Remote Work: Making It Work For You
Working remotely sounds great initially. Work in my pajamas? Move my office out to the back deck? Have my dogs as office mates? But when remote work becomes a reality, it’s good to have a plan in place, along with some handy tips.
I worked remotely for about 18 years. I love working from home, however, after a while I had to move my business to an office space. My project manager is easy going but working off of my kitchen table was definitely cramping our style. I still enjoy working from home on occasion and thought I’d share my favorite work-from-home hacks here.
1. Get dressed. I know, I know… working in your jammies sounds so appealing. I’m much more productive and find myself in a mindset to work when I have “day clothes” on. You don’t have to dress up, but dress so that if the UPS guy comes to the door, you don’t have to apologize.
2. Establish a workstation. My current workstation is a very basic table we found at a thrift shop, an old office chair, and a second screen. I also invested in a second power cord for my computer so I don’t have to wrangle with it when I change locations. If your situation is more permanent, invest in a great desk and a really comfortable chair. One thing I do insist on for myself is that I have a window nearby. Natural light inspires me to be productive.
3. Set goals for yourself. It’s easy for your workday to get delayed if you don’t have structured goals and tasks to achieve for the day. Make a list of your top three things to do and dive in!
4. Consider the pomodoro technique. This technique gives you about a 20-25 minute “hard focus” time and then a five minute “brain break.” I actually have an app for this (Focus Keeper) and I love using it at the office and at home. I find myself much more productive than when I chain myself to my desk for hours at a time. The brain break can consist of checking emails, returning a phone call, or just stretching and refilling your water bottle.
5. Set clear boundaries. The dirty little secret to remote work is that while there is flexibility, the flexibility bends both ways. As for me, I can find myself working MORE when I’m working from home. Give yourself a clear start and end time to your workday, and don’t forget to take a lunch break.
6. Communicate intentionally with loved ones. I don’t know how often I heard, “Well, you can do this for me because you JUST work from home.” No. When I am working from home, I’m still working. Don’t be afraid to say “no.” I spent all of my children’s growing up years working remotely (part time), and they learned to respect mom’s work time. This is a great opportunity for them to read, work on LEGO projects, or play an educational computer game.
Hopefully you enjoy your remote work experience. If you are working remotely long-term, I highly recommend the book Remote by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. It has even more advice, especially if you are a business owner considering a pure remote work strategy.
If you want to connect more about remote work, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to chat!