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Adjusting to Remote Work in Difficult Times: Case Study and 4 Productivity-Boosting Tips

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If you usually work in a corporate environment, you’re likely reading this post from the comfort of your own home. You’re probably in your pyjamas too, but we won’t mention that.  

Coronavirus has dramatically affected the way we work. The changes will last for at least the next several weeks, and possibly beyond. 

Perhaps the widespread shift to remote working due to coronavirus is simply temporary. Or perhaps it will remain, symptomatic of a broader change in the employment landscape. Indeed, the number of people working remotely has increased year-on-year, with a 150% rise from 2005 to 2017. In either case, it’s vital for everybody to be able to stay productive and healthy whilst working remotely.  

In this post, we’re going to look at some practical ways to do that. Let’s dig in.  

Case Study: TRGT Digital 

Patrick Nancarrow, who spoke at the EU Business School earlier this year, is the founder and CEO of TRGT Digital, a marketing agency that manages over 50 million euros in ad spend. 

TRGT is a remote company and relies on a diverse team of digital marketers scattered across the globe, including in Europe, the US, and Australia. And judging from the staff turnover rate, the team at TRGT is definitely doing something right – only four full-time employees have left in the last four years.  

TRGT has identified three general priorities to overcoming the challenges associated with remote work and to ensure employee wellbeing.  They are:

  • Training – Detailed training modules and regular performance reviews shine a light on issues interfering with performance but more importantly, enable people to function autonomously and make it possible for the remote set up to work effectively This is a fundamental part of the strategy at TRGT and is practiced for all employees from day one. 
  • Support – A great deal of attention is paid to employee wellbeing. The employee handbook, for example, covers remote working in detail, which is especially useful for team members with little experience of working alone.  
  • Communication – Video conferencing, online social time, and one self-contained project management platform ensure team cohesion. 

All of these practices, tested and tweaked over many years, come together to create an online environment that’s extremely conducive to remote work. And TRGT has the revenue to prove it. 

4 Practical Tips for Productive Remote Working 

While your company might not be as remote-centric as TRGT, there’s still a lot you can still learn from its success and practices.  

Here are four tips you can implement to ensure you’re productive, healthy, and happy when working from home:  

1. Look After Your Mental and Physical Health  

Working alone comes with several health challenges, and failure to account for these can affect mental and physical wellbeing in the long-term. 

For remote workers, it’s particularly important to look after work-life balance. Research shows that this is one of the basic requirements for happiness when spending large amounts of time at home constantly plugged in.  

Making time for friends, exercising outside regularly, using communal spaces – all are simple ways of fostering optimal mental health. TRGT, for example, offers employees a “coworking allowance” to encourage them to get out of the house.  

2. Set a Clear Working Schedule With Clear Goals 

It’s much easier to fritter away time when you don’t have the usual constraints of office hours. If you have flexibility over your time, designate a distraction-free portion of the day that’s exclusively for work. Research shows that “stable scheduling practices” lead to increased performance and productivity.  

You can also use goals in the same way that TRGT uses performance reviews. By attaching desired outcomes to tasks, it’s possible to review your performance and pinpoint any inefficiencies or workflow problems.  

3. Prioritize Team and Brainstorming Time 

When you’re on your own, collaboration understandably becomes a lot more difficult. And the overall quality of ideas suffers. That’s why it’s essential to prioritize brainstorming time. If you have to choose between time spent with colleagues or solitary tasks, opt for the former option.  

remote work advice

If you’re a manager or team leader, put in place the infrastructure for colleagues to connect via video wherever possible, create digital “social spaces” like Facebook groups, and use a single project management and collaboration platform to keep everyone up to speed and working together.  

4. Commit to Ongoing Learning 

Remote working is a skill that requires practice and continual learning. In the same way that TRGT provides its employees with training materials, you should seek out resources that will help you become more effective over time. 

Books, videos, and courses are all inexpensive ways of keeping up to date with the latest research and practices related to remote working.  

Eager to Pursue a Career in Business 

The world of work is changing. Freelancing and remote work is on the rise. If you’re interested in a career in business, then it’s important to master new skills that will enable you to work effectively remotely. It’s equally important to understand the priciples behind the methods, particularly if you are considering starting your own remote company.

Courses at EU Business School are designed with both business fundamentals and these industry-spanning shifts in mind. In particular, you might be interested in the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Business, Design & Innovation or the MBA in Digital Business. But whichever program you choose, your education at EU will prepare you with the skills to function effectively in, or lead, a remote team and will prepare you for a career that evolves with the ever changing global working landscape.  

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