Working remotely has become a more and more common practice in today’s globalised world. Creatives are lucky to be in an industry where work doesn’t necessarily require physical presence, and nowadays there are a lot of remote jobs and freelance offers for web, graphic, brand design, illustration and so on.
While it seems very attractive to be able to work in your pyjamas all day, there are advantages and disadvantages when you work remotely, and one of the biggest challenges is to stay focused. So here are a few tips and truths about working from home:
- Don’t stay in your pyjamas!
One of the most important things to do when you work from home is to establish a routine. Working from bed in your pyjamas might be fun for a few days, but it ends up becoming a toxic relationship with your work, where there’s no separation between the place you rest and the place you do your job. Try to set up a routine where you wake up every day at the same time, get changed (it can be into that comfortable stay-at-home hoodie), start work at the same time, have a lunch break, and finish at a reasonable time. If you’re too attached to your bed, consider finding a co-working space or a cafe with good WiFi.
- Separate work from home time
Without the commute from home to office and office to home, it becomes a bit trickier to switch off from work. Especially if you keep getting email notifications and messages out of your work hours – a lot of times working remotely means working in different time zones, so your work colleagues might be sending you “urgent” emails as you’re going to bed. Make sure to switch off everything work-related once you finish your day. Checking emails before going to bed will only make you anxious about what you have to do in the morning and probably deprive you of a good night’s sleep – so just leave work to work hours.
- Leave your phone in another room
I’m serious! It’s a lot easier to get distracted when you don’t have your boss watching you and you’re getting notifications from Instagram or messages from your friends. To make sure you don’t end up scrolling more than working, take the distraction away. Plan a 5 minute break from time to time when you can check your phone and stretch your legs. Do the same with any other things in your home that might tempt you to leave work aside.
- Communication is key
Miscommunication happens a lot more when working remotely, since you can’t just quickly show something to your colleague sitting next to you, or get your boss to come and check something you’re doing. Make sure you find the best way to communicate with your team or your client – is it Slack? Email? Or best to schedule a call? And keep everyone updated on what you’re working on and when they can expect things to be done. If you’re organised and responsible, you will create an atmosphere of trust and manage expectations.
- Make the most of it
When you’re able to establish a routine and a healthy relationship with your work, you get two very precious things: extra time and flexibility. Make sure to use that for your personal and professional growth. Dedicate this extra time to work on your own creative projects and also to do those activities you “never had time” to do before: yoga, a walk in the park, read a book, learn to play an instrument or anything you like really! Book these things in your diary as you would book your work appointments and commit to them. Also, make sure to see your friends and family often (weekends are for that, not for working!), as staying at home can get lonely sometimes. Finding this balance and having time to yourself are very important things to have a happy creative life!