How to Win at Working Remotely
The following article was written from the desk of our Director of Marketing, Madeline Grimes.
At the beginning of 2018,
I began working for a team that is completely distributed - a team that communicates often and expressively, completes tasks efficiently, and is in the know of each other's projects ad infinitum with tools such as Slack despite the separating physical miles. I could catch up on chores during breaks, not have to worry about spending money on lunch outings, focus without interruptions, skip the rush hour traffic, and work in my pajamas if I wanted to - how could I not bask in the comfortability of working from my own couch?
Although my rather introverted nature did not mind the above, the common obstacles of working from home began to take root including distraction, overworking, and loneliness (I even adopted a cat to assist in remedying this side effect). If you've grown weary from working remotely, consider the following to lift your spirits and productivity.
- Develop a routine and stick to it. Not an uncommon word of advice, but it can be tempting to roll out of bed and remain in your most comfortable clothes if you're not expecting any face-to-face meetings or video calls. Creating a schedule to regularly wake up, take a moment to stretch and enjoy your morning, and then begin your workday not only allows for a greater sense of preparedness for the day, but can also contribute to lower stress, sustained mental and physical health, and a more restful night's sleep.
- Don't skimp on exercise. Also difficult to avoid: the ever-present couch, Netflix shows, and comfortabilities of not having to leave the walls of your home or apartment if your fridge is stocked. Taking the time to not only step away from your work, but to truly get up and move - even if it's just a trip to the mailbox or small set of push-ups - is crucial to re-energize your body and mind when others are not around for the occasional encouragement to do so. What's more, walking for just five minutes every hour can lift your mood, combat dull bursts of hunger, and even combat diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Plan social outings and ways to meet people. Without physically-present co-workers, bouts of loneliness can be difficult to avoid no matter the amount of alone time you typically enjoy. Initiating lunch with a friend, attending local events, or simply choosing to work in communal areas such as parks and coffee shops every so often can create a noticeable difference in mood and healthy levels of in-person interaction.
Get to know your team on a personal basis. You may get together with your co-workers every so often to collaborate or (like me) have met a very small percentage of your team in person. Getting to know those you work with every day beyond the scope of work-related matters can be initiatives as small as taking a virtual coffee break, engaging in friendly competition on fitness tracking apps, or creating a #life Slack channel (weekend plans, anyone?).
Schedule breaks and general timeframes in which to work. When having the freedom to choose where and even when you work, it can be difficult to separate time and energy dedicated to your duties - or what you could get ahead on for the next day - and time to close the computer and devote attention to other people, projects, passions. Although many appreciate the fluid intertwinement of work and life, I have found my focus and productivity greatly increases when I had both physically partitioned my workspace from the rest of where life is lived as well as set a general timeframe that works best for my team in differing timezones.
Explore co-working spaces. If you find that working from home or coffee shops isn't for you, co-working spaces ranging from high-rise buildings to rustic lounges to everything in between serve as an excellent alternative. Available around the world and in multiple price ranges, these shared offices can be a great way to become motivated by those working around you, meet and form partnerships with other remote workers in your city, and assist in compartmentalizing an environment that promotes your wellness and productivity. Interested? Check out some of the best co-working spaces in the United States here.
What did I miss? Have these tactics helped you, or have the opposite proven true to your optimal work setting and lifestyle? I'm interested - comment on this post to share what works for you.