Top Tips for Working Remotely

Top Tips for Working Remotely

Working from home has been around for a long time, but it gained significant momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, remote work was mainly limited to certain professions, such as freelancers, writers, and artists. However, with the advent of technology, more and more jobs have become remote-friendly, allowing people to work from home, or anywhere else they choose. 

The growth of the internet and the proliferation of smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices have made working from home more accessible and popular than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the trend, as many companies were forced to adopt remote work policies to comply with social distancing guidelines and keep their employees safe. 

Tips for Working Remotely 

Working remotely is a lifestyle that may be with us for good. If you haven’t really found your rhythm yet, or are just getting started, here are some top tips for working remotely to remain happy, healthy, and productive. 

Have a Dedicated Work Space 

It’s hard to keep your work life separate from your personal life when they all happen in the same place. It can be tempting to just bring the laptop into bed with you, but it doesn’t create the separation you need. If you’re lucky enough to have a house with a spare room, set it up as an office and work from there.  

If you’re in a smaller space, set aside a seat at the dining room table or a corner of the living room with a portable desk, and make it your office. 

Establish Clear Boundaries with the People at Home 

When sharing your workspace with other people, such as children learning at home or individuals who live with you, it's important to establish clear ground rules.  

These rules should outline what is and isn't acceptable during your working hours to minimize distractions. For example, if you have children at home, set rules and expectations for their behavior and activities during your work hours to ensure they understand what is and isn't allowed. 

When sharing a workspace with another adult who is also at home, it's important to have open communication and negotiate arrangements for quiet times, meeting schedules, and shared equipment like desks and chairs. Being aware of each other's schedules and meetings can help you plan and prepare accordingly. For instance, you may need to grab a pair of socks from the bedroom before the other person enters and closes the door for a meeting. 

Take a Shower and Get Dressed 

This may sound silly, but it’s easy to get into the habit of rolling out of bed and getting to work. Taking the time to jump in the shower in the morning – just as if you were going to be around people! – can make you feel energized. And we’re not saying you need to put on a suit, but at least put on your “work sweats” instead of your pajamas, and maybe a nice shirt for those inevitable Zoom calls. 

Take Breaks and Get Some Air 

It can be too easy to spend the day at the computer without coming up for air when you don’t have coworkers asking you to go for lunch or stopping by to distract you. Take some time in the middle of the day to get up, walk around, and refresh yourself. Your work will be better for it. 

Set Office Hours 

They don’t need to be 9 to 5, but it’s important to have a cut-off point. Stop working when your workday is over, or you risk burning out. 

In an office setting, the morning commute can help individuals wake up and feel prepared to start working by the time they reach their desk. However, when working from home, the shift from waking up to immediately starting work can be more abrupt and challenging. 

When working from home, it's common for individuals to lose track of time and unknowingly work long hours, sometimes up to 12 hours a day. Remote workers are more prone to working extended hours than those in traditional office settings. To prevent this, it's crucial to have a reliable method of tracking time. Consider using a timer, your smartphone's alarm, or a wall clock, to keep yourself accountable and maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

Ask for Company Technology Support  

If your employer is supportive of your work-from-home arrangement, it's advisable to request the necessary equipment as early as possible, either upon starting to work from home or soon after realizing that you require additional tools to work efficiently. 

Not only can you request equipment or any hardware, but you may also ask for support from your company in terms of IT security and other necessary access to comply with the company’s standard security policies. The majority of the company nowadays are working with managed service providers to provide the necessary support for the business and their remote workforce as well.  

Take Care of Your Health 

It's very crucial to prioritize your health and take time off when you're unwell. If your compensation package includes sick days, don't hesitate to use them as needed. Failing to do so is the same as wasting money! 

For self-employed individuals who don't receive paid sick leave, it's easy to feel compelled to work through sickness. However, it's important to keep in mind that resting and recuperating is critical for your long-term well-being and productivity. By taking the time to recover fully, you'll be able to return to work at full capacity. 

Don’t Be Overly Critical of Yourself or Others 

Remote workers are often viewed as highly disciplined, given that performing a full-time job from an unconventional location requires a lot of concentration.  

Nevertheless, it's common for everyone to get distracted now and then. If you catch yourself working one moment and looking up vacation rentals the next, don't be too hard on yourself. Consider if office workers do the same thing and give yourself some leeway before refocusing on work. Remember, it's vital to balance productivity with self-care to avoid burning out. 

Final Thoughts 

It's crucial to identify what works best for you above anything else. You might find these tips suitable for you right away, or you may need inspiration from fellow remote workers who are in the same situation. It's worth noting that a supportive community is out there.  

One of the benefits of working remotely is the chance to interact with a diverse group of individuals beyond your colleagues. Take advantage of this opportunity to form connections with your family and community, which may not have been feasible or as frequent when you had to commute or work on-site. Additionally, keep in mind that you might need to modify your routine periodically to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

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