written by
Dayana Mayfield

23 Remote Work Productivity Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

Knowledge 10 min read, April 30, 2020

Do you surround yourself with the color yellow? Do you keep eye masks in your freezer? Is taking out the trash your reward? If not, then you probably haven’t spent as much time delving into the world of remote work productivity hacks as you think you have.

Sure, there are tips and hacks we’ve all heard before. But we guarantee you haven’t tried most of these.

Remote work productivity hacks visual

We interviewed remote workers from a variety of roles and industries to discover their habits that are:

  • Unusual
  • Odd
  • Oddly meaningful 😉

23 remote work productivity hacks

Let’s dive into these remote work productivity hacks!

  1. Hit pause with a frozen eye mask
  2. Do the dishes when you get stuck
  3. Work in a chilly environment
  4. Virtually cowork with a random buddy
  5. Pack food for the whole day in the morning
  6. Give back and help others impacted by COVID-19
  7. Dress up a bit
  8. Have a “get into work” ritual
  9. Cowork in corporate or public virtual rooms
  10. Reward yourself with something out of the ordinary
  11. Don’t let mindless scrolling count as a break
  12. Move around after each task
  13. Freshen up your work space with lively colors
  14. End meetings early to get some exercise together
  15. Stock healthy snacks like the best offices do
  16. Recreate coffee shop and office background noises
  17. Optimize your schedule around real data
  18. Plan your day’s work schedule during breakfast
  19. Social distance from your phone
  20. Get enough sleep
  21. Self-evaluate goals and priorities as a team
  22. Set up a dedicated workspace
  23. Experiment with your schedule

1. Hit pause with a frozen eye mask

“Put your headphones in and play the most relaxing song in the world. (For me, Weightless by Marconi Union is my go-to tune.) To maximize my rest, I position my swivel chair all the way back to a sleeping position while wearing an eye mask fresh from the freezer. I swear my productivity levels rise back again when I resume work.” - Jared Ebrahimoff, Founder and COO of Lavari Jewelers

2. Do the dishes when you get stuck 🍽️

“Whenever you are hitting a wall on trying to brainstorm ideas or solve a certain problem, turn to simple, undemanding, household chores like washing dishes. That's because studies have shown that engaging in undemanding tasks significantly boosts performance and creative problem-solving when compared to switching to a different demanding task or taking a break. While your brain is mildly focused on the undemanding task, your mind wanders and expands up its problem-solving capacity.” - Nick Rizzo, Fitness Research Director at RunRepeat

3. Work in a chilly environment 🥶

I use the Pomodoro technique with a twist. I turn the temperature down on the thermostat so its chilly. Then I work flat out for 25 mins, then reward myself with a break by turning the thermostat up and enjoying a warm cup of tea.” - Charlotte Nichols, Writer at HaroHelpers

4. Virtually co-work with a random buddy

I use Focusmate to stay productive. It’s a random virtual accountability buddy. You schedule a day and time, and then at that time you login, turn on your camera and tell the other person what you'll be working on for the next 50 minutes and they do the same thing, then you mute yourself. For me, knowing that someone will be waiting for me has increased my productivity 10 fold. I use it to do tasks I've been putting off at work or even to workout. Over the past 4 years that I've been working remotely this has been one of the best tools.” - Lorena Tomasini, Owner of MALM Life and Health Insurance Agency

5. Pack food for the whole day in the morning 🍱

I pack lunch and snacks for the whole day in the morning even when I am working from home. Not many people talk about the time that's wasted in preparing lunch during lunchtime. To save that time, I take my lunchbox with me into my room where I have set up my workstation. This makes me feel as if I'm still working in the office.” - William Taylor, CareerDevelopment Manager at VelvetJobs

6. Give back and help others impacted by COVID-19

To show solidarity where all our coworkers and customers worked, we launched a COVID-19 support campaign which started off with an idea to donate 15K/masks or PPE's weekly to hospitals in their respective countries of USA, UK, AUS, Romania, Canada, Phillipines. Due to an overwhelming response from our customers we can happily say we have increased this goal to 150k/masks a week. This promo of giving back and literally giving to the countries where our employees and clients are from have produced tremendous results in our team’s mindset and motivation levels.” - Ronnie Teja, Founder of Softwarekeep
Remote work productivity hacks: covid-19 support campaign

7. Dress up a bit 👗

“I don’t think we have to dress up in full formal office attire, but something comfy that you’re willing to wear outside of the house will do.” - Kryz Uy, Blogger and YouTuber

8. Have a “get into work” ritual

Create a ritual that helps you get ready to start your remote work. Some remote workers I know clean their area first as a ritual. I like to do 30 minutes of cardio. Think of your own ritual that works for you.” - Anh Trinh, Managing Editor of GeekWithLaptop

9. Co-work in corporate or public virtual rooms

Working in a cave helps remote workers stay accountable. I cofounded Caveday three years ago with the intention of bringing people together to work in a super-focused and still socially connected environments. We run two to three deep focus sessions daily. These ‘caves’ last three and a half hours each. We're seeing 50 or more people in each one. Attendees report that the focused environment helps them get twice as much work done or more.” - Jake Kahana, founder of Caveday
Caveday

10. Reward yourself with something out of the ordinary 🏆

Give yourself deadlines with unusual rewards. I have to finish answering these emails till noon, and then I'll go and take out the trash. If you’re feeling anxious, dance it off. Consider it a break you could never have in the office.” - Tihana Drumev, Senior Content Marketing Executive at Best Response Media

11. Don’t let mindless scrolling count as a break

Nope, scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or Twitter doesn’t constitute a break. Steer clear from any screens during your break and grab some fresh air. This time can be spent talking to a friend, entertaining one of your children, or playing with your pet. You’ll be far more productive if you get up from your desk from time to time throughout the day.” - Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN

12. Move around after each task 🤸‍♂️

My favorite productivity hack is that I physically move after I complete each task. Moving myself around refreshes my body and my mind ready to come back to the next part of the task. This might just be walking around the flat, making a coffee or just stretching it out but it makes all the difference.” - Rebecca Crowe, Content Executive at Diskette

13. Freshen up your work space with lively colors

I love to fill my work station with greenery. It just gives me a fresh feeling looking at plants and it’s great to have a bit higher oxygen content in the room. I also use a yellow color theme for my desktop and yellow sticky notes. I once read in a book that the collor yellow boosts concentration, and I believe that it works.” - Pranay Anumula, Product Marketer at Keka

14. End meetings early to get some exercise together

“We started a new policy on our team, where all our virtual meetings end five minutes early, and team members are encouraged to take up to five minutes to do jumping jacks, pushups, or other physical activity. We found that it helps mix up the day, keep energy levels up, and clear your mind, all helping with productivity. Best of all, it's healthy too. - Neal Taparia, Founder of Solitaired

15. Stock healthy snacks like the best offices do 🍉

“One of my favorite remote work productivity hacks is this: keep healthy snacks close to your workspace at all times. Many offices around the world offer fresh fruit every day for their employees which is a great and underrated perk. You should do this for yourself. There’s nothing more distracting than hunger! You may need to buy a mixture of fresh fruit and healthy non-perishable foods to reduce your shopping trips during lockdown.” - Adam Lumb, Site Manager at Cashcow

16. Recreate coffee shop and office background noises

“I’m used to the hustle and bustle of a busy office. When I started my own company, I replicated this by working in coffee shops and co-working spaces. However, with the lockdown, this is impossible. My first few days were unproductive until I found Noisli. You can use this app to replicate background noises. I found a coffee shop version to help me focus and work better in a more natural habitat for me.” - Brett Downes, Founder and CEO of HaroHelpers

17. Optimize your schedule around real data ⏲️

One of the best remote work productivity hacks that I’ve come up with is to track my personal time meticulously for just one week. Every single action, whether it’s writing emails, creating marketing campaigns, drafting content, preparing presentations for external partners, hiring, etc. Every task that I do, I track my time for it. That way, I have a great idea on where my time goes after one week. Next week, I will organize my schedule according to my findings. The things that take too much time are either eliminated or restructured. I place the most time-consuming and most difficult tasks early on in the day so that the rest of my day is more productive.” - Malte Scholz, Co-founder and CEO of Airfocus

18. Plan your day’s work schedule during breakfast

“Start your day with your favorite breakfast. Having that feel-good breakfast will give you positive vibes right from the start. As you eat, create a work plan that includes quality breaks and a finish time.” - Dustin Vann, CEO of Trusy Social

19. Social distance from your phone 📵

“If you need to concentrate on a getting a specific project done, turn off your phone’s notifications and charge it in another room for an hour. You’ll be less distracted by non-work stuff like breaking news alerts and texts from your friends. This will give you time to hammer down and get the project done!” - Joe Szynkowski, Owner and Chief Writer at The UpWrite Group

20. Get enough sleep

“As a sleep coach with a remote team, it alarms me that not a lot of people truly value the importance of sleep in fighting against the coronavirus. This ‘hack’ not only strengthens one’s immune system but it also boosts one’s emotional and mental health and fights off anxiety and depression-two common problems brought by isolation and lack of social interaction brought by social distancing.” - Liz Brown, founder of Sleeping Lucid

21. Self-evaluate goals and priorities as a team 🥅

“Each day, my co-workers and I share three things we have to get done that day to feel that we have been successful: one thing for work, one thing for family, and one thing for ourselves.  We also have weekly video staff meetings. We start each meeting with what we did well in the past week, what we are excited about for the organization, what we could do better, what is stressing us out, and what our plan of action is. Take personal responsibility, get context for everyone's workload, and see opportunities to support.” - Beth Miller, Executive Director, Creative Education Foundation

22. Set up a dedicated workspace

Don’t put your laptop and papers on your kitchen table. Set up a place designated ONLY for work, and nothing else. No kids allowed, no eating at your work area, no watching YouTube there, etc. Having that firm physical barrier will get you in the right mindset when you sit down, and help with that work/life separation since the boundaries can start to get fuzzy when you're working from home.” - Nick Flint, CEO of Pure Cut Supplements

23. Experiment with your schedule 🧪

Use this 'work from home' scenario to try something new. Don’t be afraid to start earlier or work later, as long as you are there for essential meetings, if you get a surge to work at 6am, go for it! It may help increase productivity and motivation, especially during this time. We have to work with ourselves and our environment, so do what is best for you.” - Ethan Taub, CEO of Goalry

Make sure to try these remote work productivity hacks and let us know your personal favorites!

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