At Urban Block Media, we function as a fully remote company, and we love it! With the advancement of online communication methods, the concept of remote work has become increasingly common among companies. The allure of flexible schedules and a lack of commuting are making this a desirable work option for many employees.
According to a study by IWG, 70% of global professionals work remotely at least once per week, with 53% working remotely for at least half of the average week. With the recent arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, an even larger portion of the global population is currently working from home. This being the case, we wanted to share some of our tips for how to maximize your time, efficiency and happiness while working remotely.
Set a routine
When working remotely, it is easy to get lost in the lack of structure and get off track. We find that a good way to combat this is to set a regular routine. Wake up at the same time each day, and don’t sleep in. Set a time to start work each day, whether that’s 8am or 10am, and work a typical schedule. Give yourself routine breaks, and eat lunch at a similar time each day. And once it’s near the end of the day, stop working! There will always be more work and there will always be another day to work on whatever wasn’t finished the day before. This will give your days some structure and consistency.
Get dressed, and get ready
Although admittedly, we like the idea of not having to dress up or wear a suit daily, we do believe that it is important to choose appropriate clothing to put you in the optimal mindset for working. Every day, you should be dressed as if it’s casual Friday at work. Throw on some jeans, a t-shirt, and be dressed to be on a video call with your boss any time of the working day. No PJ’s, no yoga pants, no sweats. You’re working, and you should be dressed to be focused and working. Also, don’t skip the showers. People can’t smell you on video, but you don’t want a sheen on your hair when you have to be on a video call.
Designate an area to just work
It is vital to have a division of work and private life. Whether you’re in a studio apartment or in a 5 bedroom house, dedicate an area that’s just for work. When we’re in our offices at home, it’s just for work. We don’t read or play video games in the office, there’s a separate space for that. Keep your work area strictly for work, and enjoy your time away from that spot when you’re not working. Also, make sure your work-space is tidy and organized. If it gets messy throughout the day, clean it up before wrapping up that day, so that the next morning you’re starting with a clean slate.
Enhance your work-space
There is a lot of value to tailoring your home work environment to your needs and desires. Treat the space as if it were a traditional office. Ensure that it is equipped with all of the supplies and equipment that you require to perform your job. That way you aren’t wasting time walking around the house looking for things or hoping out to the store every time that you need something. Consider decorating your space or adding some plants to the area. Customizing the space to your liking will increase your comfort and in turn can contribute to increased energy and productivity.
It is too easy to get stuck in your house or apartment for long periods of time when working from home. Being cooped up can lead to lethargy and a lack of productivity. We highly recommend making a point of going outside daily even if for a brief period of time. Physical activity is a good way of resetting both physically and mentally. Go for a walk, run or bike ride to break up your day. Fresh air can do wonders psychologically. Also, consider opening a window to get some more airflow.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these next two tips are temporarily restricted. However, we are sharing them so that once it has concluded, you might consider them.
Mix it up
It is worth considering changing your remote work environment on occasion. One of the great things about remote work is that you are not tied to a single work space. We find that choosing to work from an alternate remote location once a week can be very beneficial. Consider trying to work from a coffee shop or other co-working location. This will give you a mental refresh and also avoids the abundance of distractions at home. If a coffee shop is too loud you might consider a library. Variety is the spice of life!
In person meetings
We encourage periodical in person meetings. Although the vast majority of the work that we do can be accomplished in a remote work setting, there is still value to holding in person and face to face meetings. Doing so allows for team bonding, constructive discussions and strategic planning. At Urban Block Media we aim to have an in person company retreat every six months. This gives our whole team an opportunity to jointly plan for the future but also to have some fun together.