If you’re a remote employee, meaning you work from home either daily or just a few days a week, it can sometimes feel like a dream. You have thoughts of hanging in your sweats and working whenever you feel like it, be it 2 p.m. or 2 a.m. In reality, being a remote employee can sometimes be tough. Here are some tips for achieving maximum success and minimum headache when you work from home.
1. Use the time you’d normally be in transit wisely
If you previously spent hours commuting to and from work, sit down and think about how you’ll use that newfound time at home. If you always wished you could go to the gym, go now. If you want to catch up on household tasks like paying bills or scheduling doctor’s appointments, now’s the time to do it.
2. Get dressed each day
While a full suit isn’t necessary, it’s important to get out of your pajamas and into clothes, like jeans and a sweater or button-down. Save the more dressed up looks for video conferences or Skype calls.
3. Work normal hours
By working a normal eight- to nine-hour workday, you eliminate the potential for working late nights or scrambling to finish a deadline in the wee hours of the morning. To help keep you on track, Pinterest offers thousands of scheduling templates like this one. Doodle is also great for scheduling and connecting everything in one place to make your workday easier. You can even make polls too, for everything from work decisions to where you should grab dinner with friends Friday night.
4. Work where you will be most productive
If you prefer to work just like you would at an office, it’s important to set up and design your own home workspace, even if it’s just a simple desk and chair and some framed photos of your loved ones. If you have a budget that allows it, creating a separate space just for a home office can be a tax deduction. If you’re more comfortable working on a cozy recliner (and trust you won’t fall asleep!), go ahead and work there. Tailor your surroundings to your own personal needs.
5. Set a routine
Setting a routine for yourself eliminates lunchtimes at noon one day and 3 p.m. the next (hello hangry!). By starting and stopping work at the exact same time each day, your body is able to settle into a solid routine, balancing energy levels and allowing for efficiency and motivation.
6. Make time each day for social interaction
Head to the local coffee shop and grab that morning muffin. Or better yet, if you used to take a midday break with a coworker and walk around the block, start taking a 3 p.m. walk. And smile and wave to anyone you may pass by. Chances are, with time, you’ll start making new friends to walk with. Something as simple as calling a friend at lunch to catch up (should their schedule allow) is a great way to fulfill your social needs.
7. Work near natural light
Daylight has been named the number one natural feature in the workplace. If your workplace is your home, the same holds true—natural light is known to improve your mood and reduce stress. If you’re worried about that call with your boss or are feeling down about a project that didn’t work out the way you wanted it to, having natural light will help you maintain a sense of calm.
Originally published on June 21, 2017.