Remote working, or working from home, sounds like bliss. In the beginning, I imagined remote working looked like laying on your couch, catching up with Lorraine, then Phil and Holly. However, the reality of remote working is very different.
To work from home or any other type of flexible working, you have to have discipline, and you have got to be motivated. When the eagle eye of your boss isn’t on you, you need to be your own boss and ensure that you complete your workload. Thankfully, though, there are some remote working essentials that anyone can use to stay motivated and disciplined.
My Essentials for Remote Working
A decent office or workspace
For a long time, I’ve lived in a three-bed house with my wife and two kids; I couldn’t have an office. So I converted a shed in my garden. It’s small; I have a bookcase with all the books I want to read this year, being propped up by all the books I wanted to read last year. I’ve printed out some famous quotes and stuck them to the wall—a chair for when I don’t fancy working at my desk. And a punch bag, because hitting it gets me fired up. I have set up my office to be quiet and full of things that inspire me. I love working in my office, but I love shutting the door to it and walking away even more. The moment I shut the door to my office, my workday is over, my commute home is a stroll through the garden. I open my house door and then do my very best to relax for the evening.
A good office doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You don’t need a massive desk, lots of filing cabinets or anything like that. You need a space that you feel comfortable remotely working in. I know that some people don’t have access to a shed or spare room; I didn’t for a long time. Something that helped me when I was working remotely in my kitchen was to have my workspace cleared when I wasn’t working. I put my laptop and books in the corner of the room so that I couldn’t see them. Just by doing that, you can forget about work while you’re relaxing.
A business phone schedule
Whether you work for yourself or a business that is letting you work from home, setting boundaries around when you respond is essential. As someone who works from home constantly, it can be hard to switch off. If it’s 10 pm and my wife and I are relaxing on the couch, and I receive an email, I’d look at it. At least I used to check those emails until I turned off notification after 6 pm. If I need to dip in, I do, but I’m not getting pulled to it with messages beeping that make me feel I have to look.
I came across this message at the bottom of an email recently that I thought worked
“My working day may not be your working day. Please do not feel obliged to reply to this email outside of your normal working hours.” Anonymous, The Internet 🙂
I really should add this to mine.
If you’re new to remote working, you may fancy staying at home for much of the workday. However, I can say from experience, working from home all day every day gets distracting quickly. If you feel yourself getting distracted, move work locations. Of course, in the current climate, working from a coffee shop, for example, may not be suitable. However, most smartphones nowadays allow you to connect your laptop to the internet via a hotspot. So, you could take your laptop to a local park and work there. Or work in the garden weather permitting. Whenever I work somewhere other than my office or my own home, my productivity seems to go up. I don’t work from different locations much, but when I need a break from my routine, it helps.
Take your breaks
As a remote worker, taking breaks always seems a bit odd. After all, you’re not in an office environment, so do you need a break? Well, yes, your mind certainly needs a break. I find taking a few breaks throughout the day helps clear my mind. Get out of the house, grab a coffee, go for a walk or a run. Meet up with your friends. Say yes to invitations. If you’re sitting alone working at home for eight hours a day, you will get lonely and bored, so try new things, meet old friends, they’re probably working remotely now too!
Get a good laptop
Trust me, having worked on an ancient, very slow laptop for years, your life and time are far more critical to you than the money it will cost for a good quality laptop. The time you save will make you the money back!
Get a good chair
You’re probably sitting on your backside for 8 hours a day, and you don’t want that numb bum in an hour. Get a good chair that supports your spine and doesn’t fatigue you. Your posture is so important; a dining room chair is not suitable for posture or your bum! Oh, and trust me, a pillow on a dining room chair doesn’t cut it.
Use the technology at your fingertips
There are so many productivity apps and programmes available now that are amazing and will keep you on track throughout the day. I use Evernote to make to-do lists and jot down ideas because it links to my laptop and phone easily. Some apps allow you to set reminders for things you have to get done throughout the day. Oh, and please install Grammarly on your laptop. It’s free and is the easiest way to get your spelling and grammar perfect in anything you write!
Remote working is fantastic. The ability to work flexibly from my home has changed my life for the better. I certainly wouldn’t work in an office ever again, at least not full time. However, staying motivated to work at home can be a challenge. So, make sure you have space where you can work, make sure you aren’t working every waking hour and get a good chair, your bum will thank you for it!