When I first graduated, I pictured most ideal jobs being like this: a 9-to-5 office; my own little cubicle or desk; a hip, cool office with young, creative people; and a daily commute on the train.
I never considered working remotely, and I didn’t know what it entailed. Initially when I’d find out a job was remote, I’d feel crestfallen and imagined I’d feel isolated and lonely within weeks of starting the job. For a lot of people, their workplace is their main source of friendship and community. I mean, you spend at least 40 hours a week there, and you have something in common with these people—a love for teaching, writing, coding, singing, etc. Or maybe you all just bond over how much you hate your job. That can be equally as bonding.
It can also be hard working remotely when you’re young and just starting out your career. A lot of the pros of working from home sometimes don’t apply to you: you don’t have children or parents you’re caretaking for. In other words, you don’t have lot of responsibilities at home that would make working at home ideal.
But I’ve found that working remotely can still have a lot of pros as a 25-year-old: you save money on commuting, you can pal around with your pup and give her walks, you can sleep in, and if you’re an introvert like me, sometimes it’s easier to focus.
A lot of jobs today are remote because 1. Office space is expensive. 2. Employees/freelancers work in different cities, states, countries. 3. A bunch of other reasons I can’t remember.
SO, here is a list of tips on how to make working remotely not suck as much, whether you’re working remotely full time or just a few days a week.
1. Have plans to look forward to
Whether it’s getting dinner with your friend, have people over for a movie, or going to a yoga class, having plans to look forward to can make working remotely a lot more bearable. When you know you’ll be hanging out with people later in the day, it’ll be easier to focus and not go into a FOMO spiral at 1 p.m. when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed.
2. Decorate your home workspace
Having a bright, personalized workspace can make working from home more fun. Hang up prints or motivational posters, get a bulletin board or calendar, or get a plant for your desk. The world is your oyster!
3. Have a morning schedule
It can be tempting to just chill out in your PJs all day while having important business calls, but just changing into jeans and a T-shirt can make you feel so much better. Have a morning routine—maybe it’s getting up at 8 a.m., drinking coffee, reading the newspaper, and then putting your #getstuffdone #girlboss #yougotthis #workhustle attire. Whatever it is, do it and stick with it!
4. Meet up with another freelancer and work together
I haven’t done this one a lot (it can be hard coordinating schedules), but meeting up with fellow freelancers can be fun and motivating, and get you out of a creative rut.
5. Take a lunch break
With no one popping into your cubicle at noon and saying, “Wanna try that new Thai place down the street?” it can be easy to just work nonstop and never take a break. But take a break! Get up, stretch your legs, do the can-can, whatever gets you moving and energized. Okay, I guess that sounds more like an exercise break rather than a lunch break. But just get away from your computer monitor and go eat some food.
6. Work somewhere new—a coffee shop, the library, etc.
Working in the same space day after day can get monotonous and depressing. Every so often, work somewhere new—a coffee shop in a bookstore, the local library, a hotel lobby (if you’re traveling), someone else’s apartment, your grandma’s house, the park (that might be a little challenging, so maybe just work on stuff that doesn’t a require a computer that day, like reading, sketching, writing, etc.).
7. Stay connected through Slack, Skype, etc.
When working remotely, you can stay connected with your coworkers through Slack groups or Skype. There’s also other Slack groups for freelancers that can be helpful, like Freelance.TV’s Slack group or Online Genius’s Slack group.
8. Go to bed at a normal hour
It can be tempting to stay up super late since you don’t have to get up early to commute to work. But even though this probably gives you 1-2 hours of extra time in the morning, it’s still important to go to bed at a normal time. Respect your sleep hygiene, peeps! I don’t follow this one very well, so do as I say, not as I do!