Working remotely or working from home is a tremendous opportunity for anyone, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. If you’re not careful, you can fall into bad habits that drain your energy and cause you to become unproductive. To continue enjoying the privilege of remote work and to excel at it, follow these suggestions.
When people start a remote work position, they don’t really give much thought to how much time they spend working since they don’t have to punch a time clock. This is a recipe for disaster and you should avoid falling into this habit. You should set aside specific hours for work, and you must be serious in letting your spouse and children know you’re not to be disturbed. Spending five minutes playing with your toddler can easily turn into an hour or more of wasted time.
There are a couple of reasons you should take the time to prepare for work just as you normally would in working a regular job. First, research has found that remote workers who shower and get dressed are far more productive than those who stay in their pajamas or other informal clothes. People who dress also experience less depressive episodes and less fatigue during the workday. Secondly, getting dressed can save you some embarrassment if you suddenly find yourself in a video conference call. Think about the impression you want your boss, co-workers, and colleagues to have of you and you’ll likely choose to get dressed.
People who work remotely often feel disconnected from their bosses and co-workers, and that can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Recent studies have also found that there are higher risks for developing a broad range of mental illnesses when working from home leads to isolation. Using an app that helps you create a hybrid workplace with your in-office co-workers can help alleviate some of this loneliness. You should also check in regularly with your boss and others within your office or department. Staying connected via phone calls, emails, and instant messaging apps can help you keep a stronger bond with others in your organization.
Once you know you will be working from home for the foreseeable future, you should dedicate a portion of your home to that purpose. Ideally, this should be a room that can be your own home office. This will help you stay focused on your tasks during your working hours. It will also give you the space you need to keep your documents, notes, and other items organized. You will have to be diligent in keeping your work area neat as well. Letting clutter build-up will detract from your efficiency and cause you to spend more time on each task. An organized work area that makes use of binders, filing cabinets, and shelf space will help you create easy access to everything you need throughout your workday.
When you don’t work is just as important as setting aside time for your workday. Once you’ve put in eight or 12 hours, shut down your computer and close up your office. This is the time to spend with your family. Help your spouse make dinner or play games with your kids. You should also set aside a minimum of one hour of physical activity. After spending hours seated at your desk, you will need to help your body expend some energy by jogging, bicycling, or lifting weights. You should end the night by doing something relaxing, such as meditating, reading a good book, or taking a bath. This will help you prepare for a full night of sleep, which you’ll need to start another day of efficient remote work.
Continue to look for other ways to work more efficiently in addition to the tips mentioned here. By setting up your own system for completing your daily tasks, you’ll be sure to get more done each day. Some ideas won’t work, but, when you do find something that boosts your efficiency, stick with it and refine it to help you be even more productive. In no time at all, you will master the work from home experience.