10 Things I Learned Transitioning To Remote Work

Jun 21, 2020 | Creator, Life | 0 comments

I transitioned to remote work because of the changes from COVID. Discover 10 tips I learned along the way that helped me and could help you.
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With 2020 throwing us a new curveball every month, the coronavirus outbreak has forced more and more people to make the switch from commuting to work to transitioning their work-life home. As a result, many businesses were forced to switch to virtual hiring and employment, causing a boom in work-at-home (or remote) workers and opportunities. 

My job just so happened to be one of those companies that had to make the switch. Since they weren’t able to pause the campaigns that we were working on as customer service representatives for several essential businesses, we were sent to work at home. 

To be honest, I was super excited to be able to work at home despite the circumstances. For as long as I can remember, I’ve desired to work at home. I mean, how could I beat getting paid to work from the comfort of my own home?! This change at my job was one more step towards 100% remote work, which is a massive goal for me. 

Although I was excited to be switching to the work-at-home life, I knew that it wouldn’t be without its challenges. With my inconsistent experiences working remotely on a freelance basis, I am familiar with the worry, lack of motivation, and never-ending distractions that WILL happen.

Since I have been working from home for a few months now, I have learned quite a bit. Although there are plenty of lessons to count, in this post, I’ll share 10 useful tips I learned while transitioning to remote work that you can apply when it’s your turn!

Tip # 1: Define your WHY

The first thing you need to address is whether or not you actually WANT to work at home. Even though you may have been sent home to work due to the pandemic, you will want to decide whether this is a type of lifestyle you want to maintain regularly.

For me, that’s a simple YES! Why? I am seeking ways to supplement my income and create a better work-life balance. The freedom I desire is to be my own boss and set my own work hours. When my job moved up to working from home, it was the first brick on my path to my remote work dreams. After that, I was responsible for putting things in motion and working on securing this lifestyle.

In your case, there may be other things that you’d want to consider. Are you a parent looking to spend more time with the kids? Will it save you money on transportation and commuting? Are you able to be productive when working alone?

All of these factors can definitely come into play, and even work out to your benefit when working from home. Defining your reason for working at home will motivate you to adapt and grow along the way to make it happen. 

Tip #2: Set A Goal & Make A Commitment

Notice that I said along the way. Working from home is not the lazy person’s ticket out. If you have decided to work at home, you have made a critical decision that will impact your future, financially and otherwise.

Although I was fortunate to have a job that made me a remote worker, I still had to decide whether I wanted to make the switch. The alternative was losing my job, so it’s obvious why I took the leap and switched. Once I committed to working from home, I had to get intentional about planning my days going forward.

It takes commitment, effort, organization, and effort to be successful at getting a lot of work done. You will need to have clearly outlined goals that you will work towards achieving, and this will keep you motivated and focused on your work-at-home business.

When it came to setting my goals for work or personal reasons, I’d use my planner to keep track. Since I was working in a call center, I had very clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals that I was expected to reach. This made it easy to be mindful of my goals because I could see my progress towards those goals while I was working.

Tip #3: Make A Designated Work Area

Intentionally setting up a quiet and private working space from the start is definitely worth it if you want to ensure you can get things done in peace. This could be in a spare room or a tucked-away corner of your house. If you don’t have an extra room available where you can close (and lock) the door for some privacy, I’d recommend that you try to use a room that isn’t frequently used during the times you plan to work. You can also put a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you. 

When I initially switched to working at home, although I had a designated working area, I didn’t have a private working space since I was in the unoccupied corner of the living room. Eventually, I was able to move my working area into my bedroom which allowed me to close the door while working and provided me more privacy.

Tip #4: Limit your distractions

At the time, I lived at home with my mom, younger sister, nephew, and dog. As you can imagine, there were several times when I was disturbed by the amount of noise going on in my house while working. It didn’t seem to matter that they all knew my schedule because I constantly found myself asking for them to be quieter in my background while working.

When I moved my work area to my room, I was less distracted by my noisy environment, but there were other challenges presented with being so close to my bed and having all my personal things around me to distract me. Now, I have a designated room that I set up as my office. This way, I have minimized unnecessary distractions and can work better from home.

It is very easy to be distracted while working at home if you aren’t careful. When working from the comfort of your own personal space, everything around you can become a distraction. You have all of the things that you want and need right at your fingertips. 

Everything from your phone, television, kids, pets, bed, and even your kitchen can take your full attention away from your work. This is especially true if you have kids or pets at home, and it can be tough to concentrate on work. You’ll have a lot more time to do the things you’d like to when you haven’t got the boss breathing down your neck. 

Many home workers find it useful to set limits on their interactions with these things during working hours. For example, it could be simply committing to not leaving your work area (or having people enter it) outside of your designated break times. Having boundaries in place makes you more aware of how you’re using your time. It is crucial to have some guidelines to follow while you work at home.

Tip #5: Get All the Necessary Equipment

For you to be successful with working in your home, you’ll need to make sure that your office is fully set up with all the equipment you’ll need, as this will help you be more productive while you work. You’d also want to make sure the workspace is comfortable, too. Your home office is where you are going to spend several hours a day — you probably won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable. 

Most newbie remote workers often overlook this aspect, thinking that they will be okay working from anywhere, thus causing a lot of hardship, pain, and discomfort along the way. Poor equipment and thoughtless workspace layout are the main culprits for making the work-at-home life harder than it has to be. 

When you work from home, you are bound to spend several hours seated on your chair, at a desk, in front of a computer screen. I know from experience that you have to take pride in choosing your computer, desk, and chair for your Home Office setup. Being a techie, I have my preferences of technology that I love to use, but sometimes I have to go with another option based on the requirements of the job that I am doing.

When thinking about our office setup, a good computer with a large hard disc, a quick processor, a quality keyboard, and dual monitors are essential! Your desk will need to have enough space for everything to sit neatly. The best chair for working has to be a comfortable swivel chair with an adjustable height, adjustable backrest with lumbar support, and preferably with arms. Once the basics have been set up, other essentials such as a telephone, fax machine, printer, and storage should be placed within easy reach and without obstructing movement.

Taking the time to set up a workspace ahead of time will ensure that you will be comfortable and happy working from home. I focused on creating an environment that would inspire, motivate, and stimulate me while working from home.

Tip #6: Always get an early start

One of the most common challenges of working from home is procrastination. When you are at home, it is much easier to spend more time delaying the time you start your day. It’s tempting to lie in and take a few minutes longer to relax in the morning before getting up. However, this only zaps your productivity.

I tend to struggle with procrastination more when I have a place to lie down. When I had my office in my bedroom, waking up at the very last minute and laying down on breaks was normal, but it wasn’t helpful in the long run. When my office wasn’t in my bedroom, it required me to get out of bed in enough time to leave that space so it was out of sight and out of mind for me to lie down.

If you want to ensure you stay productive, you’ll want to get up and start your day as early as possible and have your workspace separate from your lounging or sleeping space so that you aren’t prompted to lie down. The positive side to this is that the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish.

Tip #7: Maintain Your Daily Routine

When you transition to working at home, you must try and maintain your usual routine. This means getting ready for work in the same way you usually would if you were going into the office. 

So, wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee, and get dressed in your work clothes (or some work-appropriate casual wear). It’s incredible how much of a difference this simple step can make to your productivity. 

If you don’t already have one, establish a productive routine for the day as a whole as well. Your daily routine should include all the actions you need to take to succeed in working from home. Prioritize your activities, set your daily to-do list, and follow it diligently to achieve your goals. Trying to maintain your usual routine is one of the best things you can do during these changing times. 

Tip #8: Take Your Breaks and Get Out of the House

One of the other benefits of working at home is that you can set your own hours of work, and you can make time to relax when you need it. On the other hand, being in the house so much isn’t that great either. 

Although I couldn’t make my own schedule entirely, I got to pick the schedule that I thought worked best for me. My chosen schedule also included time for breaks and lunch so I didn’t have to plan those out. Instead, I had to be intentional about how I used my time on breaks and lunch to help get me through the day. On breaks, I’d try to grab a snack, use the bathroom, step outside on the porch, or do any small thing that could be done quickly. On lunch, I’d try to eat, relax, and take a walk to get out of the house more.

If possible, I’d recommend taking your lunchtime to spend time away from your work area and get out of the house. It’s beneficial for you to make time to step away from the demands of work, even if you only take a walk around the block, a trip to the mall, or a visit with friends. Getting caught up in balancing work and home life is far too easy, but you need adult interaction to clear your head and refresh you even if you work from home.

Tip #9: Find Ways to Stay Motivated

The work-at-home lifestyle requires motivation, dedication, and commitment. Do not treat your work-at-home life like your hobby! It is your sole responsibility to keep yourself motivated. 

Working from home can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride, and let me tell you, staying motivated on this wild journey isn’t always a walk in the park. When you’re not physically surrounded by coworkers hustling and bustling, it’s easy to feel disconnected and lose that momentum. Plus, the lines between work and home life? They blur faster than you can say “deadline.”

Because you are working from home, there will be days when you may not be able to achieve your daily goals for one reason or another. There will be some times when you may encounter feeling discouraged. It’s like trying to balance on a tightrope sometimes! You may start getting lazy and want to do nothing but lounge around the house, sipping margaritas, and having a good ole time. When that happens, what are the chances of bringing home the ever-important bacon? 

But hey, amidst all the challenges, finding little tricks to stay on track can make all the difference. If you really want to prosper while working at home, you will need to be committed to finding ways to keep you motivated to be successful—like setting small, achievable goals or creating a dedicated workspace.

Tip #10: Connect with Others and Use Your Resources

The final bit of advice that I want to leave you with is to use your resources! While you work at home, the isolation can make you feel like you don’t have any support. In reality, there is a lot of support out there to assist you along the way which is invaluable for making the transition to home employment. 

Interact and seek ideas from others. You must make an effort to join any relevant communities where you can learn from others who have been successful with similar work-at-home lifestyles. Networking with others and building your toolbox of resources are essential in shortening your learning curve and helping you grow.

Final Thoughts

As time passes, remote work is becoming a more robust industry across the country. Working at home is very appealing. Whether you’re an actual employee working from home or have a home-based business, it can be a big adjustment.

If you take the necessary measures to ensure your success, you can reap all the benefits and have a great lifestyle. Following these tips will help you to be successful when transitioning to working from home. 

I’ll be sharing more updates like this as I go through my own work-at-home experience, and I’d love to hear about your journey as well! Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter, From Desi’s Desk… to get my latest updates, just in case you miss any!

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