Working remotely is nothing new for the modern workplace, with prominent companies like Basecamp, Upworthy, Buffer, Mozilla, and Zapier building full-scale, long-term operations on remote-only teams, proving it to be a successful structure for innovative companies. So how can you make working remotely, work for you? That’s what we will cover in the article below.

If you can successfully implement some purposeful strategies into your new situation, you’re on your way to creating a remote working lifestyle that’s effective, productive and, most importantly, sensitive to your well being.

What is working remotely?

Working remotely involves the coordination of a workforce that isn’t necessarily in one office space. Instead, staff can work from any location, across any time zone and generally connect via a number of online collaboration tools.

With globalization and online work being contributing factors to how people would like to work and what fits in with their lifestyle, new pressures have emerged for workplaces in regards to processes, productivity, teamwork, and employee morale. The demand for quick, effective adaptation is necessary for the success of both employees and employers alike.

Top tips for working remotely

1. Create a home office

Image by Norbert Levajsics via Unsplash.

While the location of your work may have changed with the switch to working remotely, the fundamentals of your working day can still be retained. In order to maintain the structure that your in-office working life afforded you, it’s important to treat a part of your home in the same way you would treat your previous office. That means dedicating a clean, functional space to your work, with essential elements being a supportive chair, proper desk, a fast internet connection, functional laptop with in-built camera, and your own personal additions, such as headphones or stationery. You’ll be far more likely to stay focused on work when you’re cocooned in your self-created ‘office’ rather than a haphazard corner in the kitchen and you’ll be much more productive and efficient as a result.

2. Increase the transparency with your team

Even outside of a crisis such as a global pandemic, company-wide transparency can have an enormous impact on employee well being. One study even suggests that transparency is the most important factor in deterring employee happiness. Ease the worries of your teams by adopting a transparent and constantly communicative approach, when it comes to big (and small) developments with your company. Don’t be casual but do be straightforward – team members will subsequently feel as though they’re in safe and honest hands – a helpful strategy for maintaining morale.

3. Build a schedule for your workday

Image by Samantha Gade via Unsplash.

Not one for schedules? You might have to adapt. If you let some semblance of your schedule slip while remote working, you’ll likely be on the couch scrolling Instagram before 11 am and this has ramifications for you when it comes to actually relax at the end of the day.

The thing with remote working is that it’s incredibly difficult — and incredibly important — to separate work life from home life. The secret to drawing a line between these elements (apart from not showing up for your day in your pajamas) is to stick to a clear schedule that separates the two worlds. When your work starts, it starts, and that means no couch time, no constant feet-dragging to the fridge and instead, making a commitment to a structured working day — lunch and tea breaks included. Then, when it’s finished, the laptop shuts and you’re in ‘home’ mode, securely. If things start to bleed into one another, you’ll feel demotivated in both scenarios. To enjoy knock-off time, you have to show up for work time – it’s a two-way street.

If you need help staying on track, try a Canva scheduling template such as Purple and White Boxes Work Schedule Planner or Green Pink Simple Work Schedule Planner – they’ll help you create the ultimate to-do lists and stick to a schedule.

4. Incorporate self-care into your routine

Work and home life separation can become increasingly difficult when the two activities share the same physical space. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make certain to draw a line between the two for your mental health and well being.

Incorporating some simple self-care techniques into your day is paramount in maintaining a healthy remote working environment. Start with the simple things, such as scheduling regular breaks for tea brewing or leg stretches, as well as 15-minute slots for stepping outside to top up your vitamin D and getting fresh air. Then, ensure that a full lunch break and think about how you can use the time to get reacquainted with yourself. Introducing some physical health boosters into the day doesn’t have to take a huge chunk of time or cost you any money, for example; online sources for short, accessible, and free exercise routines spanning circuits, Pilates and yoga are plentiful. There’s no excuse not to schedule (and stick to) this vital part of your daily, pre-isolation life.

5. Stay motivated with goals

If working from home ignites a feeling of professional disconnection, it’s time to get reacquainted. Experts at Berkeley University suggest sitting down and asking yourself several questions such as: “what would your career be like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?” and “imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved great career success: what is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like?” Once you get closer to understanding what it is you want from your job and professional path, you can start taking steps towards that into your day-to-day and, ultimately, make your daily efforts towards professional success that much more motivating.

Looking to set new goals? Incorporate a Canva goal planner template to help you on your way. Blue and Pink New Year Goals Mind Map or Yellow Rectangles SWOT Analysis Mind Map can give you the tools to plot a path for success.

6. Upskill with online courses

One considerable benefit of working remotely is the elimination of the daily commute, giving us ample time to develop new and hone old skills. Use this time to upskill with any online courses that take your fancy; sign up to an architecture course on Open Culture, conquer the kitchen courtesy of leading chef Massimo Bottura or finally learn that language. You’ll be more motivated to clock off – and subsequently, clock back on – if you’re actively exploring pursuits that bring your joy outside of your work life.