This page contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and other affiliate partners. We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no additional cost to you.

Working from wherever can be an efficiency boon—until it isn’t. Eliminate remote work habits that drag, and you’ll unlock hours of potential.

Working remotely is a careful balance between flexibility and discipline. On the one hand, remote work offers the opportunity to address tasks on your own time, finding your approach to solving problems, while operating from non-corporate settings. On the other hand, managing that flexibility and ensuring that projects are completed on time with proper communication is a monumental task unto itself, one that often results in bad remote work habits.

Identifying and eliminating costly remote work habits is the first step you should take when streamlining your remote work routine. Here are some of the remote work habits to address in your (or your team’s) online business culture.

Remote Work Habits To Consider Ditching

1. Underusing Face-to-Face Communication

If you are working with others—whether that be business partners, designers, contractors, or consultants—you do not want to overlook the importance of face-to-face communication.

People like to text because it feels less intrusive: you don’t need to give up a task in order to see or respond to a direct message. While it can be useful to receive direct updates and reminders while continuing to work, this impulse might be unhealthy for your business’s communications. We receive so many messages that it’s easy to ignore and forget important information because we don’t stop what we’re doing and focus.

Regular video calls when assigning tasks, evaluating projects, or just checking in can ensure focus. Everyone in the conversation gets to talk about the big picture and hear all the important details without it being broken down into bite-sized messages which can be glanced at and forgotten. If you can, physically meeting face-to-face is even better.

2. Overdoing “Casual Friday”… and “Casual Monday”… and “Casual Tuesday”…

Some people really do work a lot better when they feel comfortable and casual. It can be great to work from home where you can take breaks to grab a snack, pet your dog, and water the plants. But it can also be easy to let the comfort of home overwhelm the need to get work done.

Move away from TVs, game consoles, and hobbies (your painting supplies, musical instruments, comic book collection…) to a bright, clean environment without distractions. Ideally it should have a door that you can close. Make this your work station: when you are here you are working. Sleeping, eating, socializing happens elsewhere.

Your home office doesn’t need to be a grey, boring cubicle, and you don’t need to wear a button-up and tie every day, but a professional atmosphere inspires the right headspace for work. Only bring in items and decorations that help you remain calm and focused, and that will help you develop productive remote work habits—stress balls, potted plants, and a water kettle with tea or coffee are great additions.

3. Not Saying “No…”

Working on your own time, in your own space, can feel liberating. You might feel a rush of excitement about the flexibility and independence that comes from working at home. Suddenly, you’re accepting all these tasks: a new blog post this week? Sure, it’ll only take an hour or so. Someone needs to update the filing system for shared documents? You’ve got three whole days to do it! Where is next month’s schedule for meeting with clients? You can… wait… where did the time go?

Others can’t usually see how busy you are when you’re working remotely. If you are doing good work, people will want to give you more, but you need to keep an eye on your schedule and availability. Sometimes you just have to say you cannot do something. Maybe you can do it with more time, or after you have finished some other tasks. Maybe you just cannot do it at all. It is okay to say “no” when you need to.

Overstretching yourself can ruin your schedule and lead to rushing projects. Other people will think that things are running and things are getting done, but there might be an invisible backlog that will slow everything down. Establish set hours and routines, make sure that your team knows when you are available. Transparency is key and it leads to better expectations from everyone as you all build efficient remote work habits. 

Take A Step Back, Build Remote Work Habits Intentionally

Practice makes permanent: the more you repeat bad remote work habits, the harder it becomes to change them. When a bad habit feels second nature, you may not even recognize the trouble that it is causing. If you recognize yourself over-relying on texts, using a distracting workspace, or taking on too many projects, you should reprioritize.

Stay focused, professional, and positive with our tips and tricks when working remotely.

Are you looking for tools to level up your own company? Check out all the resources that we offer. If you’d rather chat with us directly, schedule a consulting call!