WFH…WTF?! Tips for Working Remotely

I’ve had the opportunity to work at home and remotely for many years. During the last two and a half years I’ve been working exclusively out of my home in Seattle. Working at home presents all sorts of opportunities and challenges, but it is a unique beast, for sure. Here are some of the tips that I have picked up over the years that I hope you might find useful.

  1. If possible (and I know this is a challenge for many colleagues who work in small or shared living spaces) try to designate a work space that you can “leave” to take a break.
  2. If you live with someone who doesn’t work outside the home, remember you are now in their territory. Work out a plan so you don’t get on each other’s nerves. The same goes if they’re transitioning to working remotely like you are.
  3. Have a routine (this should include getting ready for work, having breakfast, etc.). Take a shower. Enough said.
  4. Accept the fact that your work day and personal day will collide. You need to figure out how to find balance during the day, taking breaks as needed.
  5. Try to create a work schedule that helps you balance work and your personal life. (I recognize this is easier said than done for many)
  6. Take a break. In fact, take a lot of breaks. Go outside and breathe the air. Remember to distance yourself from other people (or all of this remote working won’t work). Let your team know when you are taking a break. If you are having challenges with this, communicate with your team and managers.
  7. Don’t worry about the noise in the background. We all have real lives happening around us. If you’re a parent, your children will be part of your meetings at some point. It’s OK, many of us have been there and we understand.
  8. Assume best intentions – non-verbal communications like email and Slack don’t translate tone very well, so jump on a call or video chat if it’s helpful to navigate a misunderstanding.
  9. Stop working. It’s very easy to keep working. Keep track of how much you are working and make sure you stop. You need a break.
  10. Eat. Yes, make sure to eat. You’ll forget what time it is and realize you haven’t eaten. If you have children, don’t forget to feed them.
  11. Stop eating. There’ll be days you just keep eating. Remember to stop eating.
  12. Call a friend or loved one. I try to do this several times a day when I’m taking a break. Don’t email them or text them. We have enough technology right now. Listen to someone’s voice.
  13. Exercise. You probably can’t go to a gym at this point so figure out another way to get your body working.
  14. Spend time doing your hobby. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to find one.
  15. This could go on for a while so take some PTO. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time off.

This is new territory for a lot of us right now. We are all in this together, and we are fortunate to have jobs that we can do remotely. So let’s take advantage of the opportunities it presents, and not be afraid to reach out to others when you are having a tough day.

Marc Litvinoff is the Managing Partner of GSG