Raise your #RemoteWorking game with Juliet Funt

I’ve worked remotely for Hyland for 14 years. I love it. I only have to wear a shirt during meetings.

When the big shift to remote working came this spring, I remember someone saying, “Hey, you should write a blog post and share best practices for working remotely.”

I said yes, but it would be a very short blog post. In fact, it was four words:

Get your work done.

Funny? Kind of. Informative? Nope.

So, we decided not to run it.

But now that we just had an expert deliver an awesome keynote at CommunityLIVE, we can share some great tips for working remotely. Juliet Funt is a CEO, global keynote speaker, and Fortune 500 advisor who specializes in unburdening talent from low-value busywork and unleashing its full potential.

Funt’s approach is to utilize strategic pausing and thinking time – what she considers essential for high performance. She even goes so far as to call herself a warrior against modern workplace busyness that saps our creativity, productivity, and engagement.

Liberate talent to work more efficiently

If you don’t give yourself free time, you creativity and stamina can suffer, Funt says. Making matters worse, you don’t have the time to creatively strategize.

Working with both large and small organizations as they have ramped up remote working, Funt and her team found these shocking statistics:

  • 58 percent of employees had never worked from home before
  • 52 percent felt the ambiguity of the current situation was limiting their ability to focus on work
  • Only 31 percent were clear on what they were even supposed to do

But there’s a bigger issue: The transition was the problem. Teams were forced to quickly adapt, so they cobbled together functional ways of working.

But functional and optimized are two incredibly different things, says Funt. So let’s address that.

A #RemoteWorking framework


Over the years, Funt and her team have developed productivity tools that give you a repeatable, dependable framework for work-from-home efficiency. They’re part of a bigger strategy that she reveals in her keynote speech at CommunityLIVE, which you can view here.

The productivity tools include:

  • The paper anchor

Leave a pad of paper next to your computer where you list the three to five most critical tasks you need to do that day. Paper is direct and clear.

And, if you’re like my wife, there’s nothing more satisfying than physically checking off a task. Donezo!

  • Visual groove

Many of us don’t have dedicated work-from-home space. Meanwhile, when people do start returning to offices, they might be doing a hybrid style for a while – working from both home and the office.

To adjust successfully, Funt’s advice is to create a visual groove as part of your setup: A semi-circle of the same visual cues that you pack up and bring wherever you go, telling your brain “it’s time to work.”

  • The wedge

To successfully manage your day, imagine wedges of open time that you insert in between all the business. As you use this tool, it calms your body and maintains your stamina.

Knowing that you control your breaks also allows you to maintain more consistent energy.

  • The email diet

The most powerful people control when they touch email, says Funt. Many do so by creating a schedule.

A schedule helps you gain control over your inbox. For example, if your job allows you to do so, only check it at the top of the hour.

Funt’s team also likes a concept they call the email diet, where you only check email in the same intervals you feed your body. Prescribed, intentional use of email and all the other applications you rely on every day gives you the time to open up those wedges and get deeper work done.

  • A home “office” whiteboard

If you have younger children, the current work-from-home situation can be incredibly challenging. Funt advises to have direct conversations with your supervisors on how to navigate the situation in a successful, yet realistic sense.

However, if your children are older, they might understand a whiteboard boundary that sits between you and them. Teach them that for needs that aren’t emergencies, write those needs or wants on the whiteboard. Then, when you’re taking a break, you can address them.

This gives you control over your day.

Work smarter

I love working from home, but maybe that’s because I’m a writer and editor. I actually need isolation to do my job.

But I understand the pressure that goes along with working remotely. Way back when I started working from home for Hyland in 2006 – no, I didn’t have more hair then – we didn’t have that many remote employees. So I made a promise to myself that I would strive to be the most productive member on my team.

But you need to know when to say when. For example, I walk away from my computer almost hourly. True, half the time it’s because a dog is freaking out about a squirrel being within a mile of our house, but you get the point.

It’s a real issue. As Funt mentions, 45 percent of workers are already burned out – and now the average workday has grown three hours longer, according to Bloomberg.

So, like the old saying goes: Don’t work harder, work smarter. And using the tools above is a great way to do your job to the best of your ability, while still maintaining your sanity. Which is a good thing.

To watch Funt’s full speech, or access any of the recorded sessions, go to CommunityLIVE.com.

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien is a former radio station mascot. A rabbit, if you really want to know. These days, he’s a content marketing manager at Hyland, as well as the editor... read more about: Scoop Skupien

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