How to Get Work Done When Working Remotely
The way people work is changing. With current technology, we don’t all need to be in the same office to get work done. Instead, many businesses are switching to remote work. Remote employees save companies money on rent, allow the location to not limit hiring decisions, and are often more productive than in-office employees.
Being able to work remotely promises the freedom to handle your work tasks as you’d like, whether that’s at home in your pajamas with your pet in your lap, traveling the world with just a laptop accompanying your adventures, or in a coworking office that’s miles away from the home office. While it may sound ideal, once you get started, remote working can be harder to make work than expected. If you are a remote worker or would like to start working remotely, you need a plan to get work done.
Stick to a Schedule:
Even though there is nobody to hold you to them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to specific hours. It doesn’t have to be the typical 9-5, but you should still try to establish hours that you can stick to.
Knowing when you’re most productive can help determine working hours. If you’re an early bird, you might work best in the morning and start tackling tasks with the sunrise. As a night owl, on the other hand, you may find the quieter nighttime atmosphere more ideal for getting work done.
However, the evenings are when most people are done with work, so if this is when you try to do your work, your hours could conflict with the schedules of others. Family members coming home or friends planning activities during your work hours are distractions you may want to avoid. If all your clients and coworkers work the typical 9-5, you should stay closer to these hours. However, if you are in a different timezone, you may have to follow an unconventional schedule to accommodate the time difference.
While establishing hours takes away some of that appealing freedom of remote work, it can actually help to avoid overworking. There is always work to be done, but putting in too many hours will only lead to burn out. You can still have flexibility, of course. If something comes up, don’t let the hours hold you back. Just make sure to let your boss and team members now how your schedule looks.
Prepare as if Going to an Office
No matter where you work, structure is important for your health and productivity. A home office is an option, but it works best if you treat working from home as separate from simply being at home. Get out of bed, get dressed, and prepare yourself a proper lunch.
Preparing as if you were going into an office for the day ensures that your mind makes the switch into productivity mode when it’s time to get started and also that you can shut down at the end of the day. For example, you might separate work and home life with seperate wardrobes and switch into your work clothes in the morning to signal the start of your workday.
It can also help to prepare lunch in the same way as if you were going to an office. If you’re at home and the kitchen is only a few feet away, preparation may seem unnecessary because you could just prepare something when you’re hungry in the middle of the day. However, preparing during work hours takes time away from your tasks. Instead, you can cook your meals the night before and use your time more wisely by meal prepping. Having food already set aside will help you to not forget to eat while powering through assignments. A proper lunch will also allow for a more productive afternoon.
It may seem silly to prepare for a remote working day the same as if you had an office to go to, but doing so ensures you are mentally ready and prepared for your day of work.
Pick the Right Work Location
When you go to an office everyday, the commute itself helps to separate working from the rest of your life. While preparing as if going to an office can help, you might also consider actually giving yourself somewhere to go, even if it’s just a dedicated desk with everything you need at home. As a remote worker, you have many options for your work location.
In your own home office, you don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone else or getting distracted yourself. Just set up your area with all your equipment. If the movement and energy that distracts others inspires you though, coffee shops, libraries, and similar spaces with WiFi could be great choices. For a more professional atmosphere, consider a coworking space. These spaces are widely used by remote employees along with freelancers and anyone else that needs a great place to work. The price of a membership could definitely be worth it since these spaces are designed with people like you in mind and are ideal for getting work done.
You might enjoy a change of environment everyday. By jumping around to different workspaces with just your laptop and headphones, you can refresh your mind and find more creativity. Any workspace that works for you is fine. Yours may change from day to day, but the separation from home life itself can provide greater focus.
Without the daily communication of the office, you have to find other methods to stay in the loop and keep the remote work lifestyle from becoming too lonely. A normal office job includes many meetings as well as email and messaging apps. You have to put in extra effort to maintain the same amount of communication when working remotely.
Not being in the same office, people may forget to include you in important conversations, so you have to be more proactive with communicating with the team. Stay connected with messaging tools and face to face interaction through video calls. If you don’t all share the same hours, you may have to make notes on when each coworker is typically available. By working harder to maintain communication with those you work with, you can avoid missing things and stay just as connected while working remotely.
Even if you don’t work with anyone else, you still need to have conversation with someone. Humans are social creatures and we need some contact with others. Avoid loneliness by making an effort to speak with someone everyday.
Successful Remote Working
The challenges of remote working cause many people to end up right back at the office. This lifestyle is not for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Schedule, preparation, location, and communication are all important to consider for a remote employee. Understanding the factors that affect these can help you with your decisions. If you follow a good remote working plan, you will have no problem getting work done.