Be your own boss and keep your work under control
“I work from home” is a phrase that either lifts a few confused eyebrows or earns you a spot at the ‘cool table’. No more commuting to and from the office, you get to choose where you work from and what sort of environment inspires you the most.
But whether you’re a freelancer or have an employer who encourages flexibility, remote working needs to be managed in the appropriate way to successfully boost productivity – or at least not to damage it.
- Ace your space
If you work from home, you have to create an appropriate work environment. Even though some people are comfortable working on the couch, some of us aren’t even able to look at the couch while we work.
If you have one, appoint a spare room your “home office”, buy a back-friendly office chair, and keep your work area clutter-free. Don’t know how? Check out these tips to rid your office and mind of counterproductive clutter.
It’s advisable to often choose a separate workspace like a coffee shop or a co-working space to avoid the distracting comforts of your home… and the dozen or so chores.
- Stay Connected
Humans are by nature social creatures. This doesn’t mean that we have to socialise continuously, it means that we communicate and collaborate to produce results.
But staying connected, asking questions, and knowing about last-minute decisions is difficult when team members are scattered around the country, or the world.
Never fear, technology is here, and your excellent writing and communication skills can also come in handy. Messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams, or project management software like Jira are the best way to keep your communications and projects all in one place. Whilst video conferencing software like Cisco WebEx or Zoom allow for immediate feedback and avoid misunderstandings.
Another solution is audio calls, quick and simple. Unfortunately, however, we all know somebody who zones out if nobody’s watching, as audio calls don’t give you the luxury of a face-to-face rendezvous. If in doubt, try and get a feel for the culture of the company you’re working for first, and then adapt based on both the tech available and what you’re trying to achieve with co-workers.
- Personalise your schedule
The more flexible your schedule, the more diligent you have to be in setting your own boundaries. You’re still working remotely so don’t set a 9 to 5 schedule as it defeats the purpose, but learn to listen to your own needs.
What does your natural body clock say? Do you have most energy in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
Are you able to focus for hours on end, or do you function better in half-an-hour bursts?
Experiment and create a schedule that fits your life.
- Don’t live in your pyjamas
You get up in the morning and reach your desk, which is at arm’s length from your bed. Feeling comfortable, you pass your day impersonating a sloth in front of your laptop, cutting in half your productivity. Oops…
Don’t do this. Get up and get ready as if you were going to the office. You will notice an immense difference and you’ll be overflowing with energy. Otherwise, you’ll be tricking your brain into thinking that you’re still in bed.
Wear shorts, jogging bottoms, or your swimsuit! Anything but the clothes you slept in.
- Please, go outside
Being able to just stand up to go for a stroll is a strong advantage of remote working. Everyone should be doing it, especially considering the hours you spend slouching in front of a screen.
Without a determined break, some of us often forget to look up from our screens and, before we know it, the sun’s going down and our backs are killing us.
Take a quick walk, breathe in the oxygen, say hi to your neighbour. Then, you can crawl back into your den and get back to work!
Remote working surely has its pros and cons, but by doing it correctly, your motivation and productivity will rocket sky-high.