How to work productively away from the office

Tuesday 14 May 2013

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With tools such as Office 365 at employees' fingertips, there has never been a greater opportunity to work productively away from the office. Workers can access important programs, files and documents on their home PC, laptop or mobile devices - essentially replicating the office environment.

Providing they have reliable internet connectivity and a web-enabled device, it is possible to work productively from almost any location. All employees need to do is distance themselves from distraction and create a routine for working remotely. The latter is not always easy - it requires a degree of individual drive and discipline to work to your full potential away from the microscope of your boss.

So how can remote workers ensure they make the most of each daily shift? Here's our how to list for working effectively in a remote location:

Define your working area - remote workers need a dedicated study, or some other working area where they have ready access to the tools they require. Ideally this should be away from distractions such as TV, children and pressing household chores.

Keep regular working hours - if employees commit themselves to a particular shift, they can develop a routine and then focus on maximising productivity during this period.

Set tasks for the day - if remote workers have a list of key duties to perform for each working day they are more likely to remain focused on the task in hand, rather than get distracted.

Keep communicating with the office - whether over the phone or via the internet, it is important to maintain open channels of communication. This helps deliver a higher quality of service when handling customers, and ensures greater all-round productivity when collaborating with colleagues. Office 365 can deliver access to a range of online comms solutions, including conferencing tools and messaging solutions.

Take regular breaks - even if you're working in the comfort of your own home, it's still important to back away from the screen or paperwork at regular intervals. Taking regular breaks is crucial if remote workers are to maximise productivity. And it doesn't hurt to get out and about for some human interaction where possible - even if this is just a two minute chat at the shop during your lunch break.

Keep your work space tidy - your boss won't be nagging at you to keep your desk free of clutter, but this is what you should do. Mess is not only distracting but it makes it more difficult to remain organised and ensure tasks are completed quickly and efficiently.

Ensure technology is up to date - the latest operating systems, software packages and productivity suites offer a range of features designed to support working on the move. Employees should ensure they are equipped with the tools necessary to remain on the pulse - rather than making do with out-of-date systems and programs.

Find out more about how Microsoft solutions can support productive remote working.

Posted by Sarah Parish