Okay, before being forced to work remotely, I had never worked from home a day in my life. As someone who prides themselves on getting a lot of work done on a daily basis, I had always made the assumption that I would struggle to be productive while working from home.
I needed to be around my coworkers in order to motivate myself to stay on task. I wanted to be in the office where the energy was high and fast-paced. Above all else, I thought it would be too easy to get distracted by YouTube or the television if I was working from home, so I just never really gave it a chance.
Then my company was forced to go fully remote.
I tried to stay in the office for as long as I could but was told on a Friday afternoon that, effective Monday morning, the entire office building that housed close to 10,000 employees was going to be closed.
To say that I was scared was an understatement.
Not only was I going to be away from all of the familiar faces, but I was going to have to adapt to a new routine, and I was going to have to hold myself more accountable than I have ever held myself in the past.
Adjusting To The Remote Life
The first few days of working remotely were a bit of a challenge. With having to adjust to the digital life and all of the technical issues that came with working remotely, it definitely made me hate the idea of working remotely all that much more.
Then something happened. As soon as all of the technical issues were resolved and I was able to start doing my job again, I actually found myself enjoying being able to work remotely. None of the things that I feared in the first place were actually happening.
I was able to stay productive (probably more productive if I’m going to be honest), I was able to keep in touch with my co-workers, and I was able to adapt to a new routine rather easily.
All of this is good news, because just this last week, my company announced that when we “return to normal,” they expect half of its’ employees to be working remotely permanently.
In just the span of one month, I had gone from being the last one to leave the office to being the first volunteer to work remote permanently. I love it. I love being able to work wherever I want to work from and having the confidence that I will be able to remain productive.
How To Actually Enjoy Working From Home
While every company has different guidelines and every job is going to have different demands, I want to share with you a few tips that I think will help you to actually enjoy working remotely. These are the things that have helped me to actually enjoy working remotely, which is why I wanted to share them.
1. Follow Your Work Schedule
Work first, play second.
Working from home doesn’t mean that you work whenever you want. If you were usually in the office from 9 am – 5 pm, have the same schedule at home. When you’re supposed to be at work, be at work. Develop a “work first, play second” mindset to help you stay on task and be productive.
What does this mean? It means that you plan your day around work just as you would if you were in the office. If you want to keep your job, you need to make your work your number one priority. Only when you get your work done or complete your day should you then focus on other things.
2. Don’t Glue Yourself To Your Desk
With that being said, it’s also important that you don’t glue yourself to your chair for the entirety of your day. Doing so will only cause you to get burned out quicker, and as we all know, nobody is productive when they experience burn-out.
If you get up from your desk to go get lunch on a daily basis at your job, do the same when you’re at home. If you get up and talk to co-workers, get up and either talk with your family or take a small walk outside. If you take breaks at work, do the same at home.
The point is to mimic your day as much as you possibly can from when you are in the office to when you are working remotely. Gluing yourself to your chair for hours at a time without taking your mind off of work is not going to do you any good.
3. Time Block Your Day
Don’t just time block one section of your day, time block the sh*t out of your day.
Time blocking is such an effective strategy in being able to remain productive. Block out a certain time in your day to respond to email. Block out another time of your day for meetings. Lastly, block out the remaining time of your day to other pressing tasks.
The reason why time blocking is so effective is because you are focused only on one category of tasks instead of allowing your mind to go in a million different directions.
4. Separate Work From Home
This is crucial. You don’t always feel like you are at work while you’re at home. And vice-versa. You don’t necessarily want to feel as though you are at home when you should be working.
If you have the ability and capability, designate a certain room in your house or even a certain location as your workspace. When you are at your workspace, it should feel like work. When you are not at your workspace, it should feel like home.
In order to maintain a positive work/home balance, it’s going to be in your best interest to differentiate the two as much as possible.
Before You Go
Ultimately, everything in life comes down to balance. It is up to you to find a happy balance between home and work. The sooner you find that balance, the more you will start to actually enjoy working remotely.