Prepare to Meet People Halfway
Yes, remote work can be isolating. In fact, you may feel more isolated when you don’t have office mates and you’re relying on email and chat to communicate with people.
Communication works both ways. If you communicate well with others, you will be seen as a valuable resource. Try to reach out to people when you need them and ask them for feedback and ideas, even if you can’t ask for help in person.
Limit yourself to less than eight hours per day
It is tempting to overdo it when you work remotely. If you are on your laptop, you’re not tied to your desk. You can keep working late into the night without anyone looking over your shoulder.
Setting boundaries and limitations with others is important, but it’s also important to recognize when you’ve reached your limit. If you’re feeling exhausted, start looking for ways to close things down early.
Make yourself your own coach
You cannot be your own boss if you’re never on the clock. This is especially true if you work remotely since there is no one in the office with whom you can discuss problems and brainstorm solutions.
I’ve discovered that what I’m missing when I’m not physically in the office is that team atmosphere. When you’re in the same space as your co-workers and project leads, your output is greater, and your expectations are realistic. Working remotely means that you have to amp yourself up when needed. Don’t be afraid to be your own coach it will help with your motivation and determination.
Set clear work goals
When you work from home, you can’t rely on people to keep you accountable for your work. You have to be more proactive about keeping yourself on task. I do this by setting goals for myself and tracking my progress.
I try to focus on improving the quality of my work, rather than the quantity of my work. By blocking off time to work on certain projects, you can avoid getting caught up by distractions. If you’re consistent with this, you’ll start to see your productivity improve over time.
Prepare yourself for downtime
Your body may start to feel worn out from sitting at your desk all day. And although you may feel a rush of energy after you finish a full day of work, the fact is that you’ve probably spent the majority of your time in one spot and haven’t left your desk for the entire day. During this time, your body will crave some kind of physical activity. Try going for a walk around the block, taking a short bike ride, or even driving to the nearest store and back to burn some energy.
The good news is that you can stay on top of your physical activity even if you don’t have a physical office to go to. There are lots of gyms and workout studios you can try out that are open to the public, and this can help you avoid the “workout-shy” phenomenon that some freelancers experience.
Find your own workspace
The best way to make yourself your own boss is to figure out where you can work best. If you can’t find a good working space, your output will suffer. Spend sometime going around your home to find a suitable location for working. It should be quiet, free from distractions, and comfortable.
Prepare your workspace
Now it is time to setup your working space. Setup everything to your liking and spend a few days working there. You may have to make some adjustments along the way.
Clean up your workspace
Your workspace should be clean and comfortable. Ideally, your home office space is at least temporarily separate from other areas of the home, so that your personal and work life don’t become intermingled. Get rid of clutter in your office space and clean it up at the end of every day. This will help you start the next day fresh and ready to go.
Get the right equipment
Office spaces in real office buildings tend to be designed for work. If you work from home, you need to set up your work space accordingly. Here are a few tips for creating the best working environment.
Get a chair with a good back support. You may want to do more standing than sitting while you work. You don’t want your back to start aching and your legs to feel weak.
Invest in a desk with a good surface and adjustable parameters. Many people use a table. If that’s not possible, consider the environment carefully and decide on the ideal situation from what’s available.
If possible, buy ergonomic furniture and peripherals. Your health and safety should still be priority number one no matter where you decide to work. Invest your money where it matters and buy quality, dependable, comfortable, and long-lasting equipment, and furniture.
Improve the efficiency of your workspace
Once you have been using your new workspace for a couple of weeks, it may be time to reevaluate and improve the efficiency of the space. Maybe you need a monitor stand so that you can adjust the height and tilt of the monitor. Is the chair comfortable or do you need more lower back support? Is everything you need daily within arm’s reach? Make a list of the things that could be improved in your workspace and get started on making those changes. An efficient workspace will improve your productivity.
Use the right apps
Sometimes, your company will provide you with the devices and software necessary for working remotely. Other times, you must provide this equipment yourself. There are a lot of software and apps available for remote working that can help make your day more productive and easier. Do your research for what problems you would like to solve in your daily working routine and use the apps to help accomplish those goals.
Buy a good microphone and camera if needed
When you work from home, it can be difficult to conduct meetings with colleagues. The extra effort required to meet someone in person can drain your energy, making you less effective at your job. In order to have a proper meeting over conference call or video conference, you should invest in a quality microphone and webcam if you will be doing video calls.
Keep an eye on your eyes
Eye strain can become a devastation handicap. Make sure you are taking care of your eyes with an HD monitor with good resolution and that you are looking away from the screen from time to time. Make sure you have the right lighting for your work area. Try to make the area as bright an inviting as possible.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Keep an eye on your environment. The things around you will have a huge impact on your productivity. Keep your house clean and clutter-free. Add some decorations, plants, or photographs to motivate you throughout the day. Personalize the space the same way you would a company office.
Free yourself from the home office
Sometimes you need some fresh air. It is okay to take a breather and bring the laptop outside. Nature can be soothing and inspiring. If your job allows it, take the computer with you outside for an hour to answer emails or respond to inquiries.
Tune out the distractions
Studies show that listening to music can increase your productivity. While you can listen to music while working, it can also be helpful to switch off the music and really tune into the sound of your work environment.
Other distractions include family members or pets. Don’t keep them within arm’s reach and be careful with cats and dogs. Leave them in another room if you need to concentrate.
Dress for the day
Before you begin your work, take stock of your work clothing. It may be tempting to go to your home office in your pajamas, but you should avoid doing this. Being too comfortable at work may cause you to slack off. Where comfortable clothes but something that would still be suitable for a semi-casual environment.
Begin and end each day the same way
Create a routine and stick to it. I begin my day with a coffee and emails. If there are no emergencies to take care of, I sit down and write out a list of goals that I want to accomplish during the day. Some of the items I will block out times in my schedule for. This helps to eliminate distractions and keep me focused. The start of my day usually takes 20 minutes or less and really helps me get in the groove.
To end the day, I check on my list of goals for the day. If there is anything I didn’t get done, I set it aside for the next day and also write done anything that I need to remember to do. I spend 5-10 minutes cleaning and straightening up my office space. Books and papers get filed away and everything is wiped down.
Lastly, I turn everything off. I do this to keep myself from overworking. If the computer is still on, I may be tempted to jump right back into it, but if I turn it off that urge is decreased. Set your boundaries and work limits and stick to them.
Rest, eat, and take short breaks
Work-life balance is important. So many of us work long hours, and it can take a physical and mental toll on you. Take breaks. Take the opportunity to have a moment away from the computer. Enjoy meals. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Get some fresh air.
Take some time away from your work, it’s a two-way street.
Take the whole break
This tip follows right on the heels of the previous tip. Take your breaks in their entirety. It can be extremely difficult to step away from a project, but your body and mind will thank you for the break, don’t skimp on them!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
It does not matter if you are self-employed, a freelancer, or working for a company remotely, do not be afraid to seek assistance when needed. There may be things that another person does better than you or you may just have too much on your plate. Regardless, of what you need help with, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Working remotely can be a great way to manage your work and spend more time with your family. The biggest challenge is to figure out how to get started. Even though I was more active when I worked in an office, I learned a lot from the freelance journey and built up a lot of valuable skills. Even if you are already a freelancer, working from home is the perfect time to reflect on what you can do better to improve your productivity.
This is just an overview of some of the benefits of working from home. The reality is that there are so many reasons to work from home, and that if you focus on being your own boss and you work on things that you’re passionate about, you’re bound to reap the rewards.