Remote work is becoming a more and more popular option for individuals and companies around the world. According to a 2018 FlexJobs survey, 3.9 million Americans reported either telecommuting part- or full-time. This trend makes sense, since advanced technologies make reporting to a physical office obsolete for many occupations.
There are many benefits to remote work: reduced commute times, increased productivity, and in many cases, increased employee happiness. But remote work isn’t always a walk in the park.
If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or otherwise remote employee, you may already know the challenges of remote work. That’s why we decided to gather our top tips for working remotely, so you can stay on track even when you’re not in the office:
Find your ideal workspace
Where you work can determine how productive and happy you’ll be in the workday. Do you work best with ambient noise, or a completely quiet space? Knowing these things will help you find the perfect space to find your focus.
While it may be tempting to lounge on the couch with your laptop, seeing unfinished chores around the house may be distracting when you’re trying to work. Instead, find a remote-friendly workspace outside of your house, so you won’t get distracted by unfolded laundry.
Schedule your day
Not working in the physical space as the rest of your team may make it hard to structure your day. A good solution to this is to set a daily schedule of your tasks. This may look something like: “9am -10am: check emails. 10am -10:30am: client project #1…” etc. Adding structure to your day will remind you to stay on task, even when no one reminding you to.
Find a community
Remote work can be lonely – most of your communication is done through a screen, and you don’t have the same water-cooler chats that you would in a regular office. To break out of hermit mode, spend time in a communal space – such as a coworking space – where you can socialize and network with other location-independent people.
Have a work wardrobe
Just as choosing the right workspace can help you get in the zone, so can wearing the right clothes. Wearing designated “work clothes” can subconsciously signal to your brain that it’s time to work. While it may be tempting to stay in your PJ’s all day, wearing clothes that signal “sleep time” isn’t ideal for productivity. Instead, choose structured yet comfortable clothing – the beauty of remote work is not having to stiff workwear, after all.
When you’re not in an office, it can be easy to resort to a mid-day YouTube video or a constant pursuit of snacks. To minimize distractions, take steps to avoid procrastination. This can be putting your phone in a drawer or preparing meals to prevent constant grazing.
With remote work, you can’t pop into a colleague’s office to discuss a project. To maintain communication when you’re not in the office, make sure to set designated times to check Slack and email.