- Your workplace needs to work to support remote work as much as you do.
- To avoid being burnt out, set strong physical/mental/temporal boundaries between work and life.
- Remote work is hard, and is not for everyone. And that’s ok. Be honest with yourself and your employer.
Here’s a list of things you need to make the most of your remote work experience.
0. A Workplace that truly supports remote work
Working remotely (and possibly asynchronously) requires constant commitment. Any level of the team returning to the office makes it extremely easy to exclude remote workers. Even before deciding to work remotely it is important to establish expectations and appropriate process with your team. This applies for hybrid work as well.
1. A dedicated work station
Sounds obvious, but somewhere you are comfortable and distraction-free at all times. You can go off and work from your dining room or a cafe, but it’s important that you can fall back to this at any time. This will keep you focused on work, and will go some way for it not to bleed into other parts of your life. Conversely, …
2. A dedicated not-work station
The title is kind of dumb, but what I really mean is that you need a place to rest, and a place to play. And the less you let work enter that realm, the better for you. I struggle to “break out” from work, so I found it helpful to have somewhere where I could zone out at the end of the day and think about other things.
3. A pre-work and post-work routine
To continue the theme of establishing boundaries between work and the rest of your life, I found it helpful (especially during covid) to have a routine before and after work. This would replace my commute in that it let me switch on and off as I needed to. For me that was actually getting dressed (and not working in PJs) and a walk to the cafe in the morning (when covid allowed), and a longer walk and some exercise in the evening, followed by making dinner.
4. A social outlet
It doesn’t matter how introverted or extroverted you are, human interaction is good for you. Going to the shops is not enough, chatting online doesn’t count. At least, see family or friends every weekend. At best, join a social/sports/hobby club, or even consider working from a coworking space when you can.
5. Outside time
Get out of your house and see some nature. Ideally, do this for long periods of time during the weekend, like a picnic or a hike. But anything’s better than nothing — consider adding a trip outside to one of the above points :)