How to Stay Focused at Work When You’re the Only Remote Worker

a woman on a laptop listening in on a meeting.


Sara London for Hive
Sara London for Hive
July 19, 2024 at 8:50AM UTC
As hybrid schedules are implemented more, and some teammates are back in the office full time, maybe you’re slowly becoming the only remote worker on your team. When you’re all alone, without the setting of your workplace and the interactions between your coworkers, you might need some help concentrating. Read on to learn some ways to learn how to stay focused at work when you’re the only one working from home and how Hive tools can keep you and your teammates engaged.

Utilize your solo time

Sometimes, it might feel like the negative parts of being the only remote worker on a team can outshine the positive. Between waiting for responses that could have been quick conversations or watching your teammates bond while you’re miles away, you might feel isolated or lonely. But all it takes is a mindset change to feel more comfortable being alone, and whether you’ve been taking advantage of it or not, a solitary work environment can make way for deep focus.
Though you might face other interruptions, such as partners, pets, or children, working from home can be the best place to learn how to stay focused at work without distractions. While you might not have the ability to drop by someone’s desk, you also don’t have anyone dropping by your desk, interrupting your workflow. Getting into a focus zone means you can produce better outputs, manage your tasks more efficiently, and improve your time management skills. You might even finish your work before everyone else – recent remote work productivity reports are proving this correlation between working from home and improved productivity.

Share your experience

Next, if you want to know how to stay focused at work, you’ve got to learn how to communicate with your coworkers. As they all might know what it’s like to work from home, they might have their own feelings about losing focus in the remote work setting. But rather than letting your coworkers assume that you’re zoned out because you’re working in your pajamas just like they did, you need to share your experience and work through your focus issues together.
First, be honest with your coworkers about your experience working remotely. Tell them why you’re feeling less focused than usual, including issues with communication or feedback. Then, use their ingenuity to brainstorm solutions. With their help and motivation, you can feel like you’re back in the fold – all you’ve got to do is be candid with them.
Maybe your lack of focus is due to a lack of communication (especially if they’re holding in-person meetings that you’re unable to attend). Or even if you’re attending the meeting, you’re not getting all of the required information you need to follow up thoroughly. Either way, Hive’s customizable meeting notes can provide detailed information about following up on action items – whether you’re at the meeting or not. Just get an in-person coworker to share meeting notes with you, and you’ll have everything you need to stay focused.

Include yourself

Another issue that all past and present remote workers are aware of is the lack of natural socialization. A lack of interpersonal connection can sometimes foster complicated emotions that prevent you from fully engaging in your work – studies report that having friends at work can ultimately make you more productive. And if you’re the only remote worker, your colleagues might be spontaneously going out for drinks on a weeknight or having a group lunch, leaving you the odd one out.
You don’t have to miss out on spontaneous moments of connection just because you’re not in-person, and there are plenty of creative ways to make authentic, creative moments of innovation occur unexpectedly. Try getting to virtual meetings a bit early and have at least one team member meet you there for a quick catch-up chat. You can also organize your own virtual watercooler time or arrange a weekly team newsletter.
If you’re looking beyond the virtual world to plan something big, like a team-wide retreat, party, fundraiser, or business trip, you can be rest assured that Hive doesn’t just help you organize your projects – it can help you plan events for you and your team as well. Even if you’re doing something as simple as booking dinner reservations, you don’t want simple tasks to get lost in the fray, and it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate.

Do things differently

Finally, the trick to figuring out how to stay focused at work is making your team’s work style for you. There might be conventional ways that teams within your company conduct business, like morning stand-ups, using specific channels to discuss different elements of a project, or socializing at particular times. But when you’re a hybrid team, and you’re the only remote worker, you might find that these more conventional ways of establishing a workflow aren’t conducive to your team’s productivity.
You don’t have to fit into any productivity mold if it isn’t producing outputs that make you proud of your efforts. Approaching work with a new perspective can always be helpful, and if you’re feeling stuck and unfocused, ask your team: are we doing things as proficiently as possible? Are we spending the right amount of time on worthwhile tasks and prioritizing well? Are we connecting and growing our relationships with each other in the best way for us?
This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at

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