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4 Zen Principles to Boost Productivity While Working Remotely


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3 min read

Today is an era of nonstop potential distractions from people and inanimate objects alike, all vying for your attention. Combine this with the potential disruptions inherent in a remote work environment, and one might decide getting any peace is for the birds.

While it’s nice to think we can easily ignore these disruptions, the reality is, well, not so much. Research shows that multitasking has a variety of negative effects, from losing up to 40% of productive time, to a shortened attention span, and increased anxiety and depression. And yet almost everyone spends his or her day online, with multiple windows and apps open simultaneously, to theoretically get work done as efficiently and swiftly as possible.

So what’s an overwhelmed person to do—not just in your personal life, but also professionally, where your job performance depends on it?

Do more with less stress by finding the Zen in your work. Organize, streamline, and cut down on your communication clutter to not only increase your productivity, but also to attain peace of mind for the ultimate workday yin-yang.

Here’s how to integrate the wisdom of Zen masters into your everyday remote work environment:

1. Be present.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

The main reason that multitasking feels so overwhelming is because it’s inherently fragmented. Bouncing from email to text to phone calls to video chat entails opening up new apps or programs or picking up a phone—the work of switching between apps is constant. Worse, once you get to where you think you’ll find what you need, you realize that you don’t clearly recall which thread, exchange, or shared file has what you’re looking for in the first place.

A unified communications platform brings everything you need—team messaging, video meetings, voice—together under one virtual roof. All you have to do is open up one program, and from there, your core communication and productivity tools are at your fingertips, including individual or group messaging, file sharing, document storage, team calendar, audio or video meetings, task management, and more. Without having to think about where things are, you have a greater capacity to be in the moment and focus on the tasks at hand.

2. Streamline your workflow.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ~ Thích Nhat Hanh

In order to get work done, we all have to collaborate with coworkers, colleagues, and customers. Clarity paves the way to a much smoother workflow, so effective project management, where tasks and responsibility are assigned, milestones are defined, and deadlines are set, is crucial. And easily searchable conversation threads, a central location for all work files and folders, and a daily calendar allows you to work seamlessly in concert with your coworkers.

3. Communicate clearly and often.

“If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.” ~ B. D. Schiers

There are times when we all hit walls in our work; from creative blocks to a seemingly endless to-do list, we all have moments when we feel stuck and demoralized. For remote workers in particular, a sense of disconnection and feeling alone in facing challenges can easily happen.

This is where persistent conversation can be enormously helpful. A simple message to check in with team members can be very reassuring. When facing a bigger issue, a quick video meeting can help clarify any misunderstandings and reinforce bonds.

4. Connect with coworkers.

“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Once you have your digital communication and teamwork house in order, the fun begins. When working remotely, team messaging and video meetings can bring you closer to your coworkers as you collaborate, both in the moment and in a more personal way. Today’s hieroglyphics—emojis—do a great job, often humorously, conveying sentiment, and of course there’s nothing like a meme or a gif to add levity to any situation.

Considering that work is the sum total of your days, it follows that finding the Zen in your daily professional endeavors is not at all frivolous: in fact, it’s essential. When you ditch the digital distractions and simplify connecting with your fellow team members, you’ll find that you become more prolific, effective, and peaceful.

You need the right tools to Zen out and be productive as a remote worker. Learn more about how RingCentral makes collaboration effortless through every channel by combining the three pillars of communication—voice, video, and team messaging—into one seamlessly integrated platform that also includes contact center.

Originally published Mar 14, 2020, updated Jan 30, 2023

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