Working remote can provide so many benefits! There can be more flexibility in your schedule, quality time with family, and a shorter commute each day. Yet, exhaustion can occur from countless zoom calls, excess screen time and communication challenges. Remote work is not always easy, but it is possible to be productive while also finding that balance! I’m sharing my favorite remote work hacks to help make your work from home lifestyle a bit easier.
Have a Back-Up WiFi Plan
After navigating endless wifi challenges from the unstable internet that comes working in a rural location or a cafe, I’ve learned the importance of a reliable wifi back-up plan. Give yourself peace of mind by having a back-up plan ready. Unexpected interruption in your connection when leading that important Zoom meeting or trying to make a deadline, is the worst! Here are some back-up wifi options:
- Use tethering to your phone to provide back-up connectivity. You can use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot to provide WiFi connectivity to your computer. Be sure to check that your service provider allows it and that you have enough cellular data to make this a viable option.
- Purchase a wireless mobile hotspot. A MiFi, also known as a mobile hotspot, is a device that shares cellular data over its own wireless network. These devices are especially useful for working while traveling internationally. Here is a great article that details out different options.
I mean…everything! Put it all in your calendar- your meetings, your designated work time, your lunches, your workouts, your breaks, all of it. If you can plan it out before the week begins, great. If you can plan it out the morning of, also great. Why?
- You have a clear idea of how your day will go before it gets started (mental preparation).
- The calendar reminders will alert you when it’s time to shift gears, take a break, or get some movement in your day.
- If you share your calendar amongst your team, they’ll know when it’s best to contact you.
- Sticking to your calendar and blocks is a great time management tool.
Not only can this help you to use your time productively, but it can also support you in taking the much-needed time in the day for YOU. By including those blocks of time for ‘you time’ like a workout, meditation, lunch with a friend, or a passion project, you’re ensuring you get the time in your day to refresh and refuel.
Have a Designated Workspace
Just as you want to make your home a place you enjoy living, make your workspace a place you enjoy working. As a remote worker, your personal life and work-life strangely collide. The key is to create a separation for your workspace within your home. If you have a separate room for an office, that is a great way to create a designated space. If not, find a well-lit corner of a room that you feel can provide the privacy and comfort needed to work.
Ensure that your workspace is set up to support your mood and productivity. You can do this by finding a space with great lighting, separated from distractions, and that is ergonomically friendly. That means no setup that requires you to hunch over your laptop on your bed or in a painful wooden chair all-day. It’s worth investing in upgrading your chair and desk arrangement to provide that comfort. Here is a helpful article for some ergonomics 101 to boost your work setup within the home.
It’s also important to add things to your space that help boost your mood and productivity. This can look different for everyone but here are some tips to help you create a space that you love.
- Add plants, flowers, or candles to brighten your space.
- Move your space to somewhere that fills with a lot of natural light.
- Decorate your workspace with photos.
- Add organizational tools to keep your space clean and support your productivity. This could look like a bulletin board, whiteboard, shelves, pencil cup. filing cabinet, etc.
Easier said than done, right? Boundaries take practice but once you master them, you’ll be amazed by the impact they can create. When you have everything needed to work within your home’s comfort, it’s easy to blur the separation between work and outside life. It can often feel convenient to reopen the laptop, respond to a slack message, or tweak that meeting document. Yet, working from home or remotely does not mean you’re available every waking hour of the day.
The key is to know (or set) your designated work hours, communicate effectively across your team, and truly log off at the end of each workday. Create a habit of logging off and disconnecting at the end of the day. You can do this by silencing all notifications, putting the laptop away, and separating from your dedicated workspace. You have the power to set the proper expectations and not be overly available. It’s essential to protect this much needed time for yourself away from work to avoid burnout.
Communicate, communicate, and overcommunicate. When you lack face-face communication and all updates are made by virtual means, clear communication is key. You want to ensure that all details are received via the best system possible. Ensure that you know the best communication channels amongst your team and when to use them (i.e. slack, email, text, call). Be aware of how your team operates and the best medium for each circumstance.
Also, ensure that you communicate with urgency when needed. For example, if you’re sending a request on a tight deadline, flag it as urgent in the email subject line or slack message. Reiterate any and all important details in your messages to be 100% sure that nothing is confused or misinterpreted. Finally, some things are more efficient to chat out verbally rather than in writing. In that case, use Zoom or a call with your team member to discuss it. With remote communication, it’s better to overdo it than underdo it, air on the side of caution.
While I love working remotely, I realize that it’s not the ideal situation for all. It can be challenging to find the proper balance and separation between work and personal life. I hope these tips help make remote work more manageable and enjoyable for you to adapt to working in this new normal. I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom by John Wooden: “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”