Remote working often feels like a strange marriage between both your working and home lives, but you can make it work. As CEW's only remote Junior, working from Liverpool while the core team is in London, I've done plenty of trial and error to figure out what leads to a productive workday, and what doesn’t.
A routine and a reliable internet connection rank high on the list, but specialty pens and cute stationery... not so much.
Talk to Me, Baby
First and foremost, you need to be reachable and continually communicating with your colleagues. This seems obvious, but if you’re hundreds of miles away from your colleagues, it’s harder than it sounds.
It’s worth remembering that as a remote worker, the entire workplace dynamic is different. There's no catching someone in the kitchen, or popping over to someone's desk! Now, I'm not saying to take your laptop into the toilet with you, but check in with colleagues as often as you would if you were all in the same office.
Chat applications, email and project management tools are all useful tools to have regular check-ins with your coworkers throughout the day. Don't forget that mobile phones exist too! Phone up your coworkers if they aren't answering your messages. Deadlines fly by, work gets duplicated, and projects get delayed if you aren't talking to your colleagues.
Rise and Shine
Create a daily routine for yourself - and stick to it! When working from home, it's SO tempting to check emails in bed and avoid showering until your lunch break. Having a morning routine, the same as you would if you worked outside of the home, is crucial to being mentally "in the zone" and doing your best work.
If your mornings are solid and you feel prepared to work a full day, it's easier for you to stick to your work hours. Unlike in a traditional job, you don't have a supervisor checking in with you about how your projects are going all the time. Your routine will help you manage your time and help you tackle crucial tasks.
Any remote worker will tell you there’s an ever-present danger of burnout. This is amplified if you sleep in, skip meals, and work sporadic hours. Without solid boundaries, it becomes harder to separate your work life from your home life.
Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
Staying organised is vital to staying calm and focused on your work. Your desk is where you'll spend huge parts of your day, so clearing up clutter and having enough room to move is key.
Creating a space in the house that is dedicated to your work is essential to separating "home mode" and "work mode." This is something we know from experience, as my husband has worked remotely for the past five years. He has an office, and when he leaves it, he leaves his work behind.
That said, you don't need an entire separate room in your home to achieve this. Even if you work from your kitchen table, it's important to set it up for work while working. Be sure to put everything away when you're done so your table can be used for eating at the end of the day.
Adventure Is Out There
If you're tight on space, investigate hot desking and desk space for rent in your area. Day rates are generally reasonable if you need a day off from the home office, but a permanent desk could be just the ticket if you want to keep work away from home.
Cabin fever, distractions at home, totally stressed out? Consider visiting your local library, coffee shop, museum, or even the park to shake up your week. A change of scenery, and perhaps some company, can reinvigorate you.
Do you work from home? What works for you? Let us know your remote working secrets!
BY KATHERINE HUGHES, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.