This post was most recently updated on April 17th, 2022
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
In 2020, after the sudden outbreak of a global pandemic, the majority of companies have to adjust to a completely new reality, which is, working remotely. The employees who can do their job from home expect some kind of remote work option, whether it’s a few days a week or full-time. Well, remote work wasn’t so scary after all.
We no longer follow the traditional commute or work schedule, remote work is quickly becoming one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer. Many have made their lives with the expectation that they won’t go into the office again. The freedom to work wherever you want with more flexible hours is great motivation for people who can’t stand the formal situation of office life.
Here are some types of remote jobs:
- Web designer
- Social media manager
- Virtual assistant
- Graphic designer
- Sales representative
- Customer service
- Data analyst
However, for someone who suddenly works from the office then works from home, it is a very big change.
For example, I stopped working in the office at the end of 2019 and started 2020 by working from home. Because of the habit of always prioritizing work to be completed as soon as possible, I became so focused on tasks that I forgot about other aspects of life that I should care about, especially my health. Since working from home I often sleep late and skip my meals.
For those of you who have just started working from home or decided to set up your business from home, here are my best practice for working remotely.
Make yourself visible at work
When you work in the office, you’re constantly visible to others. Your boss sees you on the regular and asks what you’re working on. You have meetings and chat with other employers. People drop on your desk and ask for your help. Remote work doesn’t have this luxury.
So, when you’re working remotely, that’s not to say you should constantly be available at all hours, but quick responses can help people see that you’re working hard. There are lots of ways to stay visible, like using Notion, setting up meetings with people on your team, and even sharing notes, documents, and tasks before and after meetings. All of these things keep you top of mind to others in your office.
Create boundaries between work and life
I’m personally guilty when working remotely. Since many of us work from home, suddenly our work and life situations merge into one never-ending saga. Wake up, check your email, sit down for breakfast while setting up meetings, keep working throughout the day, get meals ready for your children, pick them up from school, clean your house, and suddenly it’s 11 pm and we’re still working.
Boundaries between work and life get blurred for remote workers. This can be extremely unhealthy.
Unplugging is important. As remote workers, we need to create boundaries that help separate our work from regular life. Decide when you’re working, and stop once you are off. That way, you won’t work from sunrise to sunset. Or else, you will pay the price of burnout, depression, and even social isolation.
There is another side that I need to mention here. Since you work from home, your family thinks that you are always available. If this is the case, you may need to set boundaries by explaining your availability to them.
Schedule time for socializing
How often do you go out of your house in a week or a month?
When you work remotely, you miss out on the social benefits of an office. You’re alone at home, working all day, and enjoying your coffee while petting your dog. All these are enough for you to not go out once your work is done. You’re so cozy with the situation, why disturb the peace by leaving the house?
I’m an introvert. I enjoy spending time alone and that’s okay. However, there are times when I schedule a meet-up with my close friend. We go to the cinema, chat in the nearby coffee shop, window shopping, visit a bookstore, etc. I need to connect with other human beings in person.
Whatever activities you enjoy, make sure to actually do them. Put them in your planner. Ask your friends to hang out. Leave your slippers and force yourself to get out of the house.
Experiment with what makes you most productive
When we work in an office, we chat with coworkers, take coffee and tea breaks, get snacks, and make time to have lunch away from our desks. But at home, somehow these natural things start to feel as if we’re slacking off. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we should be able to sit down at our home office in the morning and work until nightfall.
The best way to escape from this trap is to experiment with what makes you most productive. I find that morning time is the best time to write my blogging content and work on my translation projects. The evening is time to catch up or engage with others or relaxing time by watching Netflix.
It’s up to you to build the best way for yourself to work remotely. Allow yourself to try different start times. Some people find that night is the most productive time, they may choose to work from different places or wear different types of clothing.
Try different break times or different ways of working, if you know you’re more productive after having a cup of coffee in the morning, you should do that.
Focus on your health
When working remotely, you’re home, so you can be in comfortable clothing, working around the clock, ordering take-out, and playing with your pet. I love staying at home. I think home is the best place for an introvert like me.
But this is not healthy. If you let it, working from home can sap your energy. A routine can help you get into healthy activities. For example, walking your dog, going to the gym with friends, or getting time in nature. Make time for these activities, even if you take a break from the workday.
Stay hydrated and make sure to exercise or get up from the screen every so often. Don’t forget about your mental health. Make sure to celebrate your achievements and don’t push yourself to burnout. Whatever it takes for you to be healthy and happy, do that.
Remote work is nothing new. But figuring out exactly how to work remotely, that’s still cutting edge. What is the best practice for you who work remotely?