Let’s say you have to move for some reason, and the only way to keep your job is to start working remotely (which your employer allows). Or maybe you broke your leg and have to temporarily telecommute. Or perhaps your company recently decided to save on overhead costs by having everyone start working from home.
Whatever the situation, if you’re suddenly forced to work remotely, you may not exactly be jumping for joy or particularly keen on the idea. While most people do want flexible job opportunities, not everyone does.
If you find that remote work just isn’t your thing (yet!), but you have no choice, follow the steps below to learn how to work from home successfully!
Create your workspace.
Human beings are creatures of habit. For many of us, we like to have a set place to plunk our briefcase and unpack our lunch in the company fridge. So when you have to work from home, you might not know where you’ll actually work. Look for places in your house that can function as a home office, such as a spare bedroom, a basement, a working attic—even a garage will do. If you’re short on space, find a nook that will work as your office, and your office only. If you’re working from the kitchen counter and then have to clean it up when the kids come crashing home from school or before dinner, it can interrupt your workflow. Having a set spot can give you the comforting routine you might crave.
Set some hours.
Depending on your company, you might still have the same set work schedule that you had when you were in the office. But if your company has adopted a ROWE mentality (meaning a Results Only Work Environment), you might go from a structured 9-to-5 job to being able to totally customize your workday. While this can be completely liberating, it can also be scary, too, especially if you’re not used to it. Our advice: start working from home by keeping the same schedule you previously had. It can help you adjust to your new environment and, eventually, you’ll realize that having the flexibility to fit in a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day (as opposed to after 5:00 p.m.) and still be able to get your work done is a pretty amazing thing!
While most remote workers sing about the joys of working in yoga pants (or even pj’s!), it can take some time to adjust to the idea of not having to put on work clothes each morning. As a way to ease yourself into remote work life, keep getting dressed as if you’re going into the office for a casual Friday. Sure, it’s silly to wear a suit when you’re working from home (unless you’re on a video conference call with your boss or a client), but that doesn’t mean you have to be in sweats, either. A nice shirt and pants will do just fine, and can help you maintain the mindset that you’re still working in an office.
Learn how to connect online.
One of the biggest reasons why someone might not want to work remotely is the loss of connection with their colleagues. And while it isn’t entirely the same from being just inches away from your work bestie in the next cube, remote work doesn’t have to be as isolating as you might think. There are many collaboration and communication tools designed to keep remote workers connected with each other, on both a personal and professional level. It may not completely replace that one-on-one face time you’re used to, but over time, you’ll realize that you can still keep that connection—and you just might learn to appreciate that extra space from your coworkers!
Keep up your social calendar.
It’s true that working from home can be an emotional adjustment. You’re used to the noises and chatter of a busy office, and being able to grab a quick bite with a few of your colleagues. The way to make working from home work for you is to try to stay social. Meet up with friends for lunch, and if you live nearby your coworkers, grab something to eat with them. It can help with the transition until you’re up and (happily) running remotely.