Working remotely lately? It’s a lifestyle that may be with us for a while. 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.
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.
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.
Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you'll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.