Remote working, flexible hours, decentralised workplaces. Even before the events of 2020, the typical ‘9 to 5’ in a standard office building was evolving; research has shown that 25% of Australians already had a second location from which they conducted at least one hour’s work every week. Post lockdowns and Covid, those figures are vastly higher with businesses reporting employees working remotely has doubled from 20% pre-pandemic to 42%. Wherever you work, it’s important to have the right tools. Follow these shortcuts for better productivity, at home, on the road, or in the office.
For most workers, having a fast and reliable computer is a necessity. When you’re working remotely, it’s even more essential. Equip yourself and your team with a laptop or tablet that’s light and portable, while still offering powerful processing, decent storage space and long battery life.
Can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet? These days 2-in-1 laptops are becoming more readily adopted. Their benefit is affordability as well as versatility: jump from word processing to reading an e-book to taking notes in a meeting, all with just one device.
Spotty signals and slow internet speed are the dual enemies of working remotely, but one helpful hack is to use an external USB WiFi adaptor to ensure a more reliable internet connection. If you’re on the go, carry backup, in the shape of a prepaid modem, and create your own portable WiFi network for all of your devices to connect to. Remember, using public WiFi can put you at greater risk of cyber attack, so invest in internet safety software from the outset. Note, too, that many expenses for mobile or remote working are tax deductible
On the road? There are strict laws about handling a mobile phone while driving, so don’t be tempted to send that sneaky text. Always dock your phone in a fixed cradle, and set up voice recognition, or use a Bluetooth transmitter or headset so you can make hands-free calls on the go. A car charger is another essential piece of equipment – ensure your phone and other mobile devices are primed for action when you reach your destination.
Do double duty with a mobile phone mount that features Qi wireless charging.
There are benefits to working away from the office. The flexible schedule means you can slip away to run errands, or take an extra long walk after lunch and chalk it up to a win for work/life balance. But you may find a set routine helps you work more efficiently and feel less stressed. Evidence suggests regularity and familiarity can be soothing especially if work is unpredictable or volatile. Keep schedules and calendars to plan out your day-to-day, every day. Repetition begets good habits, discipline and the growth of new skills.
There’s an app for absolutely everything and you should embrace them to help you as you go about your working day. Web-based communication or office technology tools, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Yammer, Asana, Jira and Google Docs, connect team members in real time, and enable them to share and edit documents and allocate and track tasks with productivity tools.
Mobile and remote working apps can also make work processes more efficient, automating administrative tasks like sending invoices or paying bills. When you’re on the go, it pays to have every remote work tool you could possibly need at your fingertips, allowing you to conduct your business in the most professional manner possible
While a diary or planner can be useful for familiarity, keeping piles of paperwork is pointless and inefficient. If you’re working in a hybrid way — split between the office and home — you need access to documents wherever you are. And if you’re working on the road, there’s nowhere to store your stuff anyway.
Where possible, convert essential documents to digital files and rely on cloud-based storage and/or external hard drives instead of physical copies. Aim to keep things minimalist in your digital spaces as well; set aside a parcel of time each week for combing through your desktop, downloads folder and email and deleting anything that’s unnecessary.
If you’re a sole trader or busy nurturing your side hustle, there’s little occupational health and safety to speak of. The responsibility falls to you to be your own advocate and ensure your physical and mental wellbeing is a top consideration. One of the easiest things you can do is get 7-9 hours of sleep at night, and while you’re at it, aim to drink 2-3 litres of water each day.
The advice remains the same if you’re an employee working from home. Self-care and wellbeing is something you need to prioritise, so set up a small work station with a desk and chair to avoid possible injury or strain. Make sure you take frequent breaks and check in with yourself regularly to see how you’re feeling. A sense of purpose and wellbeing will always deliver better productivity in the long run.
Information correct at time of publication. Global trade conditions may impact availability of some items. We apologise for any inconvenience.