Time Management for Remote Workers: Balancing Flexibility and Productivity


 Time Management for Remote Workers: Balancing Flexibility and Productivity

Tips for remote workers on how to cope with the lack of face-to-face interactions and still manage their time. This post includes tips on how to organize your day, as well as practical advice for managing tasks, meetings, and technology.

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What I've Learned About Time Management for Remote Workers is a performance management system that enables managers to delegate tasks—both high- and low-level—to team members on a flexible, project-by-project basis. This helps remote workers stay organized and motivated, even when they work from home. The program strikes a balance between flexibility and productivity by allowing remote workers both control over their time (so they can set their own schedules) and freedom from micromanagement (so they can focus on the big picture).
The program tracks time spent on activities, not tasks. Tasks may have more than one subitem, which gives you the freedom to break down large projects into smaller actionable pieces. For example, if you were working on a marketing campaign for your company's new product launch, you could break each task into smaller chunks that include the following activities:
Design mockup of advertisement
Write copy for advertisement
Edit and finalize copy of advertisement
Find stock photos to accompany advertisement
Find appropriate printer/distributor for printing advertisements
For this workflow, you would track how much time you spent working on each activity—not just the overall project—which allows you to quantify your efforts and gives you more control over how your team members spend their time. To facilitate this kind of tracking, Time Management for Remote Workers keeps a rolling 30-day window; any tasks or activities that began within that window count toward your monthly totals. This feature helps you stay organized and avoids over-estimating your progress, which can be counterproductive. For example, if you had an idea for a new product launch that didn't materialize until several months later, the time spent working on it would count toward your time spent for the entire month. If you had worked on it as part of a larger project that began within the 30-day window, then it would only count toward that project's time.
A key component to ensuring this kind of tracking—and keeping track of remote workers' progress—is communication . If managers don't share their timelines with remote team members, they may miss important deadlines or lose important tasks to other projects. For this reason, managers must share their project timelines with remote workers on a regular basis.
One of the most challenging aspects of time management for remote workers is staying disciplined enough to work consistently. Sometimes, we have "peak hours," when we're most productive; at other times, we're more productive outside our peak hours. This varies from person to person and day to day, so setting a schedule based on peak hours may not be best for everyone .
For example: If you usually feel your best between 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM each day but have meetings scheduled during that time slot every Tuesday, then you would either need to change the meeting time or change your schedule. If you were to choose the latter, then you'd need to allow yourself extra time to get ready and leave on time. Others may find that their best work is done in the evenings, so they would benefit from setting their schedule based on peak hours for working this way.
It's important for managers to communicate expectations and reinforce good behavior, but it's also important to maintain flexibility in remote workers' schedules . If a worker deviates significantly from their schedule due to an external event or unexpected development, that doesn't mean they need a punishment—it just means that you'll need to explain why they deviated from their plan. For example, if your employee missed a meeting for an important family event, you can explain that it was out of their control and that they should have contacted you before leaving if they needed to reschedule.
And always—always—use the buddy system . When people work remotely, they often feel isolated and lonely. It's natural to want their co-workers to understand their situation and get involved in their lives. But because it's easy for remote workers to get sucked into working alone, it's critical that managers don't indulge this behavior by joining them on calls or distracting them with photos from a fun weekend outing. Keeping in touch and getting them involved in each other's lives—while still facilitating their work—is one of the toughest aspects of remote work. But it's also one of the most rewarding.
When beginning a new project, take some time to familiarize yourself with the people you're working with. And don't underestimate the importance of symbols: a smiley face, a whiteboard, or some scribbles on Google Docs can help communicate when you'll be back from lunch or away from your computer for an extended period of time.
Time Management for Remote Workers is currently available to all customers through our annual subscription plan . If you're a current customer and would like to learn more, please contact your Customer Success Manager .
About Time Management for Remote Workers
Based in San Diego, California, and founded in 2003, Speek is a leading provider of phone systems for businesses. At Speek , we believe that telephony solutions should be easy to use and affordable for everyone. With our goal of making quality telecom services available to everyone, we offer a wide range of services including phones for sale , business phone systems , virtual phone numbers , call recording solutions , conference calling , free local phone services and more. Visit our website at www.speek.com to learn more about our products and follow us on Twitter at @Speek_ .
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Your company may have a business reason for requiring you to use certain tools, but that doesn't mean you have to comply with it.


You can use Google Docs for most of the things you normally do. For example, you can write your emails or blog posts in it, update your contacts, store your team notes and plan meetings. It's a great tool if you are someone who is not technology savvy and does not have to work with complicated software.
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