Remote work has seen a steady incline in popularity over the last few years, but it has recently skyrocketed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re a freelancer, own your own business, or work for a company from home, there are plenty of benefits to working remotely.
It’s flexible, can boost productivity, and offer a better work-life balance.
But, if you want to maximize those benefits, you might need to take a few extra steps to make remote work ‘work’ for you. So, whether you’re a work-from-home newbie or you’re just struggling to find your stride, let’s cover a few tips you can use to make your remote lifestyle more successful.
Develop a Routine
If you’ve ever worked an in-person job, you probably had a daily routine you needed to follow to make it to work on time and start your day on the right foot.
Unfortunately, when you’re working from home, it’s easy to let go of a productive routine to start the day. The average remote employee saves 40 minutes each day from commuting. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean your alarm should go off 40 minutes later.
One of the potential drawbacks of working from home is too much freedom. If you aren’t dedicated and disciplined, you could find yourself struggling with productivity. You might also have a more strained work-life balance if you work irregular hours and end up falling behind.
Everyone’s routine is different, of course, but try to keep the following in mind as you create your own:
• Wake up and go to sleep at the same times each day
• Do something in the morning that energizes you
• Eat breakfast
• Socialize with family members
• Shower and get dressed
• Start your workday
• Stop working at the same time each day
Developing the right routine will boost your productivity, allow you to be more focused on your work, and still give you plenty of time to do the things you love. While it can take a while to get into the swing of a new routine, once it becomes a habit you won’t want to do things any other way.
Have a Dedicated Office Space
In addition to having a set routine each day, it’s also a good idea to have a set office space. Your environment can have a big impact on your productivity. It can affect your alertness, your focus, and overall cognitive performance. If you’re going to be working from home most of the time, having a dedicated workspace will help you to be more successful.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to close off an entire room in your home. If you don’t have that kind of space, consider one of the following for a home office option:
• A closet
• Under the staircase
• An outdoor office
• The kitchen table
• A corner of your bedroom
Be careful with your workspace selection. While almost anywhere in your home can work, you’ll want to avoid areas with a lot of “traffic” or distractions. You also don’t want to be too comfortable while working. So, if you set up an office in your bedroom, try to work from a chair and desk, rather than sitting in bed. Not only can it cause physical problems, but it could make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Wherever you decide to set up shop, make sure your family members or roommates understand that when you’re there, you have to work. That will help to decrease distractions so you can get things done.
Practicing self-care each day while you’re working from home is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. While remote work is more flexible and can offer more free time, it can also be isolating and lonely. You might feel disconnected from the workplace, and if you’re alone in your house all day, it’s easy to let your mind wander.
By doing things that can boost your well-being, you’ll feel better about the job you’re doing, and you’re more likely to stay productive.
Self-care doesn’t have to be something luxurious or expensive. Including aspects of it in your daily routine can make a big difference. Try a few of the following to boost your health:
• Turn off electronics an hour before bed
• Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
• Bring houseplants into your office
• Create a meditation space
• Try aromatherapy for stress relief
Exercising, journaling, and simply taking breaks throughout the day are also all great ways to improve your well-being and take care of yourself while you’re working from home. Doing so will give you the boost you need to look forward to working each day.
Consider Other Options
While remote work statistics show a lot of benefits of remote work, it’s not for everyone. If you’re still craving that in-person interaction, you might want to consider a hybrid work model. This allows you to split your time between a traditional office setting and your home. Some of the benefits include an enhanced work-life balance, better productivity, and reduced chances of burnout.
While it might sound like the perfect fit if you’re having balance issues, there are some potential drawbacks to consider, including:
• Greater chances of miscommunication
• Malfunctioning technology
• Cybersecurity concerns
• Workflow delays
For some people who need to be able to come into the office once in a while, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. But, it’s about finding what works best for you and what fits your needs, so you can be successful in the work you do each day.
One thing is certain, remote work is here to stay. Many employees have chosen to remain remote, even as the pandemic starts to weaken. Many employers are on board with that, since remote employees can save them money on overhead.
Whether you’re working remotely now or you’re considering it for the future, knowing how to make it work for you will make a big difference in whether you enjoy it and how productive you can be. Use some of these tips to help you find your stride as you tackle this chapter of your career.