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The ins and outs of remote working: How to keep your career on track

Aug. 24, 2020 | By: TEKsystems

woman with curly hair engaging in a web conference meeting with four collegues

For some of us, the COVID-19 pandemic feels like we’re living in a time warp. Office buildings are gradually reopening, but many people are still working remotely, permanently or for the foreseeable future. The reality is, there is a learning curve to working remotely. Otherwise, it can feel like you’re stumbling blindly through your career. Luckily, modern-day tools make it easier than ever to work remotely. See the below list for some basic, but effective, tips for keeping your career (and sanity) in check so you can focus forward:

1. Create a designated workspace (that isn’t your bed)

It’s essential to set aside your own specific workspace, even if it’s just a small area within your home. There should be some separation between where you work and live. In terms of work–life balance, physically leaving an area or shutting the door where work happens helps determine the end of your workday.

2. Dress the part

It definitely sounds tempting to hunker down in sweats all day, but try to avoid falling into a uniform of pajamas and old sweatshirts. Getting dressed for work creates a productive mindset. You’ll feel more fresh, awake and motivated.

3. Set hours and stick to them

Like any job, it's important to set specific hours. The lines get blurred when you work remotely—if you’re not careful, some days can become 14 hours long. Now that you have a designated workspace, shut the door each evening at the end of the day. This action reinforces the idea that you’re done with work and you’ll be less likely to sit down and answer emails when you should be relaxing and rejuvenating.

4. Take breaks

Although you have the flexibility of being in the environment of your choosing, working remotely can also feel restrictive. Make a point to go for a walk or take small breaks so you don’t feel like a shut-in every day.

5. Schedule lunches or meetings with other people

Don’t underestimate the value of socializing with other people in person. It’s easy to get in a routine of only talking to others through the computer, but it will break up your day nicely and reignite your productivity to get away from your computer and talk to colleagues or friends face to face (with masks, of course).

6. Stay out of the kitchen

Procrastinating while trying to avoid that difficult task at hand? Don’t meander into the kitchen. It’s so easy to overeat on an hourly basis, especially if you work out of your house. Keep healthy, light snacks close to you if you’re in the mood to mindlessly nosh during the day.

7. Keep your area clean and tidy

Unless you thrive in chaos, it can be pretty overwhelming and uninspiring to have your space look like a tornado rolled through. Before the end of each day, make sure to clear your workspace of snack wrappers, empty coffee cups, papers, etc. so you can log into work the next morning and feel a sense of calm.

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