How Do the Best Biostatisticians Work Remotely the Best?

11 Tips to Boost Your Productivity When You Work from Home

Some biostatisticians thrive in the remote working environment. If you’re working from home and are finding it difficult to adjust and remain focused, or your job isn’t delivering the work/life balances your thought it would, these tips will help you achieve all the promise of working from home.

11 Work from Home Tips from the Experts

Here at SimulStat, we believe all members of our team deserve to be paid well and achieve the lifestyle they desire. As in any work environment, to get the most out of it you must learn how to make it work for you.

We wanted to learn how our best biostatisticians, statistics programmers, and data science professionals work best from home. So, we asked them. Here we share the 11 tips they have shared with us.

1.    Have a Designated Workspace

This was first on the list for almost all we asked. A designated workspace, preferably a home office, helps you separate your professional and personal lives. Make sure that you include all you need in it, including:

  • Your laptop/PC
  • A printer
  • Stationery
  • A good desk
  • A comfortable office chair

Of course, make sure that you have a good Wi-Fi connection. You may also benefit from having a music system – playing your favorite music in the background can help your focus.

2.    Minimize Disruptions

Talking about focus, you must minimize disruptions. Preferably, eliminate them completely. Make sure your family and friends understand that when you are in your office, you are working and not to be disturbed.

Disruptions and distractions also come from technology. The television. Social media. Email. Turn them all off! Let people know that you will review and reply to emails only at certain times of the day. Give your most important contacts your contact details to be used in emergencies.

3.    Find Your Productive Cycle

We all have a productive cycle, and each is unique. Learn what tasks you do best at what times of the day, and build your schedule around these times.

4.    Daily Schedule

Stick to a daily schedule, doing the work that you must do and the work you most enjoy doing in line with your productive cycle.

Don’t forget to take breaks. Many of our team develop their routines to incorporate natural breaks at the end of each task on their to-do list.

5.    Focus on Deliverables

Prioritize your tasks and focus on what must and can be delivered. Split longer tasks into smaller milestones, and focus on each milestone in turn.

6.    Automate Your Work

There is likely to be much of your work that can be automated. This may be by using existing functionality or developing your own automation system.

Use templates, and repeatable processes and code whenever possible.

7.    Backup Everything

At regular intervals throughout the day – when you are taking breaks, for example – and at a minimum at the end of the day, make it a habit to back up key programs and outputs. You should include a backup as part of your work process before updating any code. Losing work that you have completed is disheartening and time-consuming.

8.    Communicate Daily

Communicate with your manager at the end of each day. Keep them informed as to the progress you are making, the status of programming tasks you have been assigned, and your expectations for the following day.

9.    Stay in Touch with Your Team

Working remotely can be isolating if you allow it to be. It’s good practice to remain in touch with your team. If possible, arrange virtual coffees to replace the social aspect of working in an office together.

10. Contacts for Emergencies

Remember that other people may be working similarly to you. They may not be available to contact when you wish to. While respecting their way of working, there may be times when you must talk to them (and vice versa). Ask for emergency contact details, but use them sparingly.

Also, ensure you have contact details if you have a technical emergency – the contacts for your technical support team and your ISP’s helpdesk, for example.

11. Delineate Professional Life and Personal Life

Delineate between your professional life and your personal life. It is easy to do a little extra work, or return to a problem you are solving after dinner. Don’t. (Except, of course, on the rare occasion that the work is subject to a close deadline.)

Once your home office door is closed, let it stay closed until the next working day. The time you save because you no longer commute should be your time, not your employer’s.

Take Your Work/Life Balance to the Next Level

If you are considering working remotely as a biostatistician or statistical programmer, or already are but finding it isn’t delivering the work/life benefits you expected, get in touch with SimulStat. We’re serious about delivering assignments that match your skills and your lifestyle desires. We would be pleased to discuss how you could fit into the SimulStat team, and give you the opportunity to learn more about our services, clients, rates of pay, and benefits that we offer to our people.