There are a few truths we can all acknowledge. That the Kardashian-Jenner clan is "just like the rest of us"?...eh, not so much. So when Kendall set out to prove she's everyday people by tackling the seemingly simple task of slicing up a cucumber, the internet simultaneously laughed and cried.
Poor Kendall. She herself called the fiasco "tragic" on social media, so don't think she's unaware. But here's the issue: In trying to appear as if she had it all under control, all Kendall did was make things harder on herself.
Stick with us through the leap of logic, okay? Let's say you're a remote worker. Maybe you've been around the block a time or two, and you want everyone to know you're a pro at this. Or maybe you're just getting started in the WFA life, and you want to seem confident and capable.
But in reality, by focusing so much on everyone's perception of what you're doing, you're making the whole thing that much harder on yourself. Remote work comes with challenges, but it also comes with a lot of benefits. The trick is figuring out how to make it work for you so you overcome the obstacles while still reaping the rewards.
6 Tips to Make Remote Work Life Easier
We're here for you, fam. Our team of remote experts has worked from around the world, across just about every time zone, and along the way, they've learned a thing or two. So we're here to share our best tips for making the WFA life work for you (we guarantee it'll be easier than cutting up a cucumber!):
1. Get Your Home Office in Order
If you're just starting out as a remote worker, setting up your workspace is an important first step. Of course, not everyone has an extra 1,000 square feet for a swanky home office, and that's okay. The important thing is that you create a dedicated space that's just for work. It could be a spare room, a garage, or even a closet — as long as you know that's where the magic happens.
Just remember that sometimes, your office won't be an office at all. It might be a hotel room, an airport lounge, a coffee shop, or a coworking space. If you're planning to truly work from anywhere, we suggest having a "go bag" dedicated to all your work gear — laptop, headphones, chargers, etc. Basically, a portable office.
2. Make a Solemn Vow...to Stick to Your Routine
Who doesn't love the flexibility and autonomy of working from home (or anywhere else)? Except that flexibility means you can, and sometimes will, work at any time. It's difficult to shut off work and separate it from your personal life when it all happens in the same space. And it can be tempting to check your emails before bed or send a quick note during dinner.
Fight that urge. Feeling that you're "always on" is a contributing factor to burnout, and remote workers are extremely susceptible. Instead, consider when you do your best work, and set a schedule that allows you to do that while still maintaining your boundaries.
When your day is done (whatever time that may be), unplug. Literally, if that's what it takes. No laptops, no phones, no emails. The work will still be there when you're back on the clock — we promise.
3. Stay Connected with the Real World (and Real People)
It's a fact that remote workers struggle with loneliness. Relationships can be hard to maintain when the only interactions happen over instant messaging or an occasional Zoom meeting. It takes some extra effort to build connections with remote colleagues, but it's so worth it. Here are a few ways you can maintain a social life when working remotely:
- Use an app like Donut Dates to set up non-work-related video calls with coworkers.
- If possible, plan regional meet-ups with remote colleagues.
- Don't neglect your face-to-face friendships — make them a priority to ensure you get some human interaction and sustain important relationships.
- If you work exclusively from home, plan a day (once a week, twice a month, etc.) to work somewhere else — from the library, the coffee shop, or coworking space — so you benefit from sharing the same space as others.
4. Make Self-Care Your Mantra
Remote workers have it so easy, right? They can wear PJs all day, roll out of bed whenever they want, and their most stressful commute is from the couch to the fridge.
Not quite. What seems like a huge perk can quickly turn into a hot mess. And that's what you'll feel like if you don't take care. Yes, some mornings you'll need to log in from under the covers and say a silent thank you that no one has to see your two-day-old messy bun.
But self-care doesn't mean letting yourself go. It means finding a balance between the days (hopefully, most of them) when you have it all together and stick to your routine...and the days you need a coffee IV just to function.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize self-care when working remotely:
- Stick to your schedule. We've said it before, but it's a must. Have a dedicated start and end time to your day. It might vary but hold to it as closely as you can.
- When you're off the clock, really be off. That means turning off your notifications, setting your status to away, and communicating with your team when you just need some deep focus time or a little space to breathe.
- Create rituals. Building rituals (basically, habits) into your day is a great way to make some time for yourself. Whether it's brewing a French press pot of coffee instead of using the Keurig or starting your lunch break with five minutes of yoga or meditation, these daily rituals are comforting and calming, especially on busy or stressful days.
- Take breaks. Seriously, take breaks. It can be easy to get so focused on work that you don't move for hours at a time, which isn't great for your physical or mental health. Set an alarm if you have to, but try to get up at least once an hour for a quick stretch. Make sure you're also taking breaks to eat regularly, and instead of scarfing lunch in front of your laptop, eat at the kitchen table or on the back porch. Just avoid the temptation to check your phone for work messages while you eat.
5. Adapt Your Communication Style
When you're working remotely, asynchronous communication becomes a way of life. But if you've been used to being in a traditional office setting, it may feel really strange to start. Async communication is vital for distributed teams, especially those across time zones. If it's new to you, there are ways you can make the transition easier:
- Use video. A service like Loom will let you create a video of your computer screen so you can share in-depth information, go through training processes, and show coworkers how you do something without needing to schedule a meeting.
- Find your voice. Many messaging services and project management platforms have an audio recording function. It's kind of like leaving a voicemail for a colleague. And if you get into the habit of sending audio messages back and forth, your async communication starts to feel more like a natural conversation.
- Set your status. Async communication means coworkers can send you messages whenever it's convenient for them...but that doesn't always mean it's convenient for you. On whatever platform you use, make sure your status is always current and updated so they know when you're away, when you'd prefer not to be bothered, or when you're unable to respond.
- Pick the right tools. You might be reliant on the tech stack selected by your employer, but there are plenty of communication apps and resources you can test out to strengthen connections, manage your time, and stay productive.
6. Grow Your Support System
The biggest way to make remote work life easier is to have a safety net. Your support network can include your partner, your kids, your friends, or family members — basically, anyone who's there to lift you up when you're feeling low. Mental health is hugely important for all professionals, but it's also easily neglected by many remote workers.
Check with your employer to find out what types of support they offer or if they can get you connected with mental health experts who can help. Therapy is widely available these days, and if you aren't able to visit a counselor in an office setting, there are many who offer virtual appointments and even apps that will connect you with a qualified therapist for online counseling.
Remember, even Kendall has a support network who are there to cheer her on, even when the cukes get the best of her.
Let's Make the Most of Remote Work Life...Together!
If you're ready to take the leap into the #WFA or #WFH life, we're here to be the support network you need. We've been around for a while, and we've got all these and plenty more tricks up our sleeve. We focus on remote culture, diversity, communication, and relationships, and if that sounds like your kinda vibe, we'd love to hear from you. Check out our open job listings to see if there's a perfect fit for you!