03 Mar From Cubicles To Coffee Shops: Working Remotely And Thriving
You’re a laptop-wielding coffee drinker. You’re a part of a new kind of workforce that settles into coffee shops and stays out of cubicles. You’re a remote worker.
Considering that each year the number of jobs allowing employees to work outside of traditional office spaces grows, you’re not alone.
Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of Flexjobs, says that the positive impact of these new work options is changing company cultures and the bottom line. In fact, getting in tune with this trend can not only allow you to partner with people in other locations, it can allow you to thrive while working in the environment that is best suited for you and your company.
Is 2016 the year you take the leap, and start working remotely? Or, perhaps, you’re already one of the millions working outside of a traditional office space. Regardless of which category you fall into, here’s a look at some ways to optimize your remote work experience, so that you can capitalize on productivity and successfully work from home.
Create A Schedule
Training your mind is one of the biggest steps in becoming successful off-site. It’s important to distinguish between your time at home that is free time, and your time at home that is work time. Try creating an hour-by-hour schedule to get things started, and be sure to allow yourself scheduled breaks.
Once you get the hang of this, you may be able to loosen your schedule a bit, but it’s important to keep a routine that will keep you productive and in a work mindset.
Set The Mood
We’ve talked before about the importance of your surroundings when you’re in work mode. Whether you’re working in your home, or from an off-site location, the rules are the same.
Create an open workspace that allows for you to set up your computer, notebooks etc. without any restrictions. Make sure you take some time to consider little things like proper lighting and organization, as well. It’s important to make sure you have enough space to keep engaged in your work and to be productive.
Don’t Forget To Take Breaks
In the same way that it’s important to take a break for lunch and intermittent breaks while you’re working in an office setting, it’s also important for you to take breaks while you’re working out of one. This means taking some time to walk around the block, stretch, or drink some water and grab a healthy snack.
To successfully work from home, especially if it’s primarily revolving around a computer screen, make sure to take breaks away from your computer. Not only will this help you better retain information, it will give you time to reevaluate and refocus on goals.
In addition to your smaller breaks, don’t forget to take a decent amount of time for a lunch break. Grabbing a healthy meal can make a world of difference in your energy for the day!
Set Daily Goals
When you’re working from a remote location, it can sometimes feel like you’re not making any progress, simply because you don’t have the traditional markers that an office establishes. Make sure to take some time in the morning, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to write down your top 3 goals for the day.
This will help you get projects done that you really need to conquer, and will also allow for you to have a tangible list to check off, which can get you motivated and excited for the rest of your day!
Remember To Schedule People Time
When you work at home (or in a coffee shop.) you might start feeling like you’re in an eternal cycle of work, and you don’t have time for socializing with others.
One of the most common feelings among people who work remotely is the feeling of isolation.
But there are a few ways that you can combat this feeling, and the first step is acknowledging that it is going to, at some time or another, happen.
Now that you’ve acknowledged that, we can look at your options.
If you’re feeling like you don’t interact with other people as much as you did when working in a more traditional office, you may want to try a shared workspace or an online platform, such as Slack, to communicate with coworkers or other coaches. If you don’t have the luxury of having coworkers, there are a few open Slack groups where you can connect with other small business owners (and a multitude of other group categories) to share ideas, and talk. Try the Small Business chat or the Freelance chat to connect with others who share your passion!
A great option for shared workspace is WeWork, which allows you to share common workspaces, with individual or community offices, where you can work alongside other small businesses, freelancers, and remote workers. Another great way to connect with others in your industry is for your to join groups on sites such as Meetup, which allow for meetings and event organizations for those with common interests.
You may have to make a little more effort to socialize with people both in and out of the workplace, but adding the extra effort will allow you to focus more on work, and ultimately create a more successful work experience.
Say ‘No’ To Temptation
When you’re working from home, it might seem like a good idea to check out a TV show, or have other personal distractions as a part of your day, but it’s important to remember that you’re ‘at work’ even though you’re not in an office. Remember these tips for staying productive:
Tip 1: If you’re working from home, try your best to work from somewhere other than your comfy bed. Placing yourself in a work environment, rather than a relaxation environment, will help you stay in work mode.
Tip 2: Remember to stay hydrated and to schedule breaks that allow you to break up your work day. Drinking water can keep you from constantly snacking throughout the day, and can keep your day-to-day schedule on track.
Tip 3: If you’re online, it’s an easy temptation to have personal social media pages or email open. You might even feel like getting other online tasks, such as shopping, done. But make sure that you keep yourself, and your productivity, on track by closing these out. (You can, of course, opt to check on them during your breaks.)
While the initial leap to working remotely might seem daunting, if done right, you can see more opportunities and more rewards from this less conventional work style. One of the key aspects is to take the time to really schedule out your day and remember to make some time for yourself. Working remotely can be a rewarding experience, if you let it. Here’s to working remote, and thriving in workspaces that are a little less conventional.