Remote work offers numerous benefits from saving on commute time to being able to throw in a load of laundry on a break. And while there are some unique challenges to remote work, it’s possible to make your work situation more productive and fulfilling than ever before — it just takes a bit more planning.
Consider these 11 tips for thriving as a remote worker:
1. Work outside your home at least once or twice per week
Take advantage of the flexibility of remote work and change up your scenery occasionally. Try working at your local coffee shop or even working outside by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot from your phone. Switching up your location for a few hours every week can help prevent restlessness and boost your productivity.
2. Relocate to a city you love
Thriving as a remote worker can be possible in a city you love. Remote work can open the door for you to live anywhere in the world, at least in theory. If you’re feeling adventurous, capitalize on the flexibility of working remotely by finally making a move to your dream destination, whether that means moving back to your hometown, a beach town, or even another country. It’s up to you. If you’re a remote worker, the world is your office!
3. Stay active while you work
Working at home allows you to get up and move while working —something you wouldn’t typically do in your cubicle. If you’re listening in on a conference call, go for a walk around the neighborhood or do some lunges. You could even do a 10-minute yoga routine to hone your productivity and no one will even notice. Thriving as a remote worker means staying healthy.
4. Create an ergonomic workspace
To call sitting “the new smoking” is a strong yet accurate way to describe the harmful effects that sitting all day can have on your body. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make your workspace even more ergonomic — adjusting your monitors and your keyboard, for example. If your company has the budget, you may even want to think about asking for a convertible desk that allows you to stand for a portion of your workday.
5. Use tech to collaborate with coworkers
Collaboration is a huge part of any type of work, and thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to collaborate remotely. For instance, to interact with coworkers more during meetings, turn on your video (instead of just audio) — it’ll help you put faces to the conversations going on. Likewise, implement other collaboration applications and technologies, such as Google Docs, Slack, or Trello to work more effectively with your coworkers.
6. Make occasional visits to the office, if possible
Although remote work has many benefits, face-to-face interaction with coworkers is invaluable, and you can’t completely replicate it remotely. According to Gallup, employees are most engaged in their jobs when they spend 60% to 80% of their time working remotely, so consider working in the office periodically to strike that balance if you live nearby. When you’re in the office, take time to go out to lunch with your coworkers or at least have a few minutes of watercooler talk.
7. Designate a specific space and time to work
Creating separation between your work and home life allows you to unwind when the workday is over. Establish set working hours and a designated workspace. Ideally, your workspace would be somewhere separate from the rest of your home (not the bedroom or living room). Don’t forget to set expectations with your family, roommates, and others — explain that when you’re in your workspace, you’re at work and should be treated as such.
8. Take breaks and use them wisely
Sometimes you may not feel like you have time for a break, but taking a few minutes away can actually increase productivity and prevent burnout. Schedule breaks into your day and use that time to be away from screens. You could go for a short walk, call a friend, grab a snack in the kitchen, or start a load of laundry.
9. Establish a morning routine
Working at home eliminates commute time, giving you more free time in the morning. Use this extra time to improve your morning routine. Successful people often meditate and exercise as a part of their morning routine, for example. Setting aside time in the morning to do meaningful tasks can help boost your productivity and increase your willpower.
10. Don’t neglect your professional development
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t advance in your career. Take the initiative to attend professional conferences and local networking events, get a professional certification, or grow your network on LinkedIn. Doing so can enhance your professional skills and lead to even better opportunities in the future.
11. Tackle your most challenging tasks first
Don’t allow working from home to become a distraction. Use to-do lists and prioritize your tasks to ensure that you’re focused and efficient throughout the day. Completing your toughest tasks at the beginning of the day — sometimes referred to as “eating the frog” — can give you a feeling of accomplishment that can propel you through the rest of your day.
Implementing these strategies can help you get the most out of working remotely and capitalize on all the benefits telecommuting offers.
Monique Serbu is a freelance digital journalist specializing in business, marketing, and technology topics. Her work can be seen on VentureBeat, MediaPost, and the Stanford Blog. In her spare time, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking and hanging out with her Cocker Spaniel.