At Spry, we are a company of entirely remote workers. Unlike many other companies, we were fully remote before all of the Covid stuff hit. Yes, you read that right; remote working was not thrust upon us like it was so many others, we choose to work this way. In fact, we prefer it. Now, with that being said, working entirely remote does come with its challenges. In fact, this is not the first article we have written on the subject of working remotely.
This particular article is building on a previous one written by Amber called Making Working Remotely Work. Please check it out. It’s a great read. In Amber’s post, she discusses how remote working can work for you. Today, we are discussing how to not let remote working drive you crazy.
Remote Working Does Not Mean Working Alone
One of the biggest things we face when working remotely is the lack if face to face interaction. Especially if you are used to working in an office environment. We find that many people feel like working remote kills the comradery and collaborative spirit that they find in an office setting. In an office, you can walk over to a co-worker’s desk and bounce ideas off them or share an experience from the weekend, and you don’t have that when you are remote.
Well, that is not entirely true. Here at spry, it is just done a little differently. We schedule regular meetings throughout the week not only for important business stuff but also to stay caught up on each others’ lives. At the beginning of every meeting, we discuss life before jumping into business. In part, this is how we keep the comradery.
Working remotely, you may not be able to walk up to a co-worker’s desk, but there are other ways. For us, we use tools, apps, and platforms like Slack or Google Hangouts a lot. Chat platforms serve as the virtual equivalent to walking up to someone’s desk. And, if what you have to say would be better-said face to face, there’s always the option of a video call. I cannot tell you how many times a week I get a message saying- “Hey, do you have time for a quick video call?”
Between meetings, chat threads, and video calls, there is no reason to feel like you are working alone when you are working remote.
Be Structured and Stay Intentional
Another challenge that can drive a person to the brink is the freedom that comes with remote working. Yep, that’s right! You give people too much freedom and it can drive them crazy. In an office, you don’t have the option to get up and change the laundry or mow the lawn. With remote working, the temptation to do non-work things is ever-present, especially if you are not wanting to do the work thing to begin with. In Making Working Remotely Work, Amber recommends the following:
- Block out your time
- Create a workspace
- Walk away for a bit
- Change scenery
- Set your schedule ahead of time and be very protective of that time
Keeping the Lines Clear
The flip side to staying focused and intentional is knowing when to stop. When working remote, we find that the lines blur a lot, the lines between home and work, work and play, family members and coworkers. So, how do we keep these lines clear? Well, it is not easy, but here are some suggestions that might help.
We mentioned above about blocking out time. Well, we recommend doing the same for your workday. Set a time for your workday to end and, this is important, stick to it. At the end of the workday, leave work behind for the next day and be present in your home time. Keep them separate. Now, remember that you are working remotely, so your schedule does not have to be conventional, as long as you know when it is time to work and when it is time to not.
When you are not at work, spend time unplugged. If you are working remotely, you are most likely spending a lot of time in front of a screen. Spending some time unplugged can help keep the line clear between work and play. I am not saying that playtime should not have screens involved, but I would recommend at the end of the workday, shut everything down; close the laptop. Make sure that you have mentally made the switch from work to play before booting back up. Don’t let work creep into your off time.
Lastly, I know that it probably goes without saying, but family members are not co-workers. During a workday, it is so easy to drag family into our work life. From filling a coffee cup for you to editing drafts, family members can prove very useful in day to day work. DON’T DO IT! Keep those lines clear. If you need a draft edited, hit up a co-worker. If you need a fresh cup of coffee, it is probably time to stretch your legs. Keeping clear lines will help prevent you from thinking that you are spending quality time with the family while you are working.
I hope that this helps you stay sane while working remotely. For more tips on successfully working from home, join us in SprySpace – the Facebook group for social media marketers and digital entrepreneurs.