Remote Work: 6 Common Mistakes You Really Should Avoid to Stay Productive (Part 1)

Working remotely from home is gaining a lot of popularity. Flexible working hours, no traffic in the morning and much better coffee than in the office. Find out which common mistakes you really should avoid to stay productive. 

PROS and CONS of working from home

A 2018 study from OWLLabs found out that 68% of global workers worked remotely at least once a month. Still, some employers are still hesitant to embrace this new approach to working. Is it possible to work as productively from home as from the office? In the following table you find some pros and cons of working from home. 

PROS

CONS

  • Balancing family and career
  • High self-discipline required
  • Low office costs
  • Isolation effect
  • No commuting
  • Difficult communication flow
  • Less sick days
  • Hard to control
  • Less distraction from coworkers
  • Great potential of distraction

The alternative work concept has positive and negative effects equally. To avoid problems and mistakes while working remotely, here are some stumbling blocks that you need to be aware of.

Mistakes you really should avoid to stay productive

#1: Less communication

Probably the most controversial aspect of working remotely is the difficulty of (effective) communication. It is most important to guarantee the flow of information and to try to keep the conversation even through the “digital barrier” as personal as possible. Emails and other corporate chats can become a real communication killer or worse, create new conflicts and problems. Without seeing or hearing the other, it is hard to identify their subtext and it’s easy to misunderstand a joke or sarcasm as serious. It is important to decide when to send an email and when a short telephone call is the smarter solution. In some conversations, little nuances make a difference in the outcome of the discussion and the following steps.

InLoox Tip: Maintain InLoox projects even more & use notes

The communication must be as project or task related as possible. Use InLoox to take care of your projects in a way that is transparent to all your team members. This way everyone is always up to date and knows who has to do what by when. Make sure that you update your projects and tasks more diligently when working from home. This enables you to avoid coworkers distracting you by constantly asking you for updates on the current status of the projects or certain tasks. When the project plan and projects are always up to date, they can just open the project and see its progress.

InLoox Feature: Better project communication and collaboration with task notes

Task notes in InLoox for Outlook

You can also use the notes feature in InLoox to keep your coworkers up to date. Leave notes on tasks, activities and milestones and notify other team members individually or as a group. Us the project notes if you want to communicate important project information with all project team members. Of course, you can also notify everyone that there’s a new project note to make sure nobody misses important information.

#2: Social isolation

A lot of remote workers report that they experience becoming “invisible” to their coworkers. Don’t isolate yourself but share your work successes with your coworkers and show them that you are part of the team despite not being physically present. It is useful to hold short 15 minute long daily status meetings by phone or video conference at the beginning of the working day to check the current status of everything and to set priorities for the day. Set a fix time of day for this meeting. The whole team should be present and each team member should give a short report what tasks they are going to work on that day. Working remotely means that you miss a lot of news from the office grapevine that’s being shared during coffee or lunch breaks. Try to find an alternative for this. An easy option is to set up regular (virtual) team lunches where all team members eat lunch “together” and chat via video conference – so remote workers can socialize with their coworkers as well.

InLoox tip: Use the integrated chat in InLoox Web App

If you’re working with InLoox Web App, you can make use of the integrated chat to quickly and easily communicate with coworkers. But keep in mind that in some cases – as mentioned above – a phone call is often the better solution.

InLoox Web App - Chat

Team chat in InLoox Web App


Also read the other articles in this series:

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