The shift to remote work sounds so good (in theory), but feels so bad (when you start).
A couple of days ago I talked to a friend of mine who described his first ever day of remote work as terrifying, chaotic, confusing. Basically, a nightmare. Apparently, at the end of the day the only family member in the house excited for his second day was his dog.
Well, that sounds about right.
Home office may twist some things around the house. Aga, our Marketing Team Lead, knows the feeling.
All of us are now a part of this bizarre experiment that could, and probably will, change the job market for good.
This sudden and forced twist to remote work is not only a shock for companies that are struggling to adapt and do so ASAP, but also for the workers, trying to keep their sanity in a completely new and unknown environment.
The truth is, in theory, remote work sounds like a dream. But so does that dish you saw on Instagram once, until you try the recipe yourself.
As usual, there’s a lot more under cover of those Instagram photos of laptops carelessly tossed on beds with coffee shop cups of chai latte (funnily enough, not available right now).
But for those of you who have embarked on a journey of remote working just now, be not afraid; you just need a plan. But make it a good one. If not, you’ll end up consuming your days doing quizzes on what type of garlic bread you are only boosting one chance out of many: the chance to be laid off.
You can take the situation to your advantage if you navigate it consciously.
It’s a lot of new challenges, but a lot of great opportunities too. Remember, it’s just like any other skill, and you’ll get better at it.
Remote Work Guide:
Explore routines to replace your old ones
There’s one thing every person with moderate experience with working remotely will tell you:
Never work from your bed after you’ve just woken up. And it’s an easy mistake to make. You might trick yourself into thinking that, somehow, it will make you do all the work quicker. The truth is, as usual, more complicated than that.
People need routines. And everyone needs that magical moment in the morning just for themselves; to wake up and set into a “work” mood; make it a coffee, a walk or exercise. It will be easier for you to concentrate later on, and you will feel more at ease and your day will be more structured. Find new routines to replace the old ones you know and remember from the office.
Digital Marketing Specialist @ EL Passion
Plan your day ahead
Prepare to encounter distractions.
We tend to be more restrictive and critical of the so-called “at home” distractions, because, theoretically, there should be none.
The key here is to establish, with all honesty, your working hours. And just stick to them. Yes, it may be troublesome at first, and yes, it takes discipline, but so does everything worthy in this world. You will get better at it as you go.
The tactics vary. There’s the unforgettable Pomodoro technique that many peeps from our team actively use. But it’s not everything.
I always prepare a to-do list for the day. It helps me to monitor how I’m doing in real-time. But what I find most helpful in the long run is that it makes it plain easy to see when I overestimate my productivity and adjust accordingly in the future.
Back-end Developer @ EL Passion
Those underestimated breaks
The great power, and at the same time, the great trap of remote working lies in the freedom it gives. The cue here is, unsurprisingly, to find balance.
The time will come that you know you need to focus, but you just can’t. And, God forbid, the anxiety kicks in and you start thinking about your colleagues being supposedly much better at this home-office thing. Then, my dear, it’s high time you take a break.
Open the window, go for a short 15 minutes walk, change the setting for a bit. Whatever gets your head clear and running again. Sans anxiety. When I feel like I need a reset or a reboot, I just take my dog for a short walk. It puts my work in perspective and I can sit back to it much more focused than before.
UX/UI Designer @ EL Passion
Sometimes I ask myself, “would I do this in the office?” This question actually works in two ways and helps me to maintain a healthy control. One: it makes it easier to deal with regular at-home distractions, but it also puts some things in perspective. I know that, at the office, I don’t sit at my desk 8 hours without a short stretch, so a 10 minute reset never hurt nobody.”
iOS Developer @ EL Passion
Don’t let the loneliness creep in
Remote work might get a bit lonely sometimes. And we can’t forget that company culture plays a significant role in your work life and boosts the morale of the team.
On our EL Passion’s internal Slack, we have channels that serve as a “relief” to our usual strictly professional channels. Recently, after going fully remote (for the time being), we created a “virtual kitchen” in memoriam of our office kitchen, usually busy with people exchanging ideas, jokes and just socializing. I won’t deny it not only made me feel more included and still very much part of the team, but obviously, it made me laugh out loud (too) many times.
We organize a daily call where we catch up on everything. We share what we’re currently working on, ask if we need each other’s help. But we don’t stop at work-related topics. We want to know how everyone’s doing, what they’ve been up to. I think this social factor is extremely important, especially if you’re working in a team. It’s good to see some friendly (and caring!) faces after long hours of staring at your computer screen. Obligatory elements: video cam on, coffee in hand.
Marketing Team Lead @ EL Passion
Be empathetic to yourself. (Yeah, really).
Don’t beat yourself up too much when adjusting; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Everyone experiences times of anxiety. With conscious monitoring of your own activities and reactions, you have the chance to discover not only your limitations (and learn to overcome them), but embrace your strong points, which will soon boost your productivity; in and outside your office.