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How to successfully work remotely

Emily Belden's Layout avatar

Working remotely is one of the hottest career trends today. It’s also one of the most cost effective choices for business owners and is a huge reason for high employee satisfaction scores. But even though working in sweatpants and avoiding morning rush hour sounds like a dream, it’s not for everyone. As someone who has done it for the last two years, I can offer a few tips and tricks to make the most of this unique and fun work situation.

Change up your scenery

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Working remotely offers you the freedom to choose your “office.” I prefer to work at my house because it’s comfortable and convenient (not to mention, I can declare a portion of my rent as a write-off for my business). However, there are many great places to work from outside of your designated home office area, and switching up the scenery every now and then can help you be more productive. For example, if there’s a task that I know I have been putting off, I’ll take myself to the local cafe to change my frame of mind. Other great places to consider working (and that usually have free Internet access) include the public library, a hotel lobby, and communal work spaces, such as wework.

Make more plans

When you work remotely, your co-workers become the other folks wearing headphones in the coffee shop (or, if you’re me, your dogs). I spent the first eight years of my career working in various office environments from the hugely stodgy corporate world, to the widely open start-up spaces. In each of these, I was able to make work friends and develop fruitful relationships with other like-minded colleagues. Now, while working remotely certainly cuts down on any sort of “water cooler drama” and lines for the microwave, you miss out on having that immediate camaraderie; people to whom you can roll your chair over and talk to. That’s why you must make it a priority to get out more when working remotely becomes your new gig. Whether that’s social plans after work, a networking event, or inviting another remote-worker into your space for the day, saying “yes” to more human interaction will contribute to a better work-life balance.

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Develop a routine

Even though there might not be anyone checking to make sure you’ve got your coffee in hand and computer powered up by 9am, it’s still important to put in the same amount of diligence in order to be successful. So, set your alarm clock and plan to take on the morning. Instead of hopping on the highway to the office, consider going for a morning walk or squeezing in a half hour of yoga or meditation. Very few people can roll out of bed and immediately hit the ground running, so allowing yourself some padding between sleepy time and screen time is a great way to rev up the engine slowly but surely. Once you fall into a pattern, stick with it.

As you can see, working remotely can be a great option. If it’s something you’ve considered switching to in the past, try it out a couple days a week to ease into it or offer “work from home days” as an attractive employee benefit.

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