At the end of my summer internship, I was asked if I’d be interested in continuing to work remotely once I returned to school in Duluth. As I quickly found out, working remotely can be an awesome opportunity, but it does bring some unique challenges. Whether you find yourself working remotely temporarily or more permanently, here are some tips I’ve learned in the past year to make the most of your experience:
Establish a routine. Among all the people I’ve talked to about working remotely, the most successful ones are those who stick to a routine. One of the biggest things many people enjoy about working remotely is the flexibility, and you can definitely take advantage of this, but try to set aside intentional times for work, meals, school, and personal interests. You’ll find this allows you maximize both the productivity and quality of whatever you’re focusing on.
In order to establish a routine that works for you, you’ll need to understand how you’re most productive. Do you work best in the morning or at night? Do you find your best time to exercise is the afternoon? Find what works for you and build your daily routine accordingly, recognizing it might change from day to day or over time.
Prepare for success. Take the time to set up a workspace and make sure you have all the equipment you’ll need. I’ve found it’s helpful to have one area dedicated to my work. Keeping this place organized and free of distractions helps me enter into the mindset to do my best work. Preparation can also be a daily practice of taking the time to get ready each day and having a morning routine before diving into work.
Optimize your work time. Some people find it’s helpful to set timers for work and break times. Personally, I try to be aware of where I keep my phone while working. When I need to focus, I’ll set it in a different room and only check it on breaks. Working remotely often requires a higher level of personal responsibility as you’re on your own, and I find lists to be really helpful in keeping track of everything I need to get done.
Connect with colleagues. You’ll probably find you need to adjust the way you communicate and collaborate with coworkers. This depends a lot on the nature of your role, but keep in mind the schedule you’ve created for yourself doesn’t necessarily align with the people you’re working with. Familiarize yourself with their routines so you know the best times to reach them. Keep in touch by checking in periodically whether that’s through an email, text, or conference call. While it can be more difficult when you aren’t there, it’s still important to stay updated on what’s happening within the company.
Make the experience fun! Motivate yourself by making your work time something you enjoy. To the extent your company allows, find some awesome playlists to listen to, create a workspace you’re excited to come to, wear what makes you happy and productive, and keep your favorite snacks on hand.
One of the biggest challenges with working remotely is maintaining work-life balance, so stay tuned for a blog post on tips for managing that to come!
Photo Source: Unsplash | Kari Shea