In recent times, more people than ever before are working away from the traditional office. Whether it’s a hybrid model, or you’re full-time freelancing it up from your home – sometimes working remotely can be a challenge.
It can be isolating, and challenging (especially if you have to share your space). So sometimes it’s a good idea to mix-up your working remote routine.
If restrictions in your area allow you to, consider leaving home for the day to work from a library, or a cafe. Or even just from the backyard or balcony.
Changing up your environment can go a long way in improving your mental health, and productivity. So today’s tips are given for when you can’t work from the office, and are wanting to mix it up, away from home.
Not all work is suitable for taking out and about with you. Got a bunch of zoom calls? The local cafe may not be the best place for it. But other work, such as that which is laptop or paper based is perfect for taking out with you.
As a manuscript editor, and book reviewer, a lot of my work involves reading. Because I don’t mind working with a little bit of noise around me, taking my tablet or laptop along to a local cafe works well. But this isn’t always the case.
Some work is able to be done offline (such as when I’m reading books for review), so by planning ahead and saving that work for my remote working days – I’m able to free myself from the stress of public wifi, or hotspotting from my phone.
Think about what work you’re able to do quietly, that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and is easily transportable.
2. Choose your location according to your needs
If you need more quiet, or access to wifi, or other materials – libraries are a great place to get some work done. And the best part? They’re free! You also get the benefit of the quiet and productive atmosphere.
If you like somewhere with a little more energy, consider setting up in a cafe. Bonus points if you’re a coffee drinker or like to snack while you work.
If you will need a place to plug in your charger, factor that into your plans. I often do a little reconnaissance mission before I choose somewhere to add into my work remote roster. Things I like to consider – is it a good temperature? (I tend to get cold when I work) Are there places to charge my laptop? Is there a bathroom?
3. Set a goal for your remote working session
Ever got yourself all excited for your remote writing session, arrived and gotten set up… then realised you’re not sure what you actually want to work on? You might end up ordering more food, than actually getting work done.
To make your remote working session more productive, choose a specific task or goal for that session. Try and keep your expectations scaled to the time you have allocated to be in that space. Maybe it’s a target word count, or a certain number of chapters edited – but by defining what you’re achieving through this session will hopefully help you to maintain your focus.
4. Stay close to home
If you’re short on time, choose a location to remote work that is close to home. This means you cut down on travel time to and from the location. Cool cafe on your street? Local library? Both great options for a big environment change, for little effort.
5. Travel further afield
Got more time on your hands? If you happen to have a work/family life that will allow it, consider working remotely more broadly. With remote working becoming more of a norm, it’s entirely possible to negotiate travelling further afield and working. Public transport can be a great place to get a start on your work, so use that passive time before you arrive at your destination. Or just enjoy the ride!
6. Pack your essentials
It’s super annoying when you forget your charger. Don’t let a lack of the essentials get in the way of your plans. Before leaving home, check that you have your charger — but ideally make sure your devices are fully charged before you head out.
Pack the things you’d normally access if you were in your office. Pens, my planner, laptop charger and a bottle of water are usually my ‘must-haves’.
COVID has also meant that face masks and hand sanitiser are also essentials to pack.
7. Don’t wear out your welcome
There are limits to what is acceptable when working remotely. Here are a couple of the major factors to consider when working away from home:
- Time limits: Especially if you’re working remotely in a cafe, bar or other hospitality based business. These places often rely on high patron turn-over. So don’t be that person that orders one coffee and then takes up the table for three hours*.
- Spreading out: Be respectful of those around you. Others need to be able to use the space. So while it might be tempting to spread out, be sure that you’re considerate of others around you.
- Noise levels should be appropriate for the environment. This one changes depending on where you are, so gauge your surroundings and act accordingly. If you have to take a call, try to do so at an appropriate volume, or go outside.
One of the aspects of freelance life that I find most enjoyable, is the ability to work from anywhere. Switching up my environment (as restrictions allow) has done wonders for my productivity, as well as my mental health.
Not able to travel outside of your home? Consider switching up your environment within your home. Work from a different chair, or spruce up your area with a painting or plant close to your desk. Keeping your environment fresh can do wonders!
What are your tips for remote working? Comment on the post and let me know!