Through either an arrangement with an employer or your freelance work, you’re now a remote worker. Congratulations! While in many respects working remotely can be similar to working from an office environment, there are actions you can take to help you make this adjustment and succeed in your new role.
Here are some working from home tips for remote workers who are just starting out.
Before you begin working from home, you may have dreamt about the day you could do your job while wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt. You may want to put the sweatpants away, however.
It’s essential to maintain a professional demeanor and mindset when you’re starting out, even if no one can see you. That’s why it’s important to get dressed every day as if you’d be going to an office–or at the very least, as if you may leave the house. You don’t have to wear a fancy suit, but getting out of your pajamas represents a significant internal mental shift that helps you adjust from just being at home to being in your home office.
Set a consistent schedule
To give yourself the best chance at success, get on a consistent schedule. Get up at roughly the same time each morning and start work at the same time as well. Your schedule may be immutable due to an employer, but if you have any control over it, just make sure it stays consistent on a day-in and day-out basis.
This will help you be productive at work, but also maintain separation in your personal life. You don’t want your job to take over your post-work hours simply because you work from home (or some other remote work-friendly space).
Communicate your schedule to whoever needs to know
This could be your clients, employer, family, or friends. Let the important people in your life know when you’re working every day. This will help your family avoid distracting you during work hours and help employers or clients avoid bothering you outside your working hours.
Practice proactive communication
Whether you’re speaking with clients or a boss, get on their radar before they can contact you. This helps you stay ahead of any potential issues so you’re anticipating challenges rather than reacting to them. When your clients or employers can’t pop their head into your office, they want to be reassured they can get in touch with you when they need you.
It’s always important to respond to emails promptly, but it’s especially important as you begin your remote working journey. This establishes the expectation that you are a reliable communicator who can easily be reached as you’re starting out. Your clients or boss will appreciate this and will rest easier knowing they can count on you.
Set up your ideal workspace
One of the coolest aspects of working from home is that you have total control over your workspace. Unlike an office, you’re not beholden to an employer’s design or furniture set up. You can optimize your chair, desk, or room to your exact specifications.
Before you start working from home, consider looking into buying the ideal chair, a desk with space for your computer or laptop, and any other features for your home office like plants or pictures. Make sure your laptop or PC has the right software. Set yourself up so that you’re in your ideal working environment.
Buy home office supplies
Stock up on supplies such as pens, notepads, or planners and place them somewhere you can easily access them throughout your day. Keep a calendar with any appointments you can store in an easily viewed place. You may be able to recoup expenses for these through your employer (but make sure you ask about this before you buy).
This is the most important component of working from home. Don’t allow your performance to change or falter; offer your clients or boss the same great level of service you did in an office setting. This lets anyone you work with know that your ability to work is in no way impacted by where you’re physically located.