“Working from home makes it much harder to delineate work time from personal time. I encourage all of our employees to have a disciplined schedule for when you will work, and when you will not, and to stick to that schedule.”
- Organize your work.
- Maintain a steady stream of productivity.
- Draw clear boundaries between work and personal life.
Remote work is a boon, isn’t it?
Remote work is a lifestyle that appeals to many because:
- You don’t need to beat the traffic or deal with the tedium of commuting to work.
- You can wear whatever you want to work.
- You can work whenever you want.
- You minimize waste, emissions, and pollution as your carbon footprint reduces while supporting sustainability.
- You get more “me time” because you have a lot of control over your work hours in a day.
- You get the better end of the bargain when it comes to work-life balance.
- If you are disabled or geographically isolated, you can still work and earn.
While some people take to remote work like it’s their second nature, others must work hard to be efficient at it – a major part of being an efficacious remote worker is sticking to a “flexible routine.”
“The only two habits you need are learning how to start something and learning how to finish and accomplish something,” – A.J Juliani
A daily routine should get you started on the right path so that you can finish what is required. Be mindful of deadlines, be committed to task executions, and even in the necessary yet tiny tasks such as submitting your accomplished work and informing your colleagues about your availability and non-availability. This will help you standardize your workflow and facilitate remote work efficiency.
Even better, you can keep a spreadsheet and update it as necessary – make it a point to always refer to it so that you don’t miss a thing. The next step of a daily routine in remote work is a “flexible routine”.
How does a “flexible routine” work?
“Flexible routine” may sound ironic. But when you work remotely, routine and flexibility may overlap as these traits come into play:
- Effective planning – you should have it all thought and set out, from immediate, daily, weekly, and monthly tasks so that you can categorize your tasks based on frequency and urgency.
- Organizational skills – you should be able to absorb new tasks coming your way seamlessly into your routine and not consider these new tasks as “disruptions.” Also, readily intersperse “secondary tasks” like updating your team about your work progress, submitting your work, and interacting with your colleagues into your planned routine.
You need to have a clear and receptive mindset when working remotely because change will keep hitting you like a ton of bricks – use those bricks to build instead of letting them break you. A “flexible routine” will also provide more leeway for you to live better alongside working remotely; planning and organizing are not only work skills, but also life skills.
How can you implement a “flexible routine” as a remote worker and a remote-first/remote-friendly organization?
There are work processes to follow in the office, right? The same applies to remote work setups.
There are differences between on-site work processes and remote work processes though.
In a remote work routine setting, you need to be more self-reliant in managing your remote workload. Your chunking of time will be more subjective and individualistic, and your alertness and responsiveness to colleagues and your surroundings will be more active.
Sticking to a remote work routine consisting of 8 hours per day, 5 days per week with a couple of weeks off per year, on repeat is a travesty to the promise of remote work – flexibility. At the same time, being haphazard when working remotely is also harmful.
So, it is important to internalize the changeability and adjustability of your remote work routine. If your peak productive hours are mornings, you can sprint to finish your tasks in the morning and have relaxing evenings. If your team wants to have a meeting during the time you usually take a break, you can adjust to having your break before or after the meeting. This is how your routine doesn’t impinge on remote work’s promise of flexibility and how you create and implement a “flexible routine.” It’s highly needs-based.
Remote-first companies can come up with remote work policies that facilitate a “flexible routine.” A 100% remote-first company, Genashtim, announced the “Total Flexibility Initiative” to encourage its employees to leverage the perks of flexibility that come with a remote work setting. Genashtim’s Founder and CEO, Thomas Ng, talked about work-life integration and the shift from providing livelihood to providing quality of life to Genashtim’s employees. He actively encouraged staff members to take a lot of breaks. If something comes up during the weekend within the remote work network, he said that responding to the issue immediately is the proof of a team-based “flexible routine.” However, he stressed that such a “flexible routine” should not cost employees’ need to rest and recharge. Ultimately, he entrusted the employees to know better and will act as required based on their personalized flexible routines.
There are countless tips and tricks for working better remotely. No two remote workers face the same issues, nor do they work using the same processes.
So, it all depends on how you go about it as an individual. Find out what works for you. As new challenges emerge, take stock, reflect, plan, organize, and execute. Whatever it takes to make the needle move forward, remote work gives you the inherent freedom of a “flexible routine” to do so. Harness it and enjoy the best of both worlds – professional and personal life successfully merged in a work-life integration lifestyle!