While you might imagine working from your bed in your pajamas with music playing and food cooking can only be easy, working remotely has a whole other roster of obstacles set apart from commuting to work, time-wasting activities in the office, and having a dress code. It actually requires you to strengthen specific skills and establish certain rules if you want to keep up productivity and properly separate work from personal life.
As more and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely, click through this gallery to learn how to best make use of the opportunity, and you’ll find that these skills are highly transferable!
Have a morning routine
When you first start remote working, it's exciting not to have to get dressed up in business attire, do your beauty routine, and start your journey to the office, but these are things that helped you wake up.
Without a routine of some sort, it can be harder for you to get started, so get out of your pajamas, take a shower, or go for a walk around the block or to the nearest café.
Dedicate a separate space for work
It could be an entire room or just a corner, but make sure it's fitted with the tools and technology you need, as well as a comfortable seat. This space will be a cue to your family about when they shouldn't distract you.
Working in a specific space also sends a physical cue to your body to focus, and physically separating work from your regular life helps avoid burnout.
Prioritize clear communication
Because you can’t just swing by a coworker’s desk to ask or answer questions, include all relevant details when emailing and messaging coworkers.
Be intentional and specific with your communication, as teamwork may be more difficult when you're not all in the same room.
Develop a sense of structure
While the loosened structure of working remotely is a huge draw for people, it can also be a huge obstacle once you're sitting on your couch and losing focus.
Without a standard office environment, you have to create structure for yourself to stay motivated, which can be anything from scheduling check-ins to establishing what tasks you'll do and when.
Avoid overthinking social cues
While communicating with your team largely over email and messaging, it can be hard to properly interpret someone's tone or meaning, which makes it difficult to build necessary working relationships. Don't overthink it!
Go in with a positive mindset that assumes the best of people. Try video-calling on a regular basis to clear up any misunderstandings.
Also watch How to WORK FROM HOME Efficiently
Set boundaries between you and distractions
Distractions are the greatest concern with remote working, but there are simple things you can do to help, like turning your phone on silent or designating 15 minutes for your preferred distraction.
Family is also a big distraction, as they might assume that since you're home you can do extra chores and take care of the kids, but it's important to remind them that you're still on the clock.
Use organizational and productivity tools
When you're working from home, the increased flexibility and decreased structure mean that getting organized is entirely in your hands.
Making a schedule for yourself, which designates time for breaks away from your screen and a longer break for lunch, will actually help keep you focused and boost productivity. Plus, letting your team know helps them to connect with you when you're most present.
Get out of the house if necessary
If your home office is not working for you, that doesn't mean you've failed remote working! Take it a step further and get out of the house to a place with Wi-Fi.
Good places include coffee shops, libraries, public lounges, and even coworking spaces. Having other people around gives a feeling of responsibility and can simulate the energy of an office.
Be open to new methods of working and communicating
When you're working remotely, it feels more like you're working on your own time, and soon you'll likely find better, quicker ways to get your work done. Offer up these suggestions to improve team productivity.
It could be using a different platform to communicate or developing a new way to track progress, but remote teams rely on members pointing out and strengthening weaknesses.
Don't let different schedules slow you down
With remote working often comes different schedules of team members, and perhaps even different time zones, which can cause miscommunication and mistakes.
Be proactive and coordinate with your team so that you're not blindsided.
Identify your most productive times
Nobody is 100% productive from morning to night, and especially at home your motivation will ebb and flow. Identify when that happens, and plan your schedule around it.
Save your harder tasks for your most productive periods, and allocate the easier wins for slower points of the day. It'll keep you motivated!
Make time to meet up with colleagues
In an office, it's easier to establish personal connections with coworkers over coffee breaks, lunches, meetings, or even chats in the elevator, and these actually contribute to your teamwork.
When you're working remotely, you should take the initiative to connect with your coworkers personally, either face-to-face outside of work time, or even just in the first five minutes of a conference call.
Continue to build your network
One benefit of working in office is that you have the opportunity to brush shoulders with higher ups and people who can offer learning opportunities, social connection, and even jobs.
Try to get outside of your home office once a week to meet a client, get a networking coffee, or visit an industry conference. Don't stop meeting new people!
Prepare your meals the night before
At home you have much more liberty in the kitchen than at work, and it can be tempting to spend time crafting delicious meals, but that's only eating up your work time.
Cook or chop your food the night before, just as you would if you were going into an office, then you can use your break times to actually eat, and you won't work overtime.
Stop working when your hours are over
When you're working from home, it can be difficult to put work aside when it's sitting in your living room. But this can ultimately slow you down if you don't give yourself time to recharge.
Just as you maintain a working routine, create some sort of routine to mark your entry into personal hours. It can be as simple as going for a walk!