How to Make Remote Work Effective – Best Practices

Iva SoldoCOVID-19
18 min read

When you work in a traditional office, it’s easy to fall into a routine. Every day you get dressed in business casual, commute to work, join morning meetings, and generally get on with your day. There might be a coffee break (or two) mixed in throughout the day, but it’s very straightforward. 

Remote working is the complete opposite, and since the COVID-19 outbreak, it became a new normal for most of the people around the globe. There’s no commute, no set schedule, and no clear office space. It’s easy to fall into bad habits like procrastinating or endless socializing. Whether you manage vacation rentals or own a boutique hotel, you need to optimize your day with the leading remote working best practices.

Is Remote Working Less Productive?

You might be surprised to learn that remote working actually might be a recipe for success. It’s only natural to think that a lack of clear workplace structure would decrease productivity, but the opposite is true. 

A two-year study from Stanford University found that there’s an impressive increase in productivity levels for those who work from home. That being said, remote work is just that—work. 

At Rentlio, our team is spread across many cities. While we have a home office in Zadar, the rest of our team is scattered across the country. This comes with a unique set of challenges when it comes to communication, time management, and productivity. We’ve learned that progress needs to be fostered. This list of remote working best practices is what we’ve discovered through our own learning and experiences.

1. Create Boundaries

The lines between work and home life are blurred, especially if you’re working from home. Turning off your “work” thoughts when it’s time to clock out for the day is easier said than done. How do you avoid checking your email, following up with clients, and doing endless admin tasks when your work desk is only a few feet from your couch?

Photo by A R C H I G E R O S A on Unsplash

You wouldn’t linger around the office after everyone goes home, and the same is true for your remote business. You need clear boundaries, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. 

How to Create Boundaries:

  • Set office hours (i.e. 9 – 5 on weekdays)
  • At Rentlio, we use Slack’s Do Not Disturb feature to pause notifications after hours
  • Create a dedicated workspace that’s used only for work

2. Prepare for Meetings

No matter how remote your business is, you’ll still need to interact with clients, partners, and coworkers from time to time. Reading emails and dozing off during a call is a sign that you’re not interested. Because these meetings are essential to keeping your business running successfully, practice good meeting etiquette. Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you can’t stay alert, engaged, and professional. 

In addition, prioritize in-person meetings when you can. At Rentlio, we host company retreats twice a year, and these events always bring the team closer together. When you’re planning meetings or events, schedule as early in advance as possible. If you plan weekly and monthly meetings in advance, everyone knows how and when to prepare. 

Rentlio team

For example, our marketing meetings are always on Mondays, and our one-on-one meetings with the CEO are at the beginning of each month. Though these meetings are often remote, we always use video for a personal connection. From there, we follow this template so meetings are always organized and actionable. 

How to prepare for remote meetings:

  • Use video calls whenever possible (we recommend Zoom—it’s a reliable, easy-to-use tool for putting a face behind the name) 
  • Create an agenda before the meeting to stay focused
  • Dress smart for every meeting

3. Keep Yourself Accountable

When you work remotely, you need to be accountable for yourself. Even if you have a supervisor or manager above you, they’re not physically close on a daily basis. There’s nobody to make sure you’re actually getting things done or regulating your work effectively. 

It’s important to keep yourself accountable. While it’s perfectly fine to socialize or do household chores throughout the traditional “workday,” you still need to hit deadlines and milestones. The fun part about hitting said milestones is sharing how far you’ve come. For example, our marketing team does monthly social media reports for the whole team to see. This keeps the whole team, no matter where they’re located, aligned on the same goals. 

How to keep yourself accountable:

  • Use a time tracker or use a metric to evaluate your productivity (our support team measures the number of inquiries answered as a way to show progress)
  • Block breaks and holidays into your calendar
  • Share your progress with supervisors or clients 

4. Don’t Neglect Your Health

Speaking of keeping yourself accountable, the same is true of your self-care and health. Remote working will drain all of your energy if you’re not careful. It starts as working late nights here or there, and it turns into an endless routine of all work and no play. 

Because you’re likely at home, it’s hard to break from this routine. Working around the clock and letting your health slide is the biggest trap. Instead, build wellness into your remote work routine. 

How to put your health first:

  • Build exercise time into your workday
  • Schedule healthy lunch breaks such as superfood bowls
  • Get up from your desk at least once an hour

5. Create Your Remote Working Toolkit

Digital tools and platforms make staying connected from anywhere possible and easy. Each day, there are more and more resources specifically for remote workers so you can accomplish anything from project management to communication. 

You can’t afford the time it takes to switch back and forth between tasks, and admin work piles up quickly. Find the best tools that take the weight off your own schedule so you can focus on what matters most for your business. 

How to build your own remote working toolkit:

Take Your Remote Work Further

Working remotely is a dream come true for many. Your time is entirely your own, and you’re free to structure your workday as you like. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Whether you’re spending your workdays in your home office or working while traveling, how will you make smart choices about your work, health, and tools?

These tips above set you up for success from the start. Whether you’re working remotely for the first time or you’re looking to optimize your current routine, these best practices are for you. 

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Iva Soldo is Rentlio’s CMO. During the day she loves tackling different marketing challenges while at night she’s all about proper techno. Traveled 40+ countries and growing. Coffee lover. Digital Expert. Detail-oriented. Dedicated runner, #foodie, and proud INTJ!