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The idea of working remotely (working while travelling, telecommuting, etc.) isn’t new. People have been working remotely for years – but the perception that working from home entails pyjamas, Ben & Jerry’s and the occasional conference call persists.
The reality is that an out-of-office office is not a distant pipe dream anymore. More businesses are embracing the concept of remote work – and it’s working. In a 2014 study, it was found that remote workers had a 13% performance increase and took fewer sick days.
As it turns out, putting employees in command of time and destiny not only has a profound effect on the workforce, but is also good business. Happy people make hardworking people.
And though remote work sounds glorious (Later wake-up calls! No more annoying water-cooler chats! Less cash spent on bad take-out!), balancing work life and downtime can be challenging – and sometimes, the boon in productivity leads to longer hours and a less distinguished separation of work and play. Well, it’s time to clear the clutter and figure out, once and for all, how to work out of the office or while you’re travelling.
Turn a spare bedroom into a home office or dedicate a sacred corner of your home to work. Separate yourself from the clutter of daily life.
Being a freelancer or telecommuter can be isolating – and it’s important to switch things up for your sanity. Taking a walk to the neighbourhood coffee shop or booking a Breather for a few hours can help you push past creative blocks.
Just because you’ve ditched the 9-5 doesn’tmean you should slack off while others are hard at work. Keep to a schedule that makes sense to your collaborators and be mindful of time differences. It’s important to take advantage of the fact that you can hit the gym a bit more leisurely in the morning, but having no structure at all will affect your productivity. Divide your day into 30 minute blocks, allot time for every task, set alarms in your phone to ensure you stay productive and mark deadlines and milestones in your calendar.
At the office, there’s always time for chit-chat about last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, but at home, we’re less likely to take breaks. Allow yourself a 15-minute break after every 1.5 hours of work complete, and you’ll see your focus improving over time. If you have trouble taking breaks, use the time to complete small pet-projects, brush up on your cooking skills by watching Youtube videos or research your next vacation.
One of the most important things you can do when working remotely is separate your home life from your work life. When work is done, it’s important to fully unplug to make time for personal matters. Take the time to set up separate e-mail, Skype and cloud accounts so nothing gets mixed up in your personal life and vice versa.
In the end, it all comes down to what works best for you. Working remotely works best when you find new ways to adapt your personal workflows to enable your own style of productivity.
We’d love to hear from others who are working remotely. How do you keep work and play in check while working remotely?