things you’ll accomplish. Sometimes the best way to wage war against workplace distractions is to embrace them!