The Upside

Success Strategies for Making the Most out of Remote Work

Erin Halper

For the first time ever, due to the COVID-19 quarantines, we may see what a fully remote workforce would look like.
 
For people who have never worked remotely on a consistent basis, and for companies that have never had a fully remote team, what can they expect in the coming weeks?
 
We spoke to dozens of Upside members–best-in-class consultants and solopreneurs who are experts in remote work–to bring you their top tips for working remotely for the first time:

1. Create a schedule which includes hourly breaks.

Upside member Carrie Sporer, CS Consulting, Sales and Operations Consultant, shared that it can be hard to stay on task at home. “But if you know you are grinding for 50 minutes and then taking 10 minutes to have a cup of coffee and surf the Internet, it can be easier to get more done.”

2. Get dressed.

Upside member Kadisha Phillips, Growth Marketing Strategist and Consultant, knows that when working remotely, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing relaxed clothing that you would normally wear while lounging in your home.
 
“In my experience, getting dressed like you’re going to work every day helps your brain to prepare for, well, work. This helps with motivation, productivity and focus because you’re adhering the regular routine that you perform when commuting into work on a daily basis.”

3. Give others the benefit of the doubt.

Upside member Kerrian Fournier, CEO, Vybrante Ventures, confirms that this is new territory for many. She explains, “There will be a normal adjustment period on how to effectively be productive both individually and as a team in this new paradigm.
 
“For example, Managers: don’t just assume your employees are slacking. In fact, many times remote employees have the opposite problem of not knowing when to shut off their work mode. Employees: if you’re not hearing from your manager, proactively reach out to ask for clarification and specific instructions, because your manager is probably doing the best they can in a new and stressful situation.
 
“Although it’s a challenging time, it’s a huge opportunity to become more self-aware as to what fosters your productivity and what detracts from it. Give yourself and others some grace, as this will be something that we’ll all be refining in the days and weeks ahead.”

4. Create a productive workspace.

Upside member Erin Lopez, founder and eCommerce Growth Strategist at IV Consultancy, designed her ideal workspace to foster productivity. “I made a list of everything I wanted (standing desk, aspiration board, essential oil humidifier, voice command music) and needed (storage for home and office, efficient print set up) in my home office and then slowly transitioned the room into my ideal productive work space and work sanctuary.”

5. Share a virtual meal with colleagues or friends.

Upside member Michal Levison, founder of Seasoned Moments, puts a new twist on facetime–or in this case, FaceTime. She suggests scheduling virtual lunches with colleagues and friends to ensure that you’re taking much-needed breaks and are bonding with likeminded people. Michal even suggests that attendees can have the same menu or order from the same restaurant and “share” the meal together…virtually of course!
 
In her latest Thrive Global article, How to Stay Connected Amid Social Distancing, Michal explains, “As office buildings shut down, teams work from home, meetings and events go virtual and everything else is disrupted, we need to maintain some semblance of sanity and humanity.
 
“Sharing a meal is an opportunity to release tension, teach and learn, reflect, relax, and create personal connections. Although we can’t sit down at the same table, we can still manage to share a meal and get some of the same benefits and keep us from going crazy or burning out.”

6. Leverage niche services and software to stay on task.
 

According to Upside member Raquel Rojo Calderon, founder of Innata Style, her major challenges in going remote after 10 years of corporate work have been managing her focus and keeping her stamina high. Raquel shares with us below her top apps that have helped her win the battle:
 
  • Brain.fm ($6.99 per month) – White noise sessions that will keep you in your lane for hours on end.
  • Focus To-Do (Free) – Timer that delivers the Pomodoro Technique, which breaks your work into manageable chunks. It has been proven to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus.
  • Things ($9.99 one-off) – A task manager that appeases the mind by capturing all those open loops that take your focus away from your work.
  • Focusmate ($5 per month) – Accountability partnership provided through video call (also known as virtual co-working).
I love all these tips! Thank you to our high-performing members of The Upside, our community of independent consultants, solopreneurs and remote workers who come together for connection, collaboration and leveling up.
 
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