Ah…remote working. No dress code. No commute. No limits on where you can set up your laptop and get to work. What could be better?
Turns out, working remotely isn’t as easy as you might think. Maintaining the productivity of a formal office setting when working alone out of a home office can be a challenge, even for the most hardworking among us. A remote worker has to stay motivated and focused while also preserving a healthy work-life balance—which is a big ask. The struggle is real, but you’re not alone, and the Pressable team is here to give you some awesome remote working tips and tricks to make your life just a little easier.
1) Set a Schedule
Flexible scheduling is one of the best things about working remote. You can schedule your work around your play—maybe working a Saturday in order to take a Wednesday off so you can hit the trail or the beach when they’re less crowded.
This can easily come back to bite you when it comes to meeting a goal or making a deadline. The temptation to just sleep in or skip out on work can be strong, but there’s a solution. By setting a consistent daily schedule (and sticking to it), you can avoid the lure of taking too much time off. If 9-5, Monday through Friday isn’t your thing, then try something a little more unconventional. Maybe that means working from 6am to 2pm so you have time to hang out with your kids after school, or maybe you would rather sleep in and work into the evening. Whatever works for you, be consistent—a plan only works if you follow through!
2) Build Your Work Environment
Work somehow always finds a way to follow you home, no matter how conventional your work environment is. So imagine how difficult it can be when you actually work at home.
Again, consistency is key here. Set physical boundaries for where work stops and the rest of your life begins. Wherever your office is, it should be free of distractions. Office clutter might remind you of errands you need to run, bringing life into your workspace. On the other hand, working from the dining room table will make it harder to separate work from your living area.
It might sound monotonous, but ultimately, creating a physical work environment will allow you to have productive work hours free of distraction and off-hours free of work stresses.
3) Separate Tasks, Separate Tools
If you find yourself in need of even more work-life separation, you can go further than working from just one room in your house. Keep separate email accounts, one personal and one for work. Separate laptops or computers could help, too. Some people even recommend dressing differently work hours. While it’s tempting to stay in your PJs all day, dressing up a bit when you want to be productive could help you get in the right work mindset.
4) Find a Way to Stay Focused
While creating a consistent routine can help you stay focused during work hours, it can’t hurt to add additional productivity measures. A favorite here at Pressable is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes, during which you work on a set task. After the interval is up, reward yourself with a 3-5 minute break. Then, after four “pomodoros,” or intervals of work, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. You don’t even need the traditional tomato-shaped timer—there’s an app for that!
5) Don’t Forget to Play, Too!
Let’s face it. Working remotely can get lonely. Most of your interactions with coworkers occur over email or phone, and without establishing a work-life balance, overworking can take up time better spent with family or friends. Make sure you set aside time for yourself—you deserve to relax!
There are also a number of online resources, like Meetup, that connect remote workers living in the same area so that they can hang out with like-minded people after work. Going to events hosted by local coworking spaces can help you unwind with fun activities, and it also helps you network.
If there’s anything to take away from these tips, it’s consistency, consistency, consistency. Through building a schedule and a work environment, you will be able to maintain a healthy balance of work and life that will ultimately allow you to excel at your remote job.
If there’s anything that ties these tips together, it’s consistency. You want to make sure that no matter how you work, you maintain a healthy boundary between work and play. That is, unless you work in one of these awesome places where work and play are one in the same.