For more than 2 years now, remote work — be it hybrid or fully remote — has been part of everyday life in many companies. The pandemic has erased “cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place”, at least in the classic office activities. In this blog post, we want to talk about productivity in remote environments and share the experiences and tips of our team.
Remote work and productivity
Despite the corporate experience and numerous scientific studies, 1 topic in remote work seems to be more controversial and hotly debated than any other: Productivity.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the impact of home-based work on productivity has been surveyed several times. Not surprisingly for us, many of those studies concluded that productivity increases significantly in a remote setup. For example, according to this Standford study, productivity increased by 13% and by 24% according to this ConnectSolution study.
Obviously, the studies also found some challenges with remote work. For example, employees seemed to share less on non-work topics and talk less with their management. In addition, productivity — surprise! — can’t be increased indefinitely. Just because productivity is up for now doesn’t mean it will stay this way. Some companies report seeing employees struggle with the lack of social interaction.
Understanding productivity at Frontastic
Remote work is at the core of our corporate culture, and we’ve been working remotely and asynchronously from day 1. Despite our excellent experience with this model, we don’t deny the challenges mentioned in the research. However, these aren’t exclusive to the remote environment and can occur in any company. From our point of view, the benefits of a remote model outweigh the challenges so much that it’s worth actively addressing them — one of them being productivity.
We can only be successful if we build a company oriented towards productivity, flexibility, and positive people-centric interaction. There are quite a few reasons we find remote work so good. Some of those which pop up in our heads immediately:
- No more commute and more free time by definition
- Higher productivity
- Lower business costs
- Opportunity to work from anywhere
- Flexible schedule
- Asynchronous communication
- Work autonomously
- Fewer interruptions: in a remote situation, you can genuinely get into a flow
- Easier to maintain healthy habits, for example, by preparing your lunches instead of eating out
- Saving money, for example, no lunch or commute costs
- Better balance between private and professional life, for example, receiving parcels, picking kids up from daycare, and so on
These are just a few valid reasons that support remote-first working environments. As you can see, productivity is one of the main reasons for us ;)
Productivity tips and hacks from the Frontastic team
So for us, remote work and productivity go hand in hand. We’re also aware that efficiency and output aren’t something that can be constantly maintained at a very high level. We’re all human, and not every day is the same. We asked our team what strategies they’ve developed to work as productively as possible. Here are a few tips:
Staying productive in the remote working environment
Routines, systems, and structures seem to work excellently in terms of productivity from our experience. Finding out what routine works for you, creating the workflows, and sticking to them works wonders for many Frontastic people:
“Figuring out which system works for you. Too often, people are influenced by how others work, what tools they use, what hours they work, or how they communicate. Once you break free of that and figure out what works for you, you’ll be more productive. For me, it’s an early start (06:00), it’s a tool like Todoist because I can offload things quickly and easily, and it’s the consistent implementation of an async-first approach. I also plan my day every morning first thing.”
“Routine. I always get up almost the same time and “just” start the day. I try to set clear boundaries between my office room, which is almost only for anything work-related, and the rest of our house. This means my mental working state is closely connected to sitting at my desk.”
“Recognizing when you’re not being productive and taking a break. Just by getting a drink or going out for a walk gives you the time to recenter, refocus, and refresh your brain to get back to being productive.”
Getting into the flow
We all strive to get in a flow, but it’s often hard to achieve. Our team has a few tips for that as well:
“It’s very different from day-to-day. Sometimes it’s music or a podcast, often just turning off notifications and closing tabs and windows I don’t need at that moment. For more complex tasks, it often helps me to change the environment and work from a different room, a café, or a co-working space.”
Another hack often mentioned is planning and preparing for the next day the evening before. This way, you avoid the mental overload in the morning and start directly with the tasks and get the first sense of achievement early. It doesn’t matter if the schedule changes during the day. The most important thing is to get into productive mode as early as possible.
Finding out what works for you
We believe that remote work has the edge over traditional work environments in terms of productivity. Still, efficiency and consistent output can’t be taken for granted. To make remote work productive for yourself, it’s important to establish personal — truly personal — structures and workflows and recognize your disruptive triggers. But as we already mentioned, these challenges aren’t exclusive to the remote-first world.