Remote work, for many of us the corona pandemic enabled us a complete new way of working and also living. I, personally, enjoy the freedom of being able to work from home. No struggle getting to work every day, and you just get so much more done.
Don't forget about your colleagues
Most of us work in a team, and of course, you don't have to be friends with every of your coworkers. But as the usual conversations when grabbing a coffee or tea are getting lost in remote work, it is important to keep it up.
Leave some space for sporadic calls or even block some time dedicated to just taking a break, grabbing a virtual coffee, tee, juice with colleagues. What also helps is dedicating a few minutes before starting the meeting to chitchat. Many of us already did this back in the office days, but in remote settings it feels a bit wrong at first. But do it, you will see that your meetings are way more productive.
Meet occasionally when possible
Nothing replaces meeting your co-worker in personal, so try to meet whenever possible. For team building measurements, companies have a budget anyway. But try to find a time slot just grabbing something to eat, spending a lunch break together. Even when this is only once in a while, it's some well spent quality time.
If you miss it, you will feel quite disconnected, since remote is just not the same experience. When you met in real life a few times, it just feels more natural to speak people remotely.
Breaks are important, don't feel guilty about them
There are some fascinating studies showing how your brain starts to work less when you have a work overload. Don't think that this doesn't affect you, usually you will only notice once it is too late.
For example, there is a study from Microsoft which shows how you feel before and after meetings when doing breaks and then unceasingly working:
A break doesn't mean you have to go offline for an hour. Instead, use the time, grab some fruits, refill your water or just take the time to ventilate your room.
Establish some patterns that are disconnected from your work that help you to get a clear mind. For me, that's mostly preparing a coffee with the French or Aero-Press or just taking a few minutes going outside getting some fresh air and energy.
This also means schedule your meetings always with 5 minutes offset to classic time slots like ':30, or ':00. Your colleagues will thank you for it. And let's be honest, these 5 minutes will not be missed in the meeting anyway. You can use them for taking a short break, clearing your mind.
Establish patterns to stop working
You stop working at your remote job, shutdown the laptop — and then? Watch Netflix, or play a video game? If that sounds familiar to you, please stop it! It will lead to a burn-out over time. Instead, take the time, grab something healthy to eat, keep your hands away from technology like smartphones etc.
A practical alternative could also be taking a walk outside, do grocery shopping, cleaning your flat—whatever works for you. And most importantly, do something very differently. This helps you keep your mind free and really mentally get okay, I am off — I stopped working.
Furthermore, don't answer mails after hours! The company will also stay when you don't reply to a mail after 22:00!
Stay productive, rethink your organization
With the home office approaching, you should take a different type of organization. Instead of just seeing the work time, try to find the goals, how much time can you spend today and what goals do you want to reach? Especially at home, there can be plenty of distractions. For some people, it is easier, for others harder to focus.
So set goals, try to achieve them and if not attempt to find out why, eliminate disturbances helping you focus on your work. If possible, attempt to separate your “work spot” from your day-to-day area. Some colleagues already told me them it helps to “dress for work” or just leaving and going back to their usual workstation place after an hour or so – having some kind of different items on the desk.
What helps for me is reflecting what you have done today and then just going outside taking an extended walk or go running with my headphones on.
Never stop optimizing
After all, it is a process, everyone needs to find their way to deal with it. But for me, Home Office will not go anywhere soon. Over time, you will find yourself getting more comfortable with the situation.