Working from home is becoming more common, and perhaps it isn't as romantic as you thought it'd be.
Remote work life has its perks but has undoubtedly been glorified by social media. Going to a cool different coffee shop every day sounds great until the reality sets in of slow wifi, environmental distractions, and your third cup of $5 coffee.
If you follow Remote Year, you'll see posts like this:
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Do you see anything 'off' about this picture? I can barely see my computer screen when I go sit on the porch (which may be why the computer above isn't on).
Casually working at the beach may be the expectation but here is the reality for most:
Dress for the job you want- even at home. Studies have shown that the way you dress impacts your mood, productivity, and the way you view yourself. It's a reminder of the task at hand and the company culture you're part of. Looking office-ready will also help those around you respect your time and not be so tempted to interrupt or distract you.
Do it: For one week, try getting up and getting dressed to impress. Even if the only one around to impress is yourself or the cat. One remote worker tried this for a week and here's what happened.
Make a list at the beginning of the day of what needs to get done. It helps me to share this list verbally or via Slack with at least one coworker. This creates accountability and also lets others know what's on your plate. Sharing what you're working on can also be an opportunity for clarification of tasks that need prioritized or possibly put on hold.
Do it: Take a few minutes at the beginning of the day and get a clear focus on your objectives for the day and week. If you use a task management system like Wrike, it's pretty easy to see upcoming deadlines and what needs to be prioritized, but it still helps me to have a small physical checklist on a piece of paper next to my computer. It's a tab that never gets lost in the shuffle.
"86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone" [fundera], but it can feel isolating if you're not making it a point to connect with your team. Slack has video conferencing, and Google Hangout calendar invites make it easy to stay connected.
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Do it: Next time there's a very active discussion via Slack or an email that has ping-ponged back and forth, hop on a video call. Issues get resolved faster, a laugh erupts more easily, and you'll feel closer to the team.
Design a workspace, big or small that inspires you and minimizes distraction. It also helps to shut a door to create a physical separation. As I mentioned earlier, getting out of your super comfy gym clothes and off your couch creates this separation.
Do it: If your space isn't inspiring you, make a change. Here are some home office ideas to get you started- even if your home office is the corner of your living room.
Routine breaks, walks, and lunches allow your day to flow “normally” as you might in an actual office setting. When you're on the clock at home, there can be guilt associated with leaving your work to take a break, but you are entitled to it. Here are times you should sign off and take a break.
Do it: Work full steam in the morning with the knowledge that you will turn off at lunchtime. Make your co-workers aware of when you will be reachable, and use your breaks to reset and recharge for the rest of the day.
It doesn’t matter what role you have in your company you should make a constant effort to network over coffee, lunch or attend events so that you’re getting outside influences. Online networks count, but you don’t want to forget how to socialize professionally once you’re out from behind your screen.
Do it: There are so many local networking opportunities. Schedule one a week and make it happen.
Want to pitch the idea of working from home to your boss? Read this piece of advice from our Marketing Strategist, Josh, Winning with Remote Workers.