11 Ways To Improve Your Accountability When You’re Working From Home
Accountability is the practice of taking responsibility for your actions and is a key part of professional development. In a remote work model, accountability might shift from managers to employees, who often complete their tasks independently while working from home. If you work from home, learning how to hold yourself accountable can improve your work performance and your professional satisfaction. In this article, we discuss the importance of remote work accountability and provide 11 strategies to improve your accountability when you're working from home.
Related: How To Work From Home Effectively
Why is it important to be accountable for your work when working remotely?
Remote work accountability is important because it can help you to accomplish key tasks while working from home. Here are some ways being accountable can benefit your career:
Meeting deadlines: Developing techniques to keep yourself accountable can help you manage your time, ensuring you complete your tasks before their deadlines.
Improving workplace relationships: If you collaborate on projects with colleagues, being accountable can make you a desirable teammate who contributes to projects.
Advancing your career: Accountability is a key leadership quality, so showing your manager that you hold yourself accountable for producing quality work can improve your chances of promotion.
Increasing job satisfaction: Holding yourself accountable for your work can help you manage your time and maintain a healthy balance between your career and personal life, which can help you enjoy your job.
11 strategies for accountability when working from home
Here are 11 ways you can increase your accountability while you're working from home:
1. Develop professional goals
Setting goals for yourself can improve your accountability by giving you a path to advancement, which can motivate you to complete your work tasks efficiently and effectively. These goals can involve building new skills, advancing to a higher position within the organization or completing a challenging project. Some of your goals might take a week or month, while others might take longer, and you can combine goals with different durations to keep yourself motivated. For example, you might plan to earn a new certification within a month and then move to a leadership role within a year.
Related: How To Set and Achieve Goals
2. Create a dedicated space for work
Creating a home office space can help your work accountability by giving you a place to focus just on your work tasks. You might convert a spare bedroom into an office or set up a table in the kitchen or living room, depending on your home space. To ensure you're able to focus on your tasks, consider posting a sign during your work hours to tell your family or roommates that you're working. That way, you can recreate the atmosphere of a business office, which might help increase your work speed and quality.
3. Establish a daily routine
A routine can help you keep track of your daily responsibilities and focus your energy on work tasks. By establishing a schedule where you work on certain tasks at a specific time, you can take responsibility of your work and manage your time efficiently. Consider establishing a routine by waking up at the same time every day and spending some time journaling or reflecting on your goals before starting your work. You might also schedule a daily morning social call with your team or other colleagues, which can help you build rewarding work relationships.
4. Use tools to help you focus
There are a wide range of digital tools that you can use to increase your focus, which can help you improve your accountability. For example, you might use a browser plug in that blocks access to certain websites during the work hours, which can ensure you stay focused on your tasks during the workday. You might also use a stopwatch or timer to set aside time for independent work, like filing forms or creating reports. Consider asking coworkers or your manager for recommendations for accountability tools.
5. Make lists of assignments or tasks
One key way to improve your accountability is to create a daily list of your duties and mark them as completed when you finish them. You can use a notepad or a spreadsheet to create a basic list of tasks or explore a web-based task management platform. Keeping track of your productivity can ensure you remember your key responsibilities and help you feel satisfied at the amount you've been able to achieve during the day. You can also use the list to reflect on challenges or opportunities each task presents, which can help you establish professional goals.
6. Find an accountability partner
If you work in a remote organization, you might connect with a coworker and form an accountability partnership. Accountability partners ask each other about their progress on a daily or weekly basis and discuss ways to improve their work performance. They might also add their partners' deadlines to their calendar and send reminders about key tasks. Having an accountability partner can help you stay focused and allow you to develop a bond with another remote professional, which might increase your job satisfaction.
7. Use a calendar
An online calendar can help you manage your time and ensure that you complete your daily duties. You can use a calendar to remind yourself of meetings and deadlines, but you can also use it to plan your daily work tasks. For example, if you decide to spend the first hour of the day reading daily reports and responding to emails, you can add a recurring calendar appointment to complete those tasks. That way, you can receive email or text reminders that direct you to your task.
8. Celebrate achievements
A key part of accountability involves recognizing yourself for your successes, which can encourage you to continue improving your skills. When you're working from home, you can establish a rewards system to motivate yourself to complete tasks early, volunteer for leadership opportunities and develop new skills. For example, if you create a successful presentation or finish coding a large project early, you might reward yourself with a treat or an extra break to celebrate your achievement. Consider including your coworkers in your rewards system so you can support and encourage each other.
9. Take scheduled breaks
You might take several breaks during the day to take a walk, eat a meal or a snack or interact with family members or pets. By taking regular breaks, you can maintain your motivation to complete your work tasks. Scheduling the breaks can help you ensure that you have time to finish your work duties and can allow you to establish your daily routine. If you put your breaks into your work calendar, you can receive notifications reminding you to move away from your workspace for a few minutes.
10. Use chat programs strategically
Many remote organizations use online chat platforms or apps to allow coworkers to communicate with each other. If you use one of these tools, explore its functions to optimize your focus during key work periods. Some chat programs allow you to set yourself as busy or to pause notifications, which you might do to allow yourself time to work on independent tasks. You might also set a status on your chat profile that tells your coworkers that you're busy, but that you can respond to emails, which can allow you to respond to important work questions while staying focused.
11. Communicate with your manager
One way to keep yourself accountable is to send your manager daily or weekly updates of your progress and goals. Some remote organizations use work management platforms or intranet systems to monitor productivity, but you can also send your manager an email or chat message detailing what you've completed and what you plan to work on in the future. If you have regular meetings with your manager, you can use your reports as a guide during your meetings to help your professional development. Showing your manager how much you've accomplished might help you earn a promotion or other advantage.
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