If you’re reading this, chances are you recently made the shift to a remote-friendly work environment, or you’re planning for it in the near future. In any case, this is great news, because there’s a flood of recent statistics that have proven what many of us had already hypothesized: having the freedom to work remotely is a complete game-changer for our productivity, creativity, work-life balance, mental health, and much more. So much so that a whopping 97% of employees want their work to be at least partially remote in the future.
Remote work didn’t become a thing solely because of COVID, though; it’s been around for a while, but just wasn’t normalized. Over the past 10 years, remote work has grown by over 90%, and remote-friendly companies are experiencing 25% less employee turnover. Hello, new normal!
So, if you’re in favor of ditching the daily commute and office politics for the freedom of working from home – or wherever your heart desires – you’re in the right place, because if you’re not prepared and intentional, the road can be a little slippery. That’s why we’ve put together some of the most important tips for making your remote work journey feel like a breeze, whether you work from home or you’re living the digital nomad life. We’ve got you covered!
Before anything, manage the expectations of people in your close circles, especially your family or housemates. Let them know what your working conditions are like and that your work is your priority during working hours, even if you’re not physically at the office. Clearly communicate your boundaries where you need to; doing this will definitely help you avoid misunderstandings along the way.
Be intentional with your workspace:
If you WFH, maintaining the boundary between work-life and home-life can be a little tricky when at home, so it’s important to actively draw that line yourself. An intentional workspace can minimize distractions and maximize productivity.
One way to do this is by creating a dedicated workspace that is tailored to your needs, if this is accessible for you. Ideally, you’ll want to pay attention to lighting, privacy, and comfort. And whether your dedicated space is a full home office or a workspace tray, don’t forget to make it visually pleasant—decorate it if you can, and keep it clean and organized.
On the other hand, you might be a digital nomad who’s on the go more often than not, or maybe you just prefer to work from coffee shops in your area. If this is you, coffee shops are an excellent and easy way to move around and keep your work away from your personal space.
You can also maintain the work-life boundary in other ways, by visiting dedicated co-working locations or renting in co-living spaces like Outsite, where like-minded people co-exist together as a community, living as co-workers and housemates—It’s a great way to make new friends and stay motivated. If you’d like a little more time for yourself, however, you might consider renting an AirBnb under the Live and Work Anywhere program. In any case, there are plenty of initiatives like these designed specifically to provide a solid environment for travelers with all the essentials needed to get your work done.
Our advice? If you WFH, try to get out and work from a coffee shop or co-working space in your hood at least 2 times a week. It’s a good way to enjoy a change of environment and interact with people, which are simple things that can disappear when you restrict yourself to only working from home.
Have a pre-work routine:
Getting out of bed and straight to the screen is not a great idea. When you have a pre-work or morning routine, you’re far less likely to wind up on autopilot all day. Taking some space for yourself to physically and mentally prepare for the day ahead will help you have a more intentional workday, one where you’re mindful and aware (at least as much as you remember to be). This will ensure that you’re present, awake, and ready to do your job well from the get-go.
You don’t need to be a part of the 5 am club to do this, and your routine doesn’t have to be intense or elaborate. It can consist of a refreshing shower, a nourishing breakfast, and some peaceful stillness while you sip on a hot cup of coffee or tea. You can also add a 10-minute journaling session or read a few pages from a book. Whatever you choose, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, carve out the time for it in advance.
Remember to take breaks:
Don’t forget that it’s okay (and necessary) to take breaks, and set alarms or reminders if you need to.
One way to do this is by trying the Pomodoro Technique: an effective time management method developed in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as "pomodoros." The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility, help you stay focused, and make the most of your time. Give it a try!
Here's how it works:
- Choose a task you want to work on.
- Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a short break (usually 5 minutes).
- Every four "pomodoros," take a longer break (15-30 minutes).
Identify and block distractions:
This will definitely take some extra discipline and mindfulness from your side, but a few simple tricks can help make the process easier.
First and foremost, get organized and plan your day ahead (including your meals and breaks)—whether you use a notebook or an app, find an organization system that works best for you and keep track of your tasks. To do this most efficiently, put your phone somewhere out of reach, but if you must have it by your side, turn off unnecessary notifications and keep it on silent mode. Don’t leave the TV on in the background, and make sure you have balanced, adequate meals that keep you full. Why? Because we know what it’s like to make trips to the fridge 6 times before it’s even 2 pm and we know what it’s like when you’re so busy that you forget to eat entirely.
This one is very important. Slipping into a sedentary lifestyle and keeping your eyes locked behind the screen for too long is undeniably detrimental to your health, and that’s no exaggeration. Also, working remotely can sometimes mean spending more time at home, which means there’s less movement happening throughout your workday, unless you’re intentional about staying active.
Staying active during your workday doesn’t need to be complicated at all; even just making sure you get up and move around every hour can make all the difference. Otherwise, get creative—you can attend your work calls while you go for a walk in your neighborhood, invest in a treadmill desk, or dedicate some time for a YouTube yoga flow before you start your workday.
Not only does staying active keep your physical health in check, but it can give you an energy boost, supercharge your creativity, and reduce stress, among many other great benefits.
That’s it for now
The good news is no one’s going to be stealing your lunch from the office fridge anymore, unless you try out the co-living situation. What we can promise, though, is that with the right amount of discipline, intention, and organization, working remotely can be easy and breezy, enabling you to find the perfect work-life balance we all need!
Be sure to check out our next article in the Remote work 101 series, where we share our favorite tools and gadgets for working remotely from anywhere.
Images sourced from pexels.com