Working remotely certainly has its benefits. Besides undeniable autonomy and supreme flexibility, the daily commute becomes drastically shorter. However, starting to work from home also introduces a number of potential issues.
It takes quite a lot of practice to avoid the most common pitfalls. Keeping regular work hours is challenging, and it’s very easy to neglect your health. If you go in unprepared and fail to create a structure and boundaries, your at-home career will be at serious risk.
How to overcome these challenges? The following tips should help you stay focused, healthy, and productive.
Separate Your Working and Living Spaces
One of the most common pitfalls of working from home is failing to create a clear boundary between your working and living spaces. It is absolutely crucial to set up a home office. There, you’ll be able to concentrate, with all the necessary supplies at hand.
Create an actual workspace as soon as you start working from home. The location needs to be comfortable, well-lit, and with minimal distractions. Make sure to use this area only for work – never use it for relaxation.
Productive and efficient remote workers do not work in their pajamas. They dress up in presentable clothes, just like the people who actually commute to work.
“Why would I wear formal clothes at home?” The answer is an easy one – they put one’s mind into “work mode”. Wearing professional attire gives a much-needed sense of confidence. As a bonus, you won’t have to dress up for impromptu video calls.
Don’t Work Too Much or Too Little
Keeping regular work hours is another pivotal point. As a freelancer, you won’t get paid when you’re not working. Taking on too many assignments, on the other hand, typically leads to missed deadlines and substandard work.
Maintaining regular work hours takes care of this problem. Have a consistent schedule that you’ll be strict about. Try to create a to-do list for every working day, with tasks that are measurable and achievable. Don’t abandon routine!
Grow Your Network
“Who I work for is unimportant as long as I’m getting paid”. For a remote worker (or any worker, for that matter), this kind of mindset is wrong. Resist the temptation and grow your network in any way you can.
Connect to LinkedIn and find fellow workers in the same industry. Get names and collect business cards. Look for opportunities to offer value. Establish connections with other people and help them – you’ll be investing in your own success.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
In most cases, people who work remotely sometimes feel isolated and lonely. This is completely normal but can become a serious issue over time. Chat with your coworkers. Text your friends. Call your family.
However, don’t forget that humans are social creatures and that virtual connections can’t be compared to human interaction. Leave the house to hang out with other people whenever you can. You can also try working in places such as coffee shops every now and then.
If you’re not living alone, you’ll have to let others know that they shouldn’t interrupt you when you’re working. Explain that you’re having a much harder time finishing your work when they’re breaking your concentration.
With children, the trick is letting them know which interruptions can wait. If your kids are very young, getting childcare is unavoidable. As a last resort, you could try working only when they’re sleeping.
Take Care of Your Health
Aches and pains caused by hours of sitting in an uncomfortable position can be a major remote work pitfall. If you don’t take regular physical breaks, you’re at risk of early death.
Wash your face in the morning. Drink plenty of water. Carve out some time for regular exercise. Rest your eyes and prevent headaches by taking breaks from your laptop screen. Sleep quality is just as important – if you’re not sleeping well, consider getting a supplement.
Keep Building Your Skills
With no bosses around, it’s totally up to remote workers to keep their skills current and sharp. You’re the one who’ll need to keep up-to-date with news, advancements, and new technologies.
You’re not up to the task? That’s fine – it’s important that you’ve recognized it and want to make a change. Setting yourself up to succeed can be done in many ways. Attend a lecture in your field, take a free class or consider getting a life coach.
Another pitfall in this line of work is stagnation. If you had a hard time getting the ability to work remotely, but managed to do so, now you’re probably content with what you have. And that’s precisely what leads to stagnation.
Aim higher. If you’re making $30 an hour at the moment, set your sights to making $40 by the year’s end. Try to set concrete objectives and then do your best to achieve them. Aiming to thrive is the key to every successful career.