Increasingly, more and more people tend to work flexibly. Whether this means working from home, being a freelancer or a contractor, or engaging in new forms of work like blogging, the common factor is you may not necessarily have an office to go to.
If you're delving into the world of remote work, the lack of structure can be a bit intimidating. As someone who is very used to working remotely, here are some tips to surround yourself with an organised framework.
Do know yourself. If you have a robust social life but prefer to work in the quiet, then maybe working from home is best suited to you. But if you find that might be quite lonely and make you struggle through the lack of social interaction an office environment would normally provide, then perhaps working elsewhere is better suited.
Don't work from bed too much. Granted, it is nice to not have to get up and get ready, but from personal experience, working from your bed tends to make any structure you have flounder. Obviously, don't beat yourself up if you do work from bed (especially when it's cold and dark), but it's better to try and replicate the type of office structure at home, if you can.
On that note, do try and find a dedicated work space at home. This helps give you a 'going to work' mindset even if you're still in your home. This isn't always possible depending on where you live and how much space you have, but is rather beneficial in ensuring you can create a work-life separation, even when working from home.
Don't think that just because you work from home, you can't have a routine. If you don't have set hours, give yourself a rough structure to abide to. If you feel staying in comfy clothes makes you feel like you're not actually working, then get dressed as if you're heading to the office. Give yourself breaks if you need to. Structure is essential to working from home, especially if you know you might be prone to isolating yourself and it could have an impact on your mental health.
Do go out for a walk before your work begins. If you start at 6 am, this might be more difficult, but if your hours are friendlier, then having a quick walk before your work replicates the feeling of walking to work and provides a sense of separation from doing errands/housework/relaxing beforehand.
Do make the most of working from home! Whether that's in wearing comfortable clothes, cooking yourself a hearty lunch rather than buying a sad-looking salad, or by saving lots of money on tea or coffee, there are definitely mental and financial benefits to not having to go to an office.
Working...from cafes or public spaces
If you find working from home isn't the best method to being productive, perhaps you need to seek environment. Do try working at other spaces - such as cafes or libraries! Perhaps the hubbub of a cafe is enough background noise to give you some social interaction or lack of silence to help you feel like you're in a refreshed environment.
Do switch it up. Although I espouse the virtues of routine, I think it can be useful to have a rotation of places to go if you do feel you need to get out the house. From my experience, going to different places helps prevent me from feeling creatively stumped.
Sometimes the hubbub of cafes can be the perfect background environment (but don't sit too close to the counter if the noise of the coffee machine bothers you). / © Unsplash
Don't spend too long at independent cafes. The tricky thing with working from cafes is being aware that you might be taking up a space that could provide the cafe with several different paying customers. If I know I need to spend more than three hours at a cafe, I usually tend to go to a chain rather than a small and independent place.
Alternatively, if you can strike up a rapport with a cafe owner, do be upfront about working from their business. Ask if there's a minimum amount of drinks you could order - or maybe see if you could work out a rate to stay there for several hours?
At any rate, don't go to a cafe, order the smallest thing on the menu, and hover over it for hours at end. It's just not very good form.
Do work out a budget if you do like to work from cafes. It can get expensive going to a cafe every day, so perhaps limit yourself to several days or x amount in spending. This is where working in libraries comes in - these might be quieter spaces, but are free and can also foster a productive work space.
If you do like to work from university libraries, don't go during peak exam times. Most libraries tend to limit the times at which reference users can work at the library, but even if they don't, it's better to let students get on with their work.
Do make sure wherever you go to set up has two things - wifi and charging points.
Don't hog a huge table if you're working alone. Okay, you have a laptop but it's not fair to other customers if you then keep a four-person table all to yourself.
Working...from coworking spaces
Another location ideal for remote workers is a coworking space. These spaces usually offer hot desking and cater to different types of work, such as spaces for creatives or for start-ups.
Do your research. The coworking market has experienced a boom as of late and consequently, there are a lot of spaces on offer. Look at different rates, location, and benefits to find one that best suits your needs. Also do get in touch - many coworking spaces are happy to offer trial days or meet to find a package that suits your needs.
Don't pressure yourself into going. If you feel you don't quite have the hours to make going to a coworking space worth it, then - quite simply - don't. Whilst they can be great spaces for other remote workers, they are not a fits-all solution. If the cost of a coworking space is too steep, then perhaps look into other alternatives.
Do try such other alternatives, such as spaces that offer daily coworking packages. These are usually cafes or bars that have a dedicated space for coworkers, which usually consists of a flat rate and drinks or food included.
Do try and find the space best suited to you. If you're a content writer, perhaps finding a space with other content writers could be of use, especially if you're hoping to network.
Perhaps you might like to work sitting by the pool in a sunny environment? Why not? / © Unsplash
And finally, if you work remotely and have no other obligations, do become a digital nomad! If you have the means and the time, travel - all the while continuing to work! Granted, this doesn't mean you'll be on holiday all the time, but if you've been meaning to visit other countries and your schedule is flexible enough, then definitely go for it. You can find working spaces on trains or even at airports.
Any other tips or tricks for working remotely? Let us know in the comments!