Work and Isolation: 6 Tips to Mentally Prepare for Working Alone and Remotely

Most people look at the chance to work remotely as a great opportunity to avoid traffic and distractions. Some might also like the chance to work in their sleeping attire with the refrigerator nearby. 

Those really serious about working remotely or at home relish the prospect of an interruption-free environment that will allow them to get lots of work done efficiently. Regardless of your reasons for your move to work alone, there are some important points to consider as you get yourself mentally ready for the change.

What It Really Means

If you’re used to popping into co-workers’ offices just to chat, rather than working on that marketing plan you’re supposed to be doing, that option will be completely gone if you work at home. You’ll also find that emailing or chatting on Facebook may just not give you the same satisfaction as personal contact would. Therefore, be ready for longer periods of solitude, and if you are a very social person, get out sometime during the day to go to the gym or to a place you can spend time with others. 

If you will be occupying a spot in a co-working facility, make sure that you don’t overstep your boundaries in your quest for contact with other humans as some of your coworkers may need their quiet spaces.

Make Exercise Plans

Sure, there were snacks available at your office, but you had to get up from your chair and walk a bit to get them. You also didn’t want the highest snack consumer prize at your office, so you didn’t overdo it. At home, no one is going to be watching, so maybe make sure that if you eat multiple bags of Cheetos at least do it while you are walking on a treadmill.

Set Aside Time for Work

The first couple of days you spend working at home you might give yourself the luxury of getting out of bed late. If you can do your work at any time of the day, what does it really matter? You can sleep until noon and then work the 1:00 – 9:00 shift if that’s what you feel like doing. This scenario can work, but you will need to be disciplined. If you start at 1:00 and then a friend calls with an impromptu dinner invite for 7:00, your eight-hour day can quickly shrink to six.

Conversely

On the other hand, if you have a job like a copywriting or resume drafting, your work will never be put away unless you make a concerted effort to put in a hard stop. Have a response plan ready when clients call or email you at 10:00 p.m. Are you going to take the call, send an auto-response or just wait until the next day? If you don’t have a plan, you may find yourself working at all hours.

Avoid Distractions

Some people can work with headphones playing the album the just dropped and some can get work done with CNN on in the background. If you are not one of these, keep your headphones out of your ears and turn the TV off.

Office Hours

Finally, treat your work time like precious office hours and discourage friends from just dropping by. Again, interruptions are your enemy and you need to minimize them.

Whether you’re working from a small studio apartment in Denver or a huge penthouse in New York City, working remotely or at home can be a welcome change from the busy downtown city life but it also comes with its own set of distractions that you’ll need to deal with. Good luck with the transition!

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