So, have you opted to go the route of serving as a remote or work-from-home employee? Welcome to our world as you are now a digital nomad. Do you plan on traveling to other countries and firing up your laptop on the beach? Maybe you are considering taking your laptop on a road trip and getting things done from hotels?
It is not that easy.
For those of us with families, remote and work-from-home employment comes with both its benefits and drawbacks. Logging hours can be challenging but the mission reminds me of the same, the work has to be done.
To hope you navigate through what is next as your pivot from the cubicle to the couch, check out the following advice from Giovanni Cabugnason, a freelancer who specializes in automation, to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Transparency is key, especially with your boss and team. We all get busy, but working from home brings on a whole other level of responsibilities that we normally would have to wait till before or after work, or even on the weekends, to accomplish.
Most companies are quite progressive nowadays and flex hours are more readily offered to employees. Although, developing a routine and ensuring tasks are completed can feel daunting when we have so many distractions that can arise at home.
For those with kids, it may be important to set up both ‘screen’ and ‘nap’ times, while juggling parenting responsibilities with your significant other.
Being honest with yourself is also important. Be realistic about what you know you can complete in a day or even the week ahead. This way, developing a routine is much easier. You can’t expect to basically dump your former office onto your coffee table or home office and assume you will be able to run with it. It takes time to get used to working from home.
You will be much more pleasant to be around and find life to be a little easier when you are able to juggle your personal and professional responsibilities as part of a structured routine.
Know Your Availability
This goes hand-in-hand with the ‘honesty is the best policy’ section. You have to get good with juggling a laundry list of tasks each day.
For those of you who are parents, you can’t expect your kids to fully understand why you are home all the time now and when you are technically unavailable to them. If you work from home, you need to be able to set up a schedule in which you can devote time to both work and your family. Trust that you will find happiness when you structure your work-from-home life.
Communication is vital in assessing what your availability is. It is understood that when you work from home, you also have personal responsibilities as well. However, you need to be able to make any and all virtual meetings and phone calls. That is where the routine comes into play.
If working remotely with kids, coordinate with your partner to develop ‘shifts’ to dedicate time to both family and work. This form of working periodically will not only help you meet deadlines, but also help you be more productive as well, int hat you will avoid meeting that midday slump. Make a detailed schedule to abide by and follow that routine. You will also want to incorporate a workout regime, whether it is time carved out for the gym or just a brisk walk.
Realize There Will Be Distractions
Like stated previously, understand that there will be distractions. This could be the lawn crew being exceptionally loud during a zoom meeting, a vacuum cleaner or blender going off in the background, kids interrupting calls or meetings and many other distracting scenarios.
A way to block out the noise is letting your family or significant others know the time slots where you absolutely need to be distraction-free, or maybe even find a quiet spot to take meetings and finish work. Additionally, maybe invest in some noise-cancelling headphones too.
Look, sometimes we need some quality or alone time. If need be, retreat to a closet or the garage and formulate a safe haven for yourself.
It’s a Home, Not a Hotel
We can quite busy juggling our home and work lives and, in turn, slowly see our apartments, houses or designated work areas to start to look like an overnight hotel stay or even a dorm room.
There will also be motivation to seek the easy way out when it comes to preparing food or finding time to be active. Don’t fall for it. You can always make time to enhance your bodies and your minds and there is not better opportunity to do it than at home.
Make sure you are living by those routines, including doing regular laundry, making your beds, cleaning your living and work spaces, finding time to stay fit and putting in that quality time with your families.
Remember, this is not a ‘staycation’, this is now where you work. Your family should also be cognizant of that and respect your wishes, while you also respect theirs as well.
Take Care of Yourself
This has been covered a bit in the previous sections, but it can not go without saying that it is vital you maintain yourselves. Make sure you are not only keeping up with completing your personal and professional responsibilities and tasks, but that you are also taking time to stay fit, cook, clean and have some down time to unwind and practice good mental health.
We have the propensity to essentially fall into old patterns, whether that is letting the dishes mount in the sink, laundry piling up in the hamper or just going from a chair to the couch. The way to conquer there is to develop that routine and tell yourself that you are going to follow it no matter what.
There will be times where frustration and anxiety crossover into our personal lives. It is important to understand that we still have jobs to do and that, if we weren’t at home, we would be doing said jobs. You must be able to detox at the end of the day. It is what is going to get you up and back at it the next day and so on.
Some common techniques that may help you include breathing exercises, yoga or meditation and maybe some light stretching or walking as well.
Anyone can work from home or remotely. Just remember that there are still responsibilities you have to satisfy for your employer, but also for yourself. Being able to juggle both your personal and professional lives will make you an absolute remote all-star.
About the Author
Anne Alo is a communications specialist who helps entrepreneurs and executives create and maintain their brand identity. She has worked with several businesses from multiple industries and helped them manage their communications campaigns. Her focus is to highlight entrepreneurs particularly in the Asia Pacific region and share their stories to the world.