Freelancers and Remote Workers Survival Guide.
Remote work is now on the rise with the coronavirus quarantine and so are all the perils of working from home. As an experienced freelancer and a stay-at-home employee, I decided to share some tips and tricks that helped me survive both physically and professionally.
Home Office Environment
First things first. You should never underestimate the importance of comfort when it comes to organizing a home office. Many modern homes feature a place for a home office and it often looks like an ex-pantry with no window and only one power socket. That’s why most people prefer an armchair or a sofa where they can make themselves cozy with their laptops. After all, we’ve all seen these ads in which a sporty man or woman in impeccable home clothes is sitting in the light spacious room and working on the laptop. Next time you run into such an ad, look at their craned necks. The hard truth about laptops is that it’s impossible to work long with them on the lap. Two, may be, three days, and you’ll start feeling cramps in your neck. They will lead to headaches and even fog in your eyes toward the end of the working day.
So, get yourself a comfortable desk and chair near the window. Make sure that the display is well lighted but doesn’t reflect the window and sun rays. Black and violet spots floating in front of your eyes are the last thing you need, especially, if you already wear glasses.
Fighting Sedentary Behavior
The severe lack of physical activity during the day is a serious risk for every remote worker. You don’t have to commute, to walk to an office kitchen nook or to a nearest diner during the break. Drinks, food and entertainment are within your arm’s reach. It’s so relaxing! It’s almost a bliss until you find out that the only party look you fit in is your PJ! So, the answer is simple: turn on, say, a two-hour reminder on your smartwatch or fitness tracker. Every two hours you’ll have to leave your desk and have a ten-minute walk around the house or yard. Don’t bring snacks and favorite food to your desk.
Another very important thing is an under desk footrest. Your blood vessels will appreciate this little gift. Now, I think that ladies will understand me better: putting off office shoes at the end of the day is a blessing. That’s because humans weren’t meant for sitting with their feet and legs down all day. If you don’t have a footrest right now, use a pile of books, a big pillow, a box.
Schedule is Everything
Working from home you either overwork or procrastinate. So, the only way to stay on track is The Schedule! If you have, say, a kitchen wall clock and can see it from where you sit, use the clock as the office one. If you’re not so lucky, buy a cheap wall clock for your den. No, the clock in your mobile won’t do. You need a visible incarnation of time, and besides, every time you grab your phone social media notifications catch your attention and you can easily lose an hour or two.
It also helps to prioritise job tasks. Start with the hardest part while you’re still strong and active. It always works out, believe me. Draw “road maps” and pin them over your desk. For example, my road map looks like “RESEARCH (A LIST OF WEBSITES) -> FIRST DRAFT -> EXTRA RESEARCH -> FINAL VARIANT”
We’re social animals, we always need a group to belong to. In the office we live a very intense social life but we never notice it until we’re separated from working pals. Zoom and Skype just don’t work this way. You can have a Friday Zoom party, but saying “cheers” to avatars feels funny. So, call your friends, pull on a decent pair of jeans and drive to the bar.
However, you may happen to work in another time zone or on a different schedule later at night. Then you have to create your social network from scratch. Find some activity, join books club, pet training programs, hiking clubs, anything that involves social contacts and offline activity. You never know how many great people live around you till you have a look!
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