Updated: Dec 3, 2020
A freelancer’s tips and insights for your friendly neighborhood office-dwellers... and some painfully obvious points for your seasoned remote workers.
It’s really happening people. Sporting events are being suspended, my inbox is getting bombarded with assuring emails from companies I’d never heard of, and offices are requiring their teams to work remotely from home. When I got the email that my office was having us work from home, I wasn’t too worried. I actually kind of enjoy working from home. I feel like I can get more work done at home, as weird as that sounds! If done the right way, you can get into that "grind mode" and get you're work done way quicker. But, then I thought about the millions of workers that are now forced into something that they aren't used to or haven't tried before.
Remote work can be difficult to figure out with your bed so close and the next episode of Stranger Things primed up on Netflix. Your office space is more like "Do I work from the couch or the bed today?" You might not have high-speed internet or the multiple monitors you need. We don't know how long this remote work will be, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve found to help me over the last few years of freelancing from home.
Some Helpful Insights into Remote Work
Stick to your routine.
Get dressed. Really, this is so pivotal in the work that you’ll be able to get done. Shower up, brush your teeth and put some nice clothes on. Don’t be that person who doesn’t wear
pants during the Zoom call. It was cool and liberating that one time, but let’s keep things professional at home too. In all seriousness though, when you start your morning off in a lazy manner, you’re going to have a lazy day. Trust me, you’ll gravitate towards those bedsheets if you keep the PJs on.
For me, I’ll do what I would do if I’m going out anywhere. I’m cleaned up, I had a solid plate of pancakes — putting thinly sliced fruit on a pancake and folding it makes for a really fun pancake taco, but I’ll save that for another article —, and I make sure to sit at my desk instead of the couch. I’ll throw on some soft subtle music in the background and get to work. Remove the distractions.
It’s not just you, it really isn’t easy to work from home. You’re a few feet from your bed, the boss isn’t over your shoulder, and you missed the latest Bachelor episode last night. The one that everyone is talking about. Getting distracted when working from home is very easy to do and it happens more often than freelancers like to admit. However, when done the right way, working from home can actually help you get more work done in less time than you would at the office just by limiting these distractions. My biggest thing is to turn that phone off and away. Sit at that desk or table at home and hone in on the work. If you like listening to music, find something that isn’t too loud and something that won’t make you want to fall asleep. Shoutout to the Lofi Beats playlist on Spotify, not a sponsor. Here's our 2.0 Rise & Grind playlist that rotates. After work, you can switch to our 2.0: Just Grind playlist 😉
Talk a break often.
A solid majority of us aren’t built to stare at a screen or work all day. Schedule times throughout the day when you can step away from the work, drink water, stretch. Check out this Pomodoro Technique Chrome extension - a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
Now, don't get this twisted... This doesn’t mean scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. I’m talking about productive relaxation. Yes, you can be productive and chill at the same time. Everyone has there own thing that they do to take a break, but try to move around a little. I love getting outdoors and into nature as much as I can. The Lady at the Community Garden on Houston St. in Manhattan is an absolute life-saver. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something you’ve never seen before in your own neighborhood.
Eat. It's easy to forget.
Speaking of walking, get up to eat your lunch. Gosh, this is huge. Don’t eat it at your desk PLEASE. Close the laptop between for a bit 12 pm and 2 pm and go make or buy lunch from a local business that's doing takeout (it's important to #ShopSmallBusiness during quarantine!). Some distractions are good, and this is definitely one of them.
Treat yo’ self.
You know how some dogs are food-motivated? Our team at 2.0 is definitely food-motivated. Remote work can feel more difficult than commuting to the office. So, I love treating myself to a nice Puerto Rican black coffee in the morning (really good stuff, by the way, 10/10 would buy again) and I’ll get some dark chocolate covered almonds to go with it. A few other treats from our team:
Lynn - loves dried mangos and her guilty pleasure of Airheads (the original, of course). Her WFH reward is smothering her kitty with love.
Kevin - likes to unwind with a Charlotte local beer! He always grabs some sourdough pretzels.
Brian - King of Power Naps. Also gives Mom a quick call during breaks since she's across the world!
Sarah - loves crime podcasts! On her breaks, she dives into Crime Salad Podcast - currently on "Dating Game Killer" which is a quick 8 minutes if you want to check it out.
Every freelancer has this “groove” that they get into when doing their work. Oftentimes, you just need to put yourself in the right mood to do so. You definitely can’t fly to Puerto Rico to buy some coffee, so you should do whatever works for you. Experiment and see what puts you in that right state of mind to get things done. You got this. We're going to get through this together.
Staying Connected: Join us for weekly 2.0 events on our digital Collective - 2.0 works: from home. On 3/19, I'll be discussing this article and WFH Survival 101 with some other cool people. Sign up here. You can also join our digital Collective Facebook group by signing up.
Internet: Comcast, AT&T are offering "Free Wifi for Everyone." Spectrum has a student package.
Ask your credit card company or landlord to skip this month's payment if you're strapped for cash!
Workouts: Melissa Wood Health's home workout videos (free ones on Youtube and her Instagram) & Barry's Bootcamp Team is streaming weekly workouts on their Instagram's. We always repost any free resources on our stories, so follow us here.
Podcasts: Since sports were canceled, stay updated on this USAToday March Madness Bracket for podcasts. All of them we recommend!
Books: Our March pick - Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger