How to Improve Work Performance: Remote Work Edition
After the widespread adoption of remote work, work performance metrics that used to be relevant for in-office work have become outdated or harder to track. This leaves many with the question on how to improve work performance for remote environments.
It no longer makes sense for your performance to be graded based on who is present or speaks up in meetings. These are less relevant in workplaces where you and your team are in different cities, countries, or continents.
This leaves many wondering: how can I improve my work performance?
You do not want to waste your time and energy on performance metrics that you are no longer being evaluated on. Many of the opportunities to demonstrate your skills and work ethic aren’t easy to do with remote work. Since you and your team aren’t in the same location, it’s not as easy for them to see your workload, attitude, and capabilities.
With coworkers who may be located around the world, managing relationships will take a different set of skills than when you could catch up in the office on a daily basis. These quality tips will get you started off on the right foot.
8 Ways to improve work performance
While workflows and relationships to team members are different, you will also be evaluated on different performance metrics. This doesn’t mean you have to rethink the way you work, but you should remember that some rules might not apply anymore.
To figure out how to improve work performance in the world of remote work, you need to adjust your mindset and implement new strategies. Here are some improvement ideas to get started with.
1. Make sure your work is visible
Although “butts in chairs” is far less applicable in remote work, it’s still important to make sure that your work is being noticed. When your projects and work are more visible, it’s easier for you to point your successes out to managers and leaders. Using tasks is a helpful way to ensure that your work is easy for leaders to see.
Task management makes it easier for you to organize your workload and clearly illustrates what you are doing and what you’ve already completed. For metrics, you can track how many tasks are completed, what type of tasks you typically work on, and how long it takes you to finish them and your projects.
These numbers will provide a useful and easily quantifiable demonstration of your work—to both you and your team leader or manager.
2. Use asynchronous work for performance improvements
Because asynchronous work treats work like a relay race instead of a sprint, daily workflows are different than they are for in-office work. Asynchronous work empowers people to be more independent and impactful. This empowers you to work at your own pace; it’s also easier to focus on the task at hand.
Typically, there are fewer meetings when a team uses an asynchronous approach to work. When you have meetings, you can make them more impactful. Make sure that your meetings are necessary, short, and planned out. Meeting agendas can help your team prepare for any topics or questions.
With these things in mind, you can demonstrate your effectiveness, even if your team members are in different places.
3. Get the hang of documentation and file management
Working remotely entails managing a constant flow of information, projects, and feedback. The biggest pitfall of remote work is that details can be siloed or fall through the cracks. To stay on top of your work, stay organized and store information where it’s accessible to everyone who needs it.
Mastering the art of documentation and file management comes in handy for this. With these skills under your belt, you can record details and ensure that you and your team have the information you need, right at your fingertips.
For example, when a new team member is being onboarded, it’s easier to provide them with resources and training materials that can answer their questions and help them learn. If your team has outdated or unclear documentation, volunteering to clarify it can be beneficial when looking into ways on how to improve on work performance.
For evaluations, you will be able to point to your organizational skills and the many benefits that they bring to the team and company.
4. Master the art of communication
It’s important to have your communication strategies well-defined when thinking of how to improve work performance. Being a good communicator will help you stand out. Making sure that your asynchronous communication is effective is key.
Avoid overwhelming coworkers and team members with a constant stream of information that they need to sort through. Make sure that messages, tasks and notes you create on the daily are well thought-out. They should provide the recipient with all of the information they need to make a decision, complete a task, provide feedback, or take the next step.
If you’re overwhelmed, delegating work can help take things off your plate. Knowing that a team member may be better at a task or type of work is a strength—use it. Delegating tasks can save you time and stress.
It also highlights your strength as a team player who puts your work first; what matters is that projects get done, not who does them.
5. Focus on strategies for improving performance
Cut out distractions. Working asynchronously can prime you for “deep work,” a term that Cal Newport uses to describe the ability to work intensely and without distraction. Instead of partially focusing on tasks, with deep work, you purposefully incorporate limited spurts of intense focus.
With asynchronous work, people are free to be more independent and effective. This makes it easier for you to maintain the deliberate focus that deep work requires. Knowing how to prioritize tasks and projects is a vital skill when looking into how to improve work performance.
Complete your most important work first, then move on to the second-most important thing on your to-do list. Prioritization demonstrates you can be counted on to get hard things done.Ask yourself if something is absolutely necessary.
Don’t waste your time on low-level priorities or things that aren’t essential. Those types of tasks or projects can be dealt with when you’re not busy.
6. Build a strong remote work culture
Work culture in remote work settings is crucial to team cohesion and collaboration. For example, if you start a new role with a new team, you may not interact with your team members in person very often.
Without the relationship that coworkers are used to building by sitting side-by-side or in offices, it can be difficult to know who to go to with questions or when you need help. That’s why intentionally building a good and supportive work culture is so critical for teams who work remotely.
Though it may be awkward initially, you will learn more about your team, develop relationships, and get a better sense for personalities and capabilities. This helps when looking for work performance improvements since you can ask coworkers for feedback or additional training.
Helping to build a stronger remote work culture can also demonstrate leadership skills and that you’re a team player. Volunteer to do more tasks and projects to demonstrate your go-getter attitude. Offer to start a series of virtual “coffee breaks” to catch up with your coworkers and stay in touch.
This will increase your visibility and your team members will know that they can count on you for help.
7. Maintain a healthy work/life balance
While it might seem logical to stay online for hours after everyone else logs off, or to log on when you’re sick, it’s not worth the cost to your mental health and well-being. Work-life balance is important because it enables you to recharge and enjoy your other priorities.
Without boundaries, it’s easy to burn out, which harms you in the long run. Not only is it bad for your health, but it can also negatively impact your performance at work. While you might feel like staying online longer is a sign of your dedication, it’s not sustainable.
Log off and spend time with friends, family, or your hobbies to keep your stress levels down. Set dedicated hours for working and stick to those. Prioritizing your projects and tasks can help you figure out what’s essential and what can be done later. Remember: Your personal life is important too.
8. Make sure you have the right tools
Rock is a project management tool with many features that can help boost your work performance. With tasks, notes, messages, files, and meetings in one place, Rock offers a multimodal tool that you can use anywhere.
It also structures your work to keep it streamlined and help you document important information. You can get all of the project management or work functionality your team needs without ever leaving Rock.
Rock is also an asynchronous work tool, making it a perfect fit for remote work. Here are some specific features that can help with improving your work performance metrics:
- Set Aside: keep messages, tasks, notes, files and topics close with a dedicated panel
- Board view in the Tasks mini-app: manage workloads and get a high-level overview of what needs to be done.
- My Tasks panel: get started on your to-do list sort tasks by priority level, due date, or label.
- Messaging and file sharing: mention folders and documents so everyone knows what you’re talking about.
- Google Drive integration: connect your files and folders for seamless sharing and communication with your team.
- Zoom integration: get together for virtual happy hours or meetings when really needed.
Rock empowers you to adapt to all of the changes that come with remote work. Easy-to-use communication features make it easy to stay in touch so you can stay updated on task and project changes.
Task management and documentation are all centralized in one place with Rock, making it easy for your work to be visible and accessible to your coworkers and team leaders. With the right tool and updated strategies you can improve your performance at work and prepare yourself for the future of work.