How to make the most of remote working
More and more of us work remotely. For some, remote working is their dream come true. They don’t want to wake up at six just so they can get a seat on the train. They’d rather roll out of bed at nine and get straight to work while in their Spiderman pyjamas.
For others, it’s a tricky prospect. The early morning commutes, the smart clothes, and the ordered office environment is what makes and keeps them productive. It’s not just part of their routine, it’s their entire routine. Without it, they find it hard to be disciplined and worry about the temptations of Netflix, Amazon Prime and the Playstation 4, lurking just a few feet away. Here, in the first of two articles, are a few tips on how you can make the most of remote work.
Make a schedule
If you work from nine to five then you don’t need to worry. However, a lot of remote workers have to make their own schedule, which can be easier said than done. What’s best is to schedule work in a way that works for you the best. If you’re someone who’s most productive in the morning, like a true ‘Master of the Universe’, then schedule your hardest tasks first thing. If you’re more of a night owl, then sleep in, chill out and get to work when the sun goes down.
One of the best things about working from home is that you can work how you want without the worry of upsetting co-workers. If you’re a designer that finds that listening to Mozart at full blast gets your creative juices flowing, then stick on Symphony 25 in G minor and crank it up to 11! Or maybe you work better with old episodes of Game of Thrones on in the background. Whatever it is that helps you to work better, make sure to incorporate these processes in your work schedule.
Switch up your scenery
As great a prospect as working from home sounds, the novelty can wear off for some. So instead of spending hours staring at the ceiling, why not switch up the scenery. It may be a total cliche, but a roomy coffee shop with a comfy work space and a good Wi-Fi connection is a great place to get work done. Or, if you live in or near the city, why not check out a co-working space? These serviced office spaces are popular with remote workers, especially with those who’d rather work in a more professional setting.
One of the advantages of remote working is you don’t have to deal with co-workers who want to bend your ear every half hour to talk about last night’s episode of House of Cards or some other ‘must-watch’ TV show. However, these co-workers, whether you like them or not, might be doing you a favor. Research shows that people who take regular breaks tend to be more productive. So makes sure that you include plenty of breaks into your work schedule, and keep those batteries charged!
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Keep in contact
One of the big downsides (or upsides, depending on your personality) of remote work is that you’re not face-to-face with your co-workers. It can be problematic, especially if you’re part of a team. To overcome this problem make sure you and your colleagues are all using the same chat program. Create a chat group, schedule regular catch-ups (at the start and end of the week), and be as engaged as much as you can. Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t collaborate as well as if you were in an office.
Try and be social
If you’re a solitary type who’s happiest when alone, then remote work is an ideal situation. However, if you’re not that way inclined, it can get pretty lonely. It’s important that you don’t isolate yourself. You need to make sure that you schedule social interactions. It could be a regular lunch date with a close friend, a video call with a loved one abroad or a simply a group exercise class. You need to guard against ‘cabin fever’, not just for your piece of mind but your productivity also.
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Don’t get disturbed
Yes, it’s important to be social. Yes, it’s important to keep in regular contact. But sometimes you need to drop off the grid. Some team members, especially ones you get on well with, can be distracting. You know how it goes. You’ve to meet a 5pm deadline but every two minutes you get another message from your co-worker about last night’s Game of Thrones episode. It can be pretty frustrating, especially if you’re tempted to chime in. So next time, instead of getting distracted by dragons and white walkers, ‘mute’ the group chat or use a ‘Do not disturb’ function, to let your colleagues know that you’re busy at work.