It’s officially 2020 and remote work is on the rise now more than ever. Often times when people envision remote work, they often think of an ideal oasis where the employee is traveling the world, working from some amazing locations while also being super productive.

While some remote employees are fortunate enough to travel and get work done, oftentimes when someone makes the transition into being fully remote, they’re usually don’t start off being immediately productive and happy. Making remote work, work for you; takes time, practice and the development of new habits.

A less than ideal look at remote work

In reality, remote work can be quite the opposite of an idyllic picture. This picture was taken on my first day on the job at my current company, Pluralsight. A week before starting I actually fell down the stairs and broke my ankle. 

The injury forced me to work completely remote for the first 2 months in my new role. As you can see, it was not the best scenario, I had a cat on my lap, leg cast, and pillow fortress keeping my laptop afloat.

I often felt overworked, alone, and isolated. And some days I was even in front of my computer for 12 hours+ more because I was juggling my fully remote masters program at the same time.

Your environment matters

The point i’m trying to make is that your environment matters. It matters when you’re physically in the office but it matters even more so, when you’re doing remote work. Your environment can mean the difference between having a fully productive day or laying in bed all day feeling bad for your broken ankle and cuddling with your cat.

Thats why I put together some tips and tricks to help you feel empowered to set healthy remote habits moving forward.

Tips for Doing Remote Work Better

Set up your workspace

One of the first things I recommend to employees working inside of remote organizations is to carve out a space for their work. This might mean turning a spare room into an office.

With a dedicated space you can add materials like a desk or table and external monitors. I know I found getting an external monitor incredibly helpful after I started to get aching neck pain from constantly looking down at my laptop while working remote.

One great benefit of having a dedicated work space is that it allows you to close the door and physically walk away after a long day of work. This enables you to create physical boundaries between your work and home life and prevents your work from spilling over into other locations of your house.

If you’re unable to work from home, you can also investigate co-working spaces in your area. When I had some electric work done at my house, I took the opportunity to try out different spaces in the Providence area.

Set daily and weekly intentions

Often times with remote work, it’s easier to get distracted than it might be in a physical office location. That’s why I started the habit of setting daily and weekly intentions while working remotely.

This means on Fridays or Mondays, I’ll often take 5-10 minutes to look at the calendar and ask myself questions such as:

  • What did I accomplish this week?
  • What will I need to accomplish for the week ahead?
  • What would I do differently next time?

At the beginning of each work day, I’ll do a similar exercise where I’ll heat up a cup of tea and sit down to set daily intentions for the workday ahead. I have it blocked on my calendar to ensure it doesn’t get booked over with meetings.

Setting these rituals provided me with the opportunity to reflect upon my daily and weekly accomplishments and refocus on the bigger picture of my work.

Schedule self care

Often times, remote workers can be so heads down getting work done that they forget to take time for themselves throughout the day. That’s why self care can be so important and it can come in many forms.

For example, you can mess around with your schedule and adjust it to what works for you. This can mean going outside for a walk throughout the day, heading out to a yoga or gym class, making coffee or tea, or even having a virtual coffee session with colleagues to chat about life outside of work.

These can all be great activities to help you boost your energy levels throughout the work day.

Do you have any tips for others on how to be productive while working remotely? Be sure to post them in the comments below.

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