5 tips & tricks to achieve "working from home" success
Everywhere I go I meet people that are working from home. They either work for a company offering remote work options, or have pursued their dream and started their own company. Most people love and embrace the work-from-home-culture, but I also see a lot of frustration. The majority of frustration comes from people that are fairly new to remote work. I often get asked to share my best advice on working from home. I, too, have tasted the frustration in the early days, struggling with structure and concentration, and have felt the pain of isolation. For me it has been a rollercoaster of testing and iterating different working structures.
Many people fail at working from home. If you are stressing right now, don’t worry, it will get easier! You need to figure out what really works for you and your company. Based on my 7 years as working both part-time and full-time as a remote worker, here's my best advice:
1. Break down the stigma 👊🏻 💥 🙌🏻
“Haven't you cleaned the kitchen?” was the question I got from my girlfriend the first day I worked from home after we moved in together. There is a stigma, that if you are working from home you are “not actually working”. My advice is to talk to your family members and help them understand that you are actually working and need to give the same focus to your work as you would in an office. Your family members are not the only ones who need to be on board; make sure your company or team embraces the remote culture as well. At appear.in we say that if one person is working remotely, then we are a remote team. We all share the same responsibility for productive collaboration.
2. Create a workspace 🗄 ✏️ 💻
Try to find a special place in your home where you will not get easily disturbed. This does not have to be a designated room or desk, but try to avoid distracting places like the couch. If you are a permanent remote worker, invest in equipment that help you work better and more efficiently. A quality monitor or two, a good chair, external camera & mic (I use the Huddly camera and Jabra mic). Many companies offer to expense this cost for their employees. If they don't, try to convince them to do the investment. A good work environment at home can make you more productive and healthy. If you get back problems, in the end, the company will be affected!
3. Dress to impress 🛁 👨🏻💼
NEVER, I repeat, NEVER work in you pajamas! It sounds nice to just roll out of bed and go straight to work, but it is not! After a couple of days this will start to affect you in a negative way. It creates no separation between home and work. I always do the same morning rituals as if I were to go to the office or in a meeting. It gives me a good feeling of “getting ready for action”. You never know when you may suddenly need to jump on a video meeting with your manager or customers. Always be prepared!
4. Plan food 🍎
Make sure to plan out your food and drinks for the day in advance. An office typically has access to coffee, fruit, and other goods, which you may not even consider until you're in the working from home. Investing in good coffee and healthy food that ensures you will have the nutrition you need to be efficient. If you don't plan ahead you may end up eating all sorts of “crappy” food leaving you feeling tired and undernourished. Plan and stock up on the best breakfast, lunch, and snacks to fuel you throughout the day.
5. Make lunch fun 🎊
Isolation is one of the biggest reasons why people fail at remote working, and is the topic I get asked the most about. We are social creatures, and when working remote you don't have colleagues to share lunch with. This can be lonely and affect your motivation. To combat this, at appear.in HQ, we have made a coffee break room where remote workers can join colleagues for breaks and lunch. Try inviting one of your colleagues to eat lunch over your own appear.in room for a dose of social interaction.
Lunch is also a good opportunity to meet friends or network. I often invite friends or other people in the startup community out to lunch. I learn a lot, have a good lunch, and it satisfy my needs for socializing.
With a little effort and planning, you can be successful at remote working and enjoy the endless benefits of doing so! Do you have your own really cool remote work space or "work from home" tips? Share it with us on Twitter!
Want to know how you can set up your own lunchtime remote chat with colleagues too? 🙋
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