2020 was a tough year. For many, what happened this year forces a Copernican shift in how we view our work, and our lives in general. Those already working from home were fortunate, but as the situation extends we need to mention some best practices for working from home.
If done correctly, remote working can be liberating and can improve your life significantly. Ideally, you will want to combine all of the advantages of working your specialty in a big city with the benefits of remote or even rural living.
There are five benefits and five drawbacks of working from home, and the best practices are there to reinforce the positive and reduce the impact of the negative.
The five benefits of working from home are:
- No commute
- No dress codes or workplace social signifiers
- Often flexible working hours
- Work expenses are home expenses
- Employers are clients
And the five drawbacks are:
- Increased home costs
- No collective inspiration
- Hard to control working hours
- Decreased physical activity
- Lack of socialization
Thankfully, with just a few tricks and behavioral changes, we can solve the drawbacks and make the most of the benefits.
Larger Push for Remote Working
Although many things will be the same for those working from home, there are some gradual and other acute differences that await us in the future. Primarily, the increased number of people working remotely will change the economic climate.
This is simultaneously good and bad news. More people working from home will mean lower costs for the economy, greater productivity, and more employers offering benefits for this type of job.
But, globalization will work to normalize global wages, which will impact the top earners. If you are making an excess of $15.000 per month (>$180k annually) you might be looking at a pay-cut in the future.
The good thing is that if you follow the practices listed above, the nominal amounts you earn won’t be as important as the overall value you get to keep.
#1 Reduce Needs and Reduce Stress
There are many who are willing to throw away many of the benefits of working from home by wanting to live in a ‘’trendy’’ neighborhood downtown. The simple costs of rent and utilities, which have been skyrocketing in the last few years, can induce unwanted stress here.
Although it is not necessary to move to the country, switching to a smaller town might be a good idea. Many digital nomads have opted to make their old home town their new home base.
This way, you can retain the prestige and paycheck of working in a big company while having your friends and family close at hand. Emotional benefits here can’t be explained through words.
#2 Expand your Capabilities
You may approach this task from two sides. Primarily, you can expand to fields that are close to your specialty. For developers and coders, this might mean learning another coding language or dipping your toes into UI design.
But, you might also start something completely disconnected from what you are doing now. Try developing a craft, improving in sports and music, or starting something nature-related like gardening.
This point is not as much to allow you a fall-back if your main job diminishes, but also to keep your mind alert and your daily routine out of a rut.
It is said that those who don’t swim forward tend to sink, and that happens to our minds as well.
#3 Set Working Hours
This point is closely related to the former and the biggest problem for those working from home. Even though different people strive for different working hours, and it is often nice to be able to sleep in, working the ‘’first shift’’ is always best for your psychology.
Set your working hours to be half-hour after you wake and last for the next six hours. If that is 8 AM you will be off for lunch. No working after that time unless there is a problem you need to solve.
This will leave you the rest of the day for other activities and for yourself to grow as a person.
#4 Stay Physically Active
Unless you have opted to learn a skill that is physical and have some activity in that regard, you will need to find a way to exercise every day. There are already guides on how to win 2021 by exercising at home, and you should adopt one of them to do daily.
Your workout can be as simple as taking walks with your dog or doing a quick high-intensity workout for 30 minutes every day.
And if you can find a company for those, it can be even better.
#5 Prepare Contingencies
Have a backup solution for your lifestyle. If you have opted to go to a rural area or your hometown you can find a safety-net with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Regardless, engage with the community and build contingencies that will allow you to live through the hard patches which are so common with freelancers and may be the same with remote workers in general.
Ideally, this should be done with your partner and a close group of friends. But, if you don’t have those, work on #4 slightly more and find some.
As always, we will persevere!