I freelanced for a year, so I am well-prepared for remote working during the coronavirus outbreak. Yes, it might be more convenient for you to work at the office, especially if your job requires a lot of teamwork, but you have to do whatever it takes to stay healthy.
Many countries are in lockdown, and governments are shutting down academic institutions and asking employees to work from home. Getting through this pandemic is going to be challenging, but you’re going to get through these difficult times if you follow these remote working tips that I learned from freelancing.
Your brain associates your office with work, and it associates your home with relaxation. Since you’ll be working from home for a while, you need to trick your brain into changing its mode, and to do that, you must create an office space.
Not all of us have a spare room that we can remodel into a study, so we have to work with what we have. Choose an empty and calm area in your home, and place a desk, a chair, and your computer there. Working in a dedicated area will put your brain into work mode and help you stay alert as much as you would be in the office.
Warning: you might be tempted to work in your bed, and that might work for you, but being too comfortable will make you sleepy. So, it’s better to be seated.
You still have responsibilities: you need to meet deadlines, send emails, and attend meetings. The only difference is that you are doing everything at home. So, you still need to follow a schedule. Wake up as you usually would, take a shower, have breakfast, and head to your workspace.
I suggest you use task management apps like Trello, Evernote, and Google Keep to keep track of your tasks. Also, do not turn off your alarm: stick to your routine to be ready to go to work as soon as the situation improves.
Chats cannot replace live interactions, and video conferencing apps are the closest things we’ve got to face-to-face interactions. Hold meetings using these apps, even if the session will last 5 minutes. Seeing your coworkers will give you the feeling that it’s a regular workday! The video conferencing apps that I like the most are Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts!
Working alone will make you more productive; however, it will leave a negative impact on your mental health in the long run. Since we need to limit live interactions during the lockdown, find other ways to socialize. We live in the era of social media, and there are many platforms you can use to keep in touch with your friends and family. Dedicate at least thirty minutes every day to talk or chat with your friends virtually. The more you socialize, the better.
As I mentioned previously, feeling too comfortable will make you sleepy. So, avoid wearing pajamas and sweatpants. I’m not telling you to wear a blazer, instead, put on something you would wear while grocery shopping.
The whole point here is to trick your mind that you’re at work, and you can do that by wearing regular clothes instead of pajamas. I sometimes took it a step further by wearing shoes while working from home, but you don’t need to do that unless you can’t focus at all.
You usually take lunch breaks in the office, right? Well, you should do that if you are working remotely, too. Taking a break is the best way to relax your body and mind, and boost your energy. Use this time to eat, chat with your friends, or just lay down on the couch.
Working at home is challenging, so you need to communicate your expectations and boundaries with the people whom you share your apartment or house with. Kindly ask them to respect your space and time as it is a regular working day for you.
When I began freelancing, I felt like work was following me everywhere; that’s because I did not log off. Get your work done during your regular working hours, just like you would do in the office, and once you’re done, close your laptop and log off your work-related tabs and platforms like Trello and Slack. Your working day is over, and instead of heading home, head to the kitchen and grab a snack. You deserve it.
These remote working tips will hopefully help you work more efficiently at home. The coronavirus pandemic will pass if we stay home and avoid social interactions. We will get through this!