2020 has been my first-ever venture into working remotely. (I’m sure this is the case for many of you reading this post as well!) I actually really like it. However, speaking to my coworkers, friends and family, it seems like there are mixed feelings about it. Some people love it, others hate it and some are in between. A lot of my friends have told me they feel more productive at the office. For me, I actually feel more productive at home because there are less distractions.
As more and more of us continue to stay working from home for the rest of the year and into 2021, I have put together some remote working tips and insights that have worked for me. I hope these help you. If you have any of your own advice to share, please let me know! 🙂
Create a Dedicated Work Space
This one is important. Create a separate “office” space in your home that is dedicated to work and is entirely separate from the rest of your space. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I live in a studio apartment, so I don’t have the ability to put my computer in an entirely separate room, but I’ve set my desk up in a corner that is by window and facing away from my TV and the rest of my living space. I’ve set up some cute plants and have my notebook and pens next to me for easy access. I’m more motivated and “in the zone” when I sit at my desk in my “office” as opposed to trying to work from my couch or bed.
These past several months have given me a new appreciation for nature like I’ve never had before. Getting some fresh air and sunshine in the park is the perfect antidote for sitting inside all day! I like to get outside at least once (ideally twice!) each day for a workout, quick walk or errand. It always gives me a nice boost of energy to get outside and is a nice way to break up the workday.
Take a few mini-breaks (at least one!) throughout the day to give your brain some rest. Otherwise, it can be easy to end up “chained” to your desk all day and that’s not good for your brain or body! By taking some mini-breaks, you gain more control over your day, and make more time for de-stressing or doing something you enjoy, whether it’s a quick walk, reading a few pages of a good book or doing some breath work or meditation.
Make Sure Your Setup is Actually Comfortable
I learned this the hard way after my first week of working from home. Previously, I had a desk and chair in my apartment for the occasional times that I needed to work remotely, but I never had put much thought into the comfort level of the setup because it didn’t get a lot of use. After a full week of remote working in March, I quickly realized my setup was not the most ergonomic. I was hunching over my keyboard to work on my laptop, resulting in some pretty bad neck and shoulder pain. I ended up buying a few home office things from Amazon to make my “office” a bit more comfortable and it was a total game-changer! Something as simple as a laptop stand to get my screen up to eye level made such a difference for me. I’m no longer dealing with neck and shoulder pain.
Try Doing Some Calls Walking, Pacing or Standing
Lately when I can, I try to do some of my work conference calls while walking, pacing or standing. It’s a good way to get a mini-energy boost and is a nice change from constantly sitting at a desk! It’s just nice to change it up.
Create An End-of-Day Ritual
I have started doing this lately to signal to myself that it’s the end of the workday and it’s time for me to shut off “work mode.” It can be easy to get wrapped up working or checking emails all the time when you’re at home. My new end-of-day ritual is simple: when I’m done getting my work done for the day, I simply shut my laptop and walk away from my desk. Sure, I will still be on my phone later in the night and end up checking emails here and there, but by simply having my laptop shut, it makes me so much less likely to go up to my computer and want to look at emails or check something. In the pre-covid times, at the end of my workday, I would physically leave the office building, but since I’m no longer going through that process, I realized it was important to find a replacement for this end-of-day signal to remind myself that the workday is now over. I have also been trying to take quick walks at the end of the day (when it’s nice out), which has been a good way to decompress.
Set Boundaries for Emails
I admit I’m not always the best at this, but I do really try to set boundaries when it comes to work emails. I try not to constantly check emails outside of the traditional “work hours,” and I especially make a point to avoid sending emails to my team because I don’t want them to feel obligated to respond or do work outside of work hours. Ultimately, this can really lead to serious burnout, so it’s important to recognize it when it happens and understand that part of functioning best at work means you need to take care of yourself and get some downtime, too!