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Tough day at the office? Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular and for many, working in a traditional office environment is a thing of the past. In fact for some, remote working becomes a necessity rather than a choice: with the news that a number of office buildings in Wellington remain closed after the November 14 earthquake, now seems a good time for us at PEPworldwide to share our tips on how to stay just as productive when you work out of the office as when you work in it.

1. Ensure you have exactly what you need, where you need it.

Organise your information so that you have all your relevant files and necessary tools to hand. Tools like Dropbox and Box are popular as they enable you to access files anywhere, on any device, and provide a useful back-up service. Many companies also have policies that require certain teams or employees to keep their laptops or tablets with them at all times. The November 14 earthquake illustrated the reason for this perfectly: many workers were suddenly faced with having to work from home or another location and were caught out, with the tools they needed cordoned off in damaged office buildings and therefore unreachable.

2. Identify who you will need to collaborate with and the best way to communicate with them.

You will inevitably need to confer with certain colleagues: establish a protocol for working with others across different locations. Be aware that different people prefer different methods of communicating, so take that into consideration when you’re organising the most effective way to collaborate.

3. Maintain professional standards.

It may be tempting to spend the day working in your pyjamas – no one’s going to see you, right? However, research has demonstrated that dressing too casually can have a detrimental effect on your focus and therefore your productivity. As psychologist Dr Karen Pine says in a Forbes articleon this very topic, “A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.” So while a suit may not be necessary, bear this in mind as you prepare for a day working outside the corporate environment.

4. Identify what time of day is the most productive for you.

You may do your best work first thing in the morning; others may struggle to focus before 10am. Working remotely offers you the opportunity to tailor your working hours around your most productive periods – within reason. Obviously, you still need to take your company’s requirements into account. And don’t forget our second point: also consider the requirements of those with whom you need to collaborate.

5. Always be clear on your objectives.

Wherever you’re working, clarity is essential. Always identify your three most important objectives, or “big rocks”, before you begin. This will also help if you have a tendency to procrastinate, which can be exacerbated by working from a different location.

There’s plenty more advice out there on how to work remotely if you’re interested. But we’re confident that if you keep at least these key factors in mind, you’ll stay in control even when you’re out of the office. Because as we teach at PEPworldwide:nz, ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you’re working. It’s how you’re working that really makes a difference.