So, you’ve landed yourself a coveted work-from-home job. Here at SocialNicole, as a team that works primarily remotely, we understand both the joys and the challenges that come with a remote job. A remote job can save you commuting time and expenses and can provide flexibility and freedom, but be careful that you don’t let yourself slip into slacking off just because you work remotely. You still need to do your best work and set yourself up for success when working from home.
That’s why we have put together a list of our top 10 tips for working remotely. While we believe it is helpful to develop a routine, minimize distractions, and set aside a designated work space for maximum productivity, we also value work/life balance and the mental health benefits that come from taking breaks, getting out of the house, building a community, and not allowing work to take over our lives. In this way, we are able to enjoy the perks of working remotely–and with these 10 tips we hope you can too.
1. Working Remotely: Develop a Routine
Our first tip for successfully working remotely is to develop some sort of routine. This doesn’t have to be a strict 9-5, nor does it have to limit you in anyway, but it can help you be more productive and get your work done, leaving more time for you to live your life outside of work.
Some people (like me!) are what we like to call the Straight-Shooter. These people typically work for an 8 or 9 hour block with breaks and get their work done for the day all in one shift. This may look like starting at 7AM and ending at 4PM, with a few breaks scattered throughout the day. Another person might be more of a Split-Shift worker, working from 7AM to noon, then taking a couple hours to hit the gym, grab lunch with a friend, or catch up on sleep, and then finishing up their work day from 3-6PM. Whether it’s working 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening, or working a more traditional 8 hours with a lunch break, or even making Saturday a work day–do what works best for you, your schedule, and the expectations your job and employer have of you.
Within the routine of when you’ll be working, develop a routine of how you work. Depending on your job situation, there may be a little or a lot of flexibility within the work itself. Work with what you have and figure out a routine for your day. Maybe you check emails every hour on the hour, or plan all your phone calls for the morning so you can leave the house in the afternoon. Whatever it looks like for you, try to give yourself consistency.
2. Working Remotely: Designate a Workspace
Our next tip is to have a designated workspace (or several) where you will do your remote work. If you have the space for it, set up an office area or room with a desk or table and all your work materials. If you don’t have the space for a specific office area, set aside spaces to work–your kitchen table, your basement, your outdoor patio in the summer–whatever works for you. It aids in productivity when you have a work space, and it also helps you not feel like you are at work all the time outside of your work hours. For instance, staying out of your relaxation areas (such as your bed or your couch) when you work helps to preserve those areas as rest spaces for when you aren’t working.
You can also have fun with your work space! Decorate it or organize it for optimal productivity and to make it a pleasant place to be. Have fun with it by lighting candles, hanging up art, or buying decorations and supplies which get you excited. Also make sure your work space is a positive physical environment by buying a supportive chair and finding a space that is a comfortable temperature and has good lighting. You will be spending a large portion of your time in this space, so you might as well make it your favorite room in the house!
3. Working Remotely: Minimize Distraction
To do your best work while working remotely, try to reduce distractions in your work space. In order to do this, you have to know yourself and what works for you. Some people may get distracted by music when working, while others need the background noise to focus. It can be tempting to turn the TV on or to check your personal social media every 10 minutes, but resist the urge and try to be honest with yourself about what helps and what distracts.
In not allowing yourself to become distracted, you help ensure that you are doing the best work you can do. You will thank yourself later when you’ve completed a successful work day and have done work you can be proud of, and still have time leftover to enjoy the other parts of your life. Instagram and that great Netflix show you’re binge-watching can wait, and you will feel better when you finish a productive day with something to show for it.
4. Tip for Working Remotely: Take Regular Breaks
While we advise you to minimize distractions during your work time, we also strongly urge you to allow yourself a few opportunities each day for designated breaks. We know it can be tempting to keep plugging ahead and get your work done in record time, but this can be detrimental to your mental and physical health, lead to burnout and raise the chances of making errors in your work. If your work allows it, take longer breaks to catch up on sleep or get your sweat on at the gym. If long breaks aren’t your thing, keep yourself fresh with 10-minute stretch breaks, or set aside time to eat a quick lunch away from your work desk.
When you look at a computer screen all day, it is very important to set aside time (whether it’s 10 minutes every couple of hours, a full hour lunch break, a gym class during the day, or whatever your preference may be) to get up, close your laptop, and give your eyes and mind a break. Pay attention to your body and mind to determine what kind of break you need. Killing yourself to get your work done in record time and hating every second of your work day is not worth it.
5. Working Remotely: Get Dressed
When you roll out of bed in the morning to begin your work day, get dressed. Put on makeup or earrings, take a shower, shave, or maybe even get out of the house for a bit before your start your day. It can be so tempting when you work from home to stay in your pajamas, or even in bed, for your entire work day–but this isn’t good for your productivity or your mental health.
You are a professional, even though you work from home. We’re not saying you have to sit at your kitchen table in a pencil skirt and blazer all day just for your dog to see you, but you will feel better if you put on actual clothes at some point during the day. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Dress for the job you want.” What this really means is that the clothes you wear and the way you take care of yourself each day not only reflect your great work ethic and professionalism, but they can actually help boost your own confidence and keep you feeling like the boss you are!
6. Working Remotely: Get Out of the House
Our next tip is to work remotely, but don’t always work from home–get out of your house from time to time! Maybe you want to invest in a membership at a coworking space, or maybe you prefer to sit at a coffee shop or the library. Find a work space that works for you (one with minimal distractions and that aids your productivity, of course) and make it a part of your weekly or even daily routine.
Even on the days when you do decide to sit at your home-office desk for the entirety of your work day, it can still be helpful to get out of the house during your breaks–whether it’s going for a jog around the block, or doing your grocery shopping for a longer break. This will help keep your house feeling like home, and a pleasant place you want to be and relax, not only your work space.
7. Working Remotely: Communicate with Colleagues
When you work remotely, if you have a team or colleagues, it is important to communicate with them–we’d even advise you to err on the side of being over-communicative. Not only will this help you in the actual work you’re doing, but it will help you to feel that you are a part of a team and you have relationships with these people. Remind yourself that you’re not an island working alone all the time. Feeling like you are a part of something bigger can help you be excited about the work you’re doing!
Even though you work remotely, try to set up meetings, work days, or even lunches or a happy hour where you can spend time in person with your team. It will help build camaraderie, adds to that sense that you are a part of something bigger, and can help motivate you to do your best work. If you are a freelancer or don’t have co-workers for another reason, try to get involved in some sort of workspace community–this could be online or at a physical coworking space.
8. Working Remotely: Build a Community Outside of Work
In addition to communicating with and forming relationships with your colleagues, it is also beneficial to build a community outside of work. This is even more important if you don’t have colleagues at work. Many people who work in person with others in an office form friendships with these coworkers, but since you are likely spending the majority of your day pretty isolated, it is important that you get time with people elsewhere.
This could be a book club or a gym class, or maybe you like to spend time with other people who live in your neighborhood or apartment building. Although it doesn’t directly have to do with your work, having a social life and spending time with people outside of your work has benefits for your mental health and happiness. You just may have to try a little harder at it than people who don’t work remotely.
9. Working Remotely: Set Boundaries
While working remotely has many perks, not the least of which being the flexibility, the downside is it can be hard to set work aside when you are at home in the evenings, on the weekend, or even when you are traveling. When you technically can work from anywhere, it’s important that you don’t work everywhere, all the time.
Setting boundaries is crucial to a happy, successful, and productive career at a remote job. Make sure your work days have a start time and an end time, and then honor those boundaries as much as you can. If you have your work email on your phone, turn off notifications or even delete the app temporarily when you’re on vacation. Work/life balance is important, and can be difficult to navigate when you are working remotely. But you will reduce your chance of burnout and will enjoy your work and your life more if you set good boundaries.
10. Working Remotely: Embrace the Perks
That being said, our last tip is to embrace the perks of working remotely! Being able to take your work with you can save you commuting expenses or spending money on a work wardrobe. It may allow to spend more time with your kids, take more trips, spare you from office politics or drama, and teach you valuable skills such as self-discipline and focus. Working remotely can allow you to still be productive on snow days or even sick days (but again, stay within your boundaries), and working from the comfort of your own home allows you to stay on top of simple household chores throughout the day, which frees up some of your time outside of work. Working remotely has a lot of perks, and you have a good fortune to have landed a remote job–so enjoy it!
While the perks of working remotely are very real, you have to know how to manage a work-from-home job in order to maintain a successful work/life balance, avoid burnout, be the best worker you can be, and really tap into all the benefits remote work has to offer. Remember to maintain a routine, designate a workspace, and minimize distractions, as well as take breaks, get out of the house, and build relationships both within your team and outside of work. Enjoy the flexibility of working remotely, but be careful not to let remote work take over your life–both your work life and your home life will thank you!
Did you know that SocialNicole is a full-scale digital agency made up of experts who work remotely? We’d love to help you take your business to the next level! Contact us to find out how to work with our team.