When you imagine a remote work lifestyle, you think about influencers who work from exotic locations, start their day whenever they want, work in their PJs, and binge-watch Netflix anytime they feel like it.
However, the reality doesn’t really match up to that.
While you do have the freedom to do everything we’ve mentioned above, it may not always be the most efficient way to work remotely.
Remote work is vastly different from working from the office and has a whole different set of requirements that you need to take care of.
This blog will share seven tips to help your transition into remote work smooth and make your work-life balance a bit more healthy and happy.
7 Tips to Be Successful as a New Remote Worker
Create a regular work schedule.
We’ve included this as the first tip because it’s the most crucial one. You may not go to the office anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you should let go of the schedule you followed before.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
With remote work, it’s critical to create a regular schedule and stick to it. Establish clear guidelines for when you start your work and when you wrap up your day to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Consistency is a key aspect that helps remote workers get into the right mindset to be productive each day.
But how do you create a schedule… and stick to it?
We’ve found that the best way to create a consistent schedule is to pretend that you actually need to go somewhere. Wake up at the time you said you would, and promise yourself you won’t hit the snooze button.
Shower and get ready as you would for a normal workday.
And then get to work and see the difference yourself.
It’s easier to be productive and focus your mind right off the gate when you’ve walked through familiar steps for a typical workday.
But that being said, one of the primary benefits of remote work is flexibility. You may have to extend your workday because you had some urgent personal errands to run, or maybe get an early start to collaborate with a coworker at a different timezone.
During such days, be sure to sleep in a bit the next day or wrap up your workday earlier than usual to make up for it.
There are several benefits of maintaining a consistent work schedule every day:
- It helps you understand how much work you can realistically finish during your work hours.
- It ensures you have the time to work through your high-priority tasks.
- It is easier to accommodate extra time within your schedule if some unexpected work is sent your way.
- You will have enough time for your friends and family.
- It helps remote workers have time for themselves where they can take up some hobbies and maintain a better work-life balance.
Here’s another thing.
Following a consistent schedule doesn’t just apply to the mornings.
Successful remote workers have regular schedules set for the entire day.
For example, stick to the time you eat your lunch every day. If you went to the gym or worked out at a certain time, follow that schedule when you work from home.
Here are a few other strategies that you can implement to maintain a consistent schedule:
- Block time for certain activities. There are always things that you do, errands you have to run every day. It could be walking your dog, dropping your kids off at school, or working out. Blocking out time for them in your calendar ensures that you don’t skip these activities and also prevents your coworkers from scheduling meetings during these hours.
- Communicate your office hours with coworkers. Decide your regular work hours, and let your manager and team members know of your schedule. Your coworkers should know when you’re available for collaboration and meetings to work efficiently. Furthermore, when your colleagues are aware of your schedule, it adds an additional layer of accountability.
Familiarize yourself with the Tech tools you are expected to use
Being a part of a virtual team means remote workers need to have the knowledge to work with specific applications and tools.
There are the usual video conferencing tools like Google Meet or Zoom and business communication platforms like Slack, but you may have to learn to work with other specialized tools like Jira or Google Analytics, depending on your job role.
Furthermore, your company may use particular tools for training and onboarding when you join the team.
Most remote working professionals agree that their company’s training program leveraged a learning management system (LMS) for effective training. This is probably the first tool you’ll come across as a new hire.
Therefore, ask your manager about the tools you’ll be expected to use and develop digital collaboration capabilities by learning to work with them.
While it may seem intimidating at first, it’s not hard to familiarize yourself with these platforms.
Build a dedicated office space
We have all worked from the kitchen table while munching on a sandwich or sunk into our living room couch. Since we’re working from home, it’s challenging to maintain a strict boundary between our personal and professional life these days.
Here’s the thing.
Working and living in the same space is a recipe for disaster, especially in the long run.
While it may not seem like a big deal, in the beginning, it can snowball into a scenario where you can’t separate one from another.
People develop instinctive cognitive biases about common physical spaces around them. We may not pay particular attention to this, but it helps us maintain order and a sense of purpose for each area.
Here’s the thing.
A bedroom or a kitchen is simply a room with four walls and a ceiling. We give these spaces a particular purpose. Therefore, every time you enter a room, the appearance/layout of the room drives you to use it for the purpose it was designed for.
Working from different areas blurs the purpose of these physical spaces and affects the way your mind perceives them.
This is why it’s easy for you to get distracted when you’re working from your bedroom or kitchen table — they’re not designed to help you focus.
Here are some reasons why a dedicated workspace is crucial when working from home.
1. It reduces distractions and helps you focus
A dedicated office space ensures that you’re physically separated from the personal aspect of your life. It replicates the feeling you have when you work from your desk at the office.
It eliminates the temptation to do things that aren’t related to work and adds a sense of legitimacy to your work environment.
You won’t be as tempted to surf through social media or have an impromptu snack since you’re at your workstation and are focused on your tasks.
2. It improves your productivity
When you’re working, it’s a good practice to have all your work-related resources accessible to you when you need them.
If you don’t have a dedicated workstation, your work-related resources will be scattered throughout the house. And if you have to stop by your kitchen to pick up a file, are you telling me you won’t be tempted to make yourself a quick snack?
A dedicated workspace helps keep your workday consistent and stick to your regular routine.
When all your things are available to you in an organized and orderly manner, it will impact your productivity and performance.
3. It encourages you to be more disciplined
Since a dedicated workspace allows fewer distractions, it encourages people to be more disciplined and get their work done.
Whether you live with your family or roommates, there will be things that will inevitably take your attention away from work.
A dedicated workspace instinctively encourages you to set boundaries for yourself and be more mindful of how you work within this space.
4. You hurt your health working from anywhere and everywhere
When you work from your dining table, couch, bean bag, or any other place, you don’t focus on your posture.
Working for hours in an incorrect posture leads to body ache, neck pain, cramps, and headaches, amongst other health effects.
These areas are not built for people to sit and work for long hours.
Picking an ergonomic chair and table for your office work can significantly impact your physical and mental health.
Tip: Place your laptop or desktop just an arm’s length away, just above your eye level, to reduce eye strain and headaches.
5. It helps with your work-life balance
Working from your living room or bedroom makes it easier to overwork yourself because of the lack of mental disconnect between your personal and professional life.
A physical boundary makes it easier to draw firm boundaries between your work and personal life.
1. Schedule breaks
More often than not, remote workers forget to take their lunch or stretch their legs with a quick walk. This is because, without the rhythm of a workplace around them, it’s very easy to get into a rut and keep working continuously.
However, it’s critical to give yourself some time to walk away from your laptop and mobile during your workday. This break could just be your lunch hour and two short 15 to 20-minute intervals during the day.
You can even set a reminder or pencil it in your calendar to remind yourself to take your breaks.
When you work on your desk, staring at the computer for hours, it’s all the more critical to stand up and move around to help your blood circulation every so often — at least once every hour.
It also helps if you move your eyes away from your screen regularly. Nothing too much, even a micro-break for 20 seconds can help you focus and cause less strain.
2. Don’t forget self-care
Self-care is essential to improving your mental health and happiness as a remote worker. It actively takes your attention away from work, which boosts your productivity during work hours, reduces stress, and makes you feel much happier with your work and life.
Therefore, do things like meditation or yoga. Maybe read a chapter or two of a novel, catch up with your friends and family, or simply turn on some music and dance — anything that works for you!
Here are a few virtual experiences you can host for yourself and your team to encourage self-care.
This interactive workshop will help your team explore different ways they can take breaks during their workdays.
Dr. Alex Lai and Dr. Nirja Joshi, The WorkWell Doctors, will encourage people to understand their relationship with digital devices and how unhealthy tech use can affect their physical and mental well-being.
This relaxing session will help you and your coworkers discover ways to define healthy boundaries between work and personal life.
Remote work requires people to sit and work in front of their laptops for hours on end. It’s not uncommon for people working remotely to face neck and body pain issues.
Nick Torry is accredited in Japanese Acupressure and Raynor Naturopathic Massage.
During this workshop, Nick will teach you strategies and techniques that you can use on yourself to increase circulation, release stress and tension, and feel more alert and alive.
You can use these fun and effective routines every day to release stress from your body and incorporate some breathing and mindfulness techniques to maintain peace within your body and mind.
3. Socialize with your coworkers
Remote work can be a lonely lifestyle. People have admitted to feeling lonely, isolated, and disconnected.
Therefore, it’s critical to socialize with your coworkers by scheduling virtual coffee sessions or lunch dates from time to time.
With remote work, it’s vital to be proactive about nurturing relationships. Socializing with team members increases the efficiency of collaboration and builds deeper relationships.
However, these sessions might get a little awkward if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there may be no coming back from that.
Therefore, it’s a smart idea to conduct virtual experiences with a fun agenda that will encourage your team to have fun with each other outside a work setting.
Avva’s Harry “PLOT”ter Magic Mystery Team Challenge (UK & US) is a fun virtual mystery challenge where your team will be divided into small groups to dig out the truth and solve the case.
They will be put into breakout rooms to interrogate suspects, analyze the evidence, and piece together what happened!
Another excellent interactive virtual experience is the Virtual Lego Building Challenge (UK & US). The participants will have fun during a series of engaging activities where they can build and share their lego models with their team members.
The hosts will spice things up by introducing creative and technical challenges!
5. End your day with a routine
The best way to create a strict boundary between your professional and personal life is to have a fixed routine to end your workday.
It could be as simple as signing off from your business messaging application or scheduling your workout session.
Whatever you choose, it’s critical to do it consistently to mark the end of your workday.
Now that you’re working from home, you’ve more flexibility to do things your way. However, with this added sense of freedom comes greater responsibility.
The seven tips we’ve mentioned in this blog will help you transition smoothly into a remote work lifestyle and help you be a successful and efficient remote worker.
Try them out for yourself and notice the difference they have in your remote working lifestyle!