I’ve been working from home, or working remotely, for almost an entire YEAR! It’s flown by, but honestly, just a few weeks ago, I realized that I’ve never had a job that let its employees work from home.
I went to a conference last month, and I heard lots of chatter about how difficult it is when some employees work remotely and some don’t, and how some just just require everyone to be in the office.
To some extent, I can see both sides of this, but I love working from home, and honestly, I cannot imagine a scenario that would put me in an office ever again. It’s just not for me.
But, there is a trick to working from home. So, I wanted to list out some of the things I’ve learned over these last 10 months. Here they are, my tips for working from home:
Have a designated workspace
One of the first things I did when I started working from home is actually set up a desk. I have always had a desk in my apartment, but I rarely used it, so it was time to get a real set-up going. I got a new, comfortable desk chair, and put supplies I actually used on the desk, plus fun things like a lava lamp and a yummy candle. This space helps me stay focused, especially when I have deadlines, and if I have a video call, the “background” is a safe view of my kitchen (as opposed to my headboard or a stack of pillows).
Set your work hours
This is probably one of the most important parts of working from home. Setting your hours is a way to plan your day and hopefully avoid sitting at your desk from sun-up to sun-down. These hours can be any hours — that’s the perk of working from home! You can work certain hours on different days, or work a flex week. My hours are based around deadlines, and also productivity. I tend to get tired after lunch, so I start work by 6am. I wouldn’t recommend working on the weekend, but let’s face it, it happens, and when it does, I try to set a cut-off time so I can still enjoy a break.
Make time to get outside
I don’t have kids or a partner, so as sad as it sounds, I could stay holed up in my apartment for days without stepping foot outside. Obviously, that’s not ideal, but given the stacks of work on my to-do list, it’s a pretty real problem for me. So, I really try to get to yoga or at least run an errand every day. At the very least, I added nice patio furniture outside, and during the cooler months, I even worked some out there, took breaks to water the plants, or ate lunch with kitty Blanche on the balcony. It really does help.
Invest in technology
I had no savings or really any extra money when I decided to jump out on my own and work for myself at home. But I also had a laptop that was 12 years old… I still have it. But, I was able to get an iPad that was pretty affordable and it has been my main piece of technology for work. I also increased the data on my home internet. For a few days, I was driving to the library to use their internet, but they don’t open until 10 and it just wasn’t productive for me. Both of these investments have helped me so much, and although I’m hoping to completely replace my laptop, I was able to find a short-term solution that could help me earn money.
Learn how you work best
If you know you work better at home than in a coffee shop, then stay home. I did the coffee shop thing in college, but it’s not for me now. Figure out when you’re productive and do your hardest tasks during those hours. I work best using a paper planner, and I always make sure I have plenty of coffee and food to get me through the week because if I have to run out for lunch, it will set me back at least an hour. But that’s just me. This is the beauty of working remotely!
Be open to change
While I have my desk set up, I don’t always work there. Most of the time, I do, but there are some days, when I wake up and I just want to sit in my room and work. If that’s going to make me get work done, then I do it. Because of this, I have a comfy chair and a small table I use for days like that. I also try and be flexible in my schedule when I need to, but of course, this is all up to you.
Set a schedule based on productivity
As I mentioned earlier, I start work around 6 am. That’s certainly not what you have to do, but thats when I am most productive. Sometimes, there are situations where you’ll have to work during the hours when you’re not at your best, but if you can, avoid the hours that don’t serve you. During the slower summer, I tried my best to not work at all on Fridays. I am not a fan of working on Fridays and even if I have do (most of the time I do), I try to avoid meetings after lunch.
What are your tips for working remotely? I’d love to hear them!
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