Remote work in 2018 is almost old news. It’s incredible, it’s life-changing, but as larger companies begin to get on board with the idea and thousands of people continue to make the switch every year, it’s rapidly becoming the new norm.
The real news? It doesn’t always give you more time to focus on your family, and it definitely doesn’t go hand in hand with a less stressful workweek.
A study by Baylor University revealed that people with high levels of emotional stability and autonomy were particularly well suited to remote work, but those lacking in one area struggled with more stress, not less.
Is remote work the holy grail? It depends largely on you as a person. But there are definitely a few ways to make it more enjoyable and sustainable.
At the end of the day, a job is just a job, and being able to separate from it to enjoy your life is the whole point. Let’s get back to living, and learn to leave the notifications unread and the emails unopened.
Set Some Boundaries
First things first: boundaries.
You may not be beholden to office hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the benefits of them. Set office hours and stick to them.
For some people, this means physically walking away from their work space every day. Some people walk out of the backdoor of their house and through the front door again when they’re done.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds; studies show that physical action is incredibly helpful with disrupting psychological thought patterns. Make your office hours clear, and when the clock strikes five, shut your laptop and literally walk away from it.
Notifications are crap. And we mean that.
They’re meant to get your attention, so when you work remotely, it is an exercise in self control akin to turning down a piece of cake to ignore them.
Do what the dieters do — don’t tempt yourself by even allowing notification cake in your house. Turn your phone on do not disturb mode, pause your inbox, whatever you’ve gotta do, but do NOT let notifications own how you spend your time, either mentally or physically.
Have a Dedicated Home Office Space
When you work from home, a scary thing happens — your happy place becomes your workplace. Not cool, and not ideal.
Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom with a computer and a shoji screen, or a separate room with a fully functioning door, have a dedicated space that’s for work and ONLY work.
Get Out More
When you work from home, the only reason to really leave your house is for food and the occasional haircut. It’s freaky.
Don’t fall into the pattern of becoming your own prisoner. Bring your noise canceling headphones when you work at a coffee shop, but make a point to go out to lunch at least once during a workweek for the socialization requirements
Use a Paper Planner to Manage Your Day
Working remotely means a higher than typical amount of screen time. There is no face to face interaction, so literally everything you do is typically on a screen. It’s bad for your eyes, and it’s bad for your mental health.
Sure, wear your blue light blocking glasses, but also go rogue and screen-free every chance you get. Use a cool notebook like Rocketbook that allows you to work offline without creating chaos and disorganization (it totally syncs up with cloud apps).
When it comes to scheduling, map out your week with a paper planner, and then adapt it later to your cloud calendar apps so you’re able to look at your schedule without looking at a screen.
Remote Work is NOT Constant Work
Or at least it shouldn’t be.
The greatest challenge with remote work is, funnily enough, not in the logistics of it, but in the self discipline required to make it work. Getting things done, sure, but putting things DOWN and walking away from your work can require a level of self discipline that many people just aren’t cut out for.
Draw your lines, hold yourself accountable, and maintain your mental health first to be seriously successful with a work from home job.
Do you work from home? How have you managed to maintain the work/life balance?
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