Originally posted on https://reflectionsfromaredhead.com/work-remotely/
I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in an office fantasising about the peace and quiet of working from home.
However, like anything, the concept isn’t always as much fun in reality.
After years of working in corporate offices, I spent a few years working from home for myself. And even though it was bliss in the beginning, after a few months I felt disconnected, lonely and a little sad. I’d also put on weight from my lack of movement (and enjoying too much comfort food and wine!).
Here’s some of the traps to avoid when working remotely. These are things that can not only affect your productivity levels, but have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health.
Not getting dressed until 3pm
If you’re like me, the thought of not having to get up, shower and get dressed by a particular time is a luxury. However, as anyone who has worked from home for an extended period knows, this is one of the major traps to fall into.
When working remotely, living in my PJs was possibly the biggest mistake I made. Even though I relished it at the start, after a few months I felt stale, unkempt and lazy. I also found there was nothing to differentiate my days as they all blended together. I slept in my PJs, ate breakfast in my PJs, worked in my PJs, sometimes did yoga in my PJs, and ended the day in my PJs.
By not getting showered and dressed for the day, you’re sending your body and mind a subliminal message not to wake up properly. This makes it harder to concentrate and be productive during the day. With that in mind, ditching the PJs and making yourself presentable by a regular time is a better approach to take. It also means that you are taking yourself and your business seriously.
Becoming a shut-in
Contrary to what many believe, working remotely doesn’t mean you should cozy yourself in your office and shut yourself off from the rest of the world (as much as you may want to). In fact, even the most staunchly introverted characters of us – myself included – need some human interaction in their week.
Do yourself a favour and schedule in a walk, a trip to the shop, or even a few hours working from a cafe when you can. This will help to break the social isolation before it sets in, get you out of your PJs, and help to clear the brain fog. Your mental health will thank you for it!
Being clueless about IT
When you’re working from home, generally there’s no IT department on call when something goes wrong. So if the internet goes down or there’s a computer issue, they have to wort it out yourself!
If you’re not IT savvy, it’s time to learn or to enlist a friend who is (just in case!). There are also a swag of online resources and software packages that can help you. Check out this post on how to recover overwritten files. It’s handy just in case there’s an unforeseen IT emergency and you accidentally delete or overwrite some of your important documents (it’s happened to me!). With the info on hand, you’ll stay a lot cooler should the worst occur.
Not shutting off at the end of the day
Another biggy is not shutting off at the end of the workday.
Yes, I know it’s hard to shut off, especially if you don’t have an office separate from your living space. However, downtime to rest and recuperate is essential to both your productivity and overall wellbeing.
So make sure you set a cut-off point for work each day, and that you stick to it (now that’s the hard part)!
These days, I enjoy a mixture of working in an office and working remotely. I find it gives me the best of both worlds whilst helping me to avoid the pitfalls too!