8 years ago, I embarked on a journey with The Loft ME, then, as a remote designer based in Beirut. When my entourage heard about it, they told me that it sounds like the ‘comfortable’ option for me and that it would make me forgettable in my creative community. Little did we all know that in a few years ahead, the 9-5 work schedule would become outdated and that we would have to learn how to adapt to the changes happening in our workspaces and become connected to the global creative community more than ever.
Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you settle in, if you have just begun working remotely.
We know that communication is the key to success in any role. When you begin to work remotely, you will need to over-communicate because you are not physically present with your team and that tends to make you forgettable. Great practice would be to make sure that your Slack status is constantly updated, whether you are on your lunch break, available or in a meeting. Be proactive by scheduling 1:1 with your manager to re-align visions, goals and to keep your work top-of-mind.
Working remotely can seem lonely and you could miss being around people with inspiring conversations and after-work plans. To keep your options open, you can rent a seat at a co-working space near you. It’s a great place to see other people doing their thing and to be at when you’re feeling uninspired.
Commitment and accountability are big players when you set out on this new role. If it is an unfamiliar working style for you, I recommend that you find a good routine that does not have a lot of distractions. This will help you figure out how you are managing your tasks and time without being micro-managed. It is important to remember that giving yourself too much leeway before knowing your work tempo could result in missing deadlines or mismanaging projects.
Time management is a skill you will need to harness if you want to stay on track with everyone on your team. Your manager will check on you but it will be your job to set attainable small goals and create realistic to-do list. Practice makes perfect, so as you do it more, you will be able to take on more work and challenge yourself on different kinds of projects.
If you are working from home daily, separate your home office from the rest of your house. I cannot stress this enough. I urge you to dedicate a secluded room or corner for work and when you log off, you close the door behind you and live your life. You need to be able to log-off mentally and keeping your workspace out of sight is great at maintaining a good work-life balance.
Remote working does wonders to your work-life balance. Increased flexibility comes from your ability to prove that you are a responsible and accountable individual and from being proactive and finishing your tasks on time. This gives you more time to commit to ‘me’ time and incorporate some physical activity, spend memorable moments with your kids or even cook a heartwarming meal.
The hardest part about working remotely is knowing when to stop working. Just because your computer is handy should not mean that you are available 24/7. Make sure to set kind and respectful boundaries to help keep you from experiencing burnout.
If you live with your family, it can be hard to explain to them that you are working a real job and they cannot barge in for a chat or a cup of coffee every few minutes. Start by having a real conversation about this with them and set some ground rules and expectations to avoid any unwanted embarrassments.
Before beginning this kind of work, get to know the team you are about to be part of. A lot of companies preach work-life balance cultures but it is all done for show, so make sure that your future team embodies the same values as you through zoom meetings and calls. You can tell if they are your tribe, even if you never met them personally.