Remote Working 101: 5 Tips to help you succeed at remote work

Working from home doesn’t have to be hard! For starters, there’s no commute, no boss breathing down your neck, and no need to dress up every day.

The best part, you don’t even need to leave your house! 

But what happens when you start to feel trapped in your home-office chair? Or find yourself getting distracted by the constant ‘ping’ of emails piling up in your inbox? Or maybe you can’t seem to get anything done because you find yourself scrolling through Facebook?

If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to take control of your work life!

Here are 5 top tips to help you succeed at remote work: 

1. Set boundaries 

One of the biggest challenges for anyone who works from home is setting boundaries with bosses, clients, colleagues, family members, and even yourself! 

However, it’s vital to establish clear boundaries between personal time and work time.

Otherwise, you may find yourself working late into the night or constantly interrupted by family members who come barging in when you’re trying to focus.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Here are a few things to consider when setting boundaries:

  • What time should you start and stop each day?
  • How much time do you need for lunch or coffee breaks?
  • Should you be available after hours or on the weekends? If you need to be available, can you take time off during the week?
  • Do you have any family obligations that might conflict with your working hours?

It’s also essential to stop and reward yourself when you reach your daily work goal. Watch your favorite Netflix show, have a bar of chocolate, or check up on your social media notifications. Or, better yet, go for a walk outside!

2. Create a Work Environment That Works For You

Creating an environment where you feel comfortable and inspired is crucial if you want to be productive.

It’s best to find a quiet corner in your house and set up a dedicated workspace or at least a desk area that works for you. 

Ensure that your desk and chair are set up correctly, that the lighting is adequate (preferably natural sunlight from a window), that there are enough wall outlets nearby for charging devices, and that you have enough space to move about freely.

You can also consider buying a standing desk if you’re sitting too much.

And, try switching it up a bit sometimes! A library, coffee shop, coworking space, or a park bench are all excellent places to work from and get in some social interaction. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi hotspots around town! 

3. Create a distraction-free atmosphere

While working remotely, you might find yourself losing focus when interrupted by phone calls or email notifications. Or worse – you might find that an hour just flew by while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, browsing YouTube videos, or playing games on your mobile. 

Thus, it’s vital to create a distraction-proof environment! 

To ensure that you remain productive and less distracted, follow these simple steps:

  • Keep your workspace tidy and clutter-free — a messy desk results in a messy mind. 
  • Keep your phone away.
  • Turn off your notifications while working. 
  • Use a timer to track your productivity, i.e., how long you spend doing work, in meetings, checking your email, browsing Facebook, etc.
  • Set a daily schedule
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day
  • Invest in a headset to block out unwanted noise
  • Use technology and software (a Pomodoro timer, EverNote, Forest, Brain.fm, Slack, Notion, Airtable, Zapier) to manage your work and make you more efficient.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. What makes you most productive? What distracts you? Learn how to use this to your advantage. 

4. Find ways to motivate yourself and keep energy levels up 

Working remotely means you no longer have access to the office coffee machine! But don’t worry, as there are plenty of other options to keep you going throughout the day.

Think about what type of music helps motivate you. Do you prefer listening to instrumental music like jazz or classical, or do you choose something upbeat like rock or pop while working? There are also curated hour-long deep focus playlists on YouTube to put you in the zone! 

You can also start a morning ritual of drinking coffee, doing yoga, or reading the news before beginning work. Define your morning ritual and stick to it!

Find diverse ways to motivate yourself while working – whether it’s setting goals, taking regular breaks to recharge, having a tasty snack, or doing something enjoyable.

The key to success is finding the right balance between being disciplined and flexible. You should plan ahead but not overdo it. Also, permit yourself to stop working early if you feel tired.

When working in a remote team, scheduling and attending meetings can feel like a chore! Consider using virtual communication spaces or audio conferencing for team meetings. This can help avoid Zoom fatigue!

5. Connect with people and practice self-care

While working from home can be incredibly isolating, there are plenty of ways to stay connected.

Schedule weekly in-person activities with friends and family and keep in touch with those far away via Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. 

Try joining a local group or look into online communities where you can share interests and make friends.

Also, remember to take care of yourself! Take time to exercise, eat well and rest.

In addition, don’t forget to keep up with your hobbies and interests. If you love music, go ahead and listen to your favorite songs while working. If fitness is your jam, consider cycling daily or signing up for a challenge like Couch to 5K. Or maybe you enjoy reading books or watching movies. 

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you carve out time for it every day!

Follow these five tips to take the stress out of remote working. You may need to make some adjustments at first, but soon it’ll become second nature.

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