Many people recently ventured into the unknown world of working remotely, and for most of those
people, the change came quickly and without much notice. If you found yourself unprepared to work
remotely and haven’t been able to get into a routine and be productive, I’m here to help.
When working in an office, you have the comradery of coworkers all working toward the same goal. In some cases, you may have an office where you can close the door when you need quiet time. The commute to and from the office allows you to set your mind for work or to unwind from work before you go home. All of these things allow you to focus on the job you need to do.
But when you work remotely, these things change. You no longer have coworkers popping in and out of your office sharing ideas, in many cases you don’t have an office where you can close the door, and you lose your commute time that signals your brain when it’s time to work and when work is done. Working remotely requires you to set a few boundaries, both for others and for yourself, in order to be productive and successful.
Set Boundaries When Working Remotely
Create a “Work Only” Space
This can be a spare bedroom, a corner of your basement, the garage, or any other area where you can set up a dedicated workspace. Having this space will help signal your brain that it’s time to work when you enter it, and time to quit when you leave. It will also help your family to know when it’s work time and to leave you alone.
Maintain a Schedule
If you normally work 9-5 in your office, maintain those same work hours at home. The more you can maintain a regular schedule, the easier it will be for you to be productive during that time. Hold back the temptation to check email at 7 am just because you can or to pop back in your office for a few minutes after dinner. An unstructured schedule will make it harder to be productive.
Fill Your Commute Time with Something Else
If you normally left for work at 8 for a 1-hour commute, don’t start using that time for work. Maintain your regular working hours and fill your commute time with something else. Have breakfast with your family, go for a walk, read a good book, listen to a podcast. Use this time to prepare your brain for the day ahead.
Just as you would take a coffee break or lunch break in the office, do the same at home. It’s important to move around, stretch your legs, and walk away from your computer for a few minutes. If you’re used to taking a coffee break with a coworker, schedule a break by phone with them.
Working remotely certainly has its benefits, but if you’re unable to set boundaries, your day will be completely off track and you won’t be able to be productive. According to Inhersight.com, you might even need to find someone to check in with to hold you accountable to your boundaries. Boundaries are necessary to help you stay focused and be successful when working remotely.
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