The coronavirus has forced employees from many companies and organizations to work remotely. If you’ve never worked from home before, it can be extremely challenging, due mainly to the direct correlation of environment on performance and productivity.

Main goal in remote routines: Normalize an abnormal situation as much as possible.

I’ve been working from home for 10+ years, starting as a remote Regional Account Manager and now as an author, speaker and coach. I always pay close attention to what allows me to be more productive and here are my top four tips to follow if you want to enhance your own productivity while working remotely:

1. Dress for Success

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you cannot be maximally productive in a hoodie and Zubaz. Actually, I don’t own Zubaz, but you get the point…

Whatever you wear to the office, continue wearing it. Even if your physical location has changed, wearing something that your brain associates with a given role or pattern of behavior will help your productivity.

The most important article of clothing to wear at home? Shoes. It sounds strange, but unless you walk around the office in your socks, it’s amazing what putting on a pair of shoes can do for your mindset.

2. Create Boundaries in Your Spaces

Where will you be working? If you have a home office, the answer is obvious. If you don’t, decide where you’ll be working. This should be as clear as a certain chair at a table that you will only sit in when you’re working.

Then, discipline yourself to only do work in this location. When you’re in your work space, do work.

Don’t work in bed. That’s where you sleep.

Don’t work on the couch. That’s where you watch TV.

Don’t work in the kitchen. That’s where you cook.

If you have a family, this can also be used to define boundaries for your kids: “When Mom / Dad are in this spot, please try not to interrupt because we are working.”

I understand many of us have been thrust into unique situations and this will not be perfect, but it is a great way to maximize your productivity by being intentionally “on” in a certain location and “off” in others. Your family will likely appreciate it, too.

3. Set Your Schedule

What is your work schedule? Do whatever possible to start AND stop at the same times as you normally would if you were in the office. Once again, we’re trying to keep everything as “normal” as possible during this time.

One other important point – if you have a routine of a mid-morning coffee break or lunch with coworkers, keep it. No, I’m not talking about physically getting together with them, but have a “virtual” lunch or coffee. Not only will this help with normalcy but it will also provide a social component in this time of increased isolation.

4. Have Structured Communication

When in doubt, a good rule of thumb for working remotely is to over-communicate with people. Because you don’t have the luxury of going to see someone face-to-face in the office, if you think a person needs to know something, chances are they do.

Especially if you’re a leader or a manager, also state clearly when you’ll check in with your team. Morning huddle? End of day recap? Let them know what the expectations are for communication and how you’ll do it (call, Zoom, etc.). It’ll help make your time more efficient and effective.

These routines might not seem earth-shattering but I promise they’ll move the needle in your daily productivity.

Wishing you all the best in your Outperforming remote routines – enjoy the time at home!