By Elizabeth Dubos
Has COVID-19 displaced you from your normal work environment? Are you new to working remotely? Do you feel discombobulated and nervous about how you’re going to succeed working out of your house? First off, it’s alright to feel nervous because you’re experiencing something new for the first time. I started my remote journey eight years ago in an online educational environment. I obtained a high school diploma and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design 100% remotely. When I wasn’t working on school projects I was doing work remotely as designer and writer. One of the biggest things I learned from working remotely is that there’s no wrong way because everyone’s different. You have to experiment with different methods in order to find out what works best for you. It takes time, but it’s worth it because once you find out what works, you’ll be happier and grateful for remote work. Here are some of my tips and tricks that helped me succeed in a remote environment.
1. Find a permanent workspace. Never work in your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a space kept for peace, relaxation, and sleep. If possible, try using a spare room or a porch. Or get a clothes rack and put a curtain up. A workspace helps you divide your work from your personal life, so it doesn’t consume you. For instance, if a project is frustrating you, you can take a moment and “step out of the office” to regroup and gather your thoughts. I love having a separate workspace for organizational purposes. Don’t be afraid to personalize your workspace either; I put up photos of my pets.
2. Invest in quality products. A functional home office includes a desk, desk organizers, chair, printer, scanner, fax, lamps, filing cabinets, microphone, and most importantly a computer. It may be a scary investment, but it’s worth it when you’re comfortable and organized, so you can effectively get the job done on time.
3. Don’t forget about downtime. It can be frustrating to learn how to work remotely when you’ve never done it before. All that frustration can build up and cause negative effects on your mental and physical health. Downtime can be time for no electronics, a hobby, or creating an at-home-spa evening for yourself. Invest more in a hobby like photography, blogging, crossword puzzles, yoga or video games. A hobby will be a great way to distract yourself from overworking and allow you to de-stress.
4. Set office hours. This will help ensure you don’t under or overwork yourself. If you need to set up meetings, you can tell others when you’re available. It’s especially important to schedule breaks to avoid burning yourself out.
5. Get a planner and wall calendar. A planner will help you organize the tasks you need to complete on certain days and a wall calendar will help track your progress.
6. Schedule exercise. You can invest in at-home gym equipment such as weights or cardio machines. You can do various YouTube exercise videos. You can walk your dog or push the baby in the stroller. Be sure you’re exercising because you’re going to be sitting predominately. When you sit for long periods of time your body will start to hurt. If you stare at a computer screen for long hours you can develop a hump in your neck. Please avoid the chiropractor by exercising for 30 minutes a day.
7. Get dressed. It may be very tempting to do work in your pajamas, but after a while it can lower your self-esteem. Plus, if you get a surprise Skype call you don’t want to look unprofessional. I invested in leisure activewear because it’s comfortable, lightweight, and well-put together.
8. Discover your productivity periods. If you’re a night owl or morning person, embrace it! You shouldn’t force yourself to work during hours you’re not feeling motivated because it will affect your work.
9. Set ground rules with people in your space. Most remote workers live with their families. It’s important to set rules so they can understand the boundaries between working and personal time. For example, tell them your work hours and when your lunch break is so that if they need anything, they can speak with you during your break. It may be hard to enforce the rules because you want to help the ones you love, but your work is important as well.
10. Invest in quality food. It’s very easy to fall into snacking throughout the day because it’s quick and easy to grab when you’re working hard. I highly recommend investing in protein drinks and meal prepping the night before. Be sure you get enough protein to keep your brain sharp.
I hope these tips will help you; comment below if they did!
Edited by Cortney Rowe