Remote Work Does Not Mean PJs All DayDec 31, 2023
Remote work from home gets a bad rap in the professional world.
It’s often painted as “less-than” – less collaborative, less productive, and less professional than in-person positions. We can see this when we read stories of companies calling their workers back to the office after 3+ years of successful remote work.
But remote work doesn’t make you a less-serious professional. You can maintain high success levels, impressive outcomes, and strong professional relationships, all while enjoying the perks of working from home.
In this post, I’m covering 10 important remote work tips that help you create discipline in a more flexible position.
In other words, it’s time to ditch the pajamas and reach your full career potential, all from the comfort of your own home.
10 Remote Work Tips that Work With Professional Development
If you want to kick the stigma against working from home and advance your career, you’ll need to put in the work.
These remote work tips will help pave your way:
1. Dress the part
Though it can be tempting to work in your pajamas all day, this might not put you into the professional mindset needed for high performance.
I recommend getting dressed every day for work to acknowledge the start of your work day. This is going to help put you in the mental space of going to work.
For me, this means I’m getting dressed - even if it’s in some suburban lady athleisure - and often putting on makeup. I never stay in my pajamas past the start of my work day.
Even if you want to be comfortable, the act of changing into something fresh will to affect your mindset and motivation for the day.
2. Make a “commute”
Most of us are used to having some kind of commute to work, whether that be a 30-minute drive into the city or a 15-minute bike ride. When you work from home, however, this commute shrinks to just a few steps.
I like to make my own little commute to help me start the day. This may look like grabbing an Americano at Starbucks, a quick walk through the neighborhood, or in my case, buying a Diet Coke from my local 7-Eleven or Sonic.
This small action doesn’t take a lot of time but can do wonders for your headspace, making a separation between the work day and your mattress.
3. Keep things honest
I’ve heard plenty of stories about employees trying to “pull one over” on their companies while working from home.
With the extra flexibility that work-from-home positions supply, there are always going to be people who try to take advantage of the situation.
There are horror stories of knowledge workers who have tried holding two full-time jobs, not performing well at either of them. Others have gone on vacation without taking time off, moved to a different state, or even left the country.
These people are the reason we can’t have nice things!
Not only are these actions unethical, but they can cause big issues for both yourself and your company. Keep things honest. These risks are not worth the consequences.
4. Create separation
Separation is a theme you’ll hear time and time again when reading about remote work tips. And that’s because it’s an important piece of maintaining both a healthy work environment and work-life balance.
It’s incredibly difficult to “leave work at work” when your office is in your living room. To fight this, establish a permanent workspace that you use solely for your work day.
If you just don’t have room for a dedicated workspace, create a “pack up” routine at the end of the day to get your work out of your line of sight.
Beyond location, time separation is equally important. Make a shut-down ritual at the end of each workday, marking yourself as away, signing off from apps like Slack, and silencing all notifications.
My shutdown routine involves creating my to-do list for the next day and turning the lights off in my home office. It’s simple, but it does the trick.
Then, step away!
Without a shutdown routine, it’s easy for your work-from-home position to feel like some long, luminous concept that never really ends.
5. When you’re working, be working
This tip may sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly easy to lose focus from your workday.
No matter your designated work hours, make sure you’re fully committed to your work during them. If you get distracted by chores or personal tasks, figure out a way to work them into your day, such as by taking a couple of 20-minute breaks during the day for that purpose.
If you have young children at home, this means hiring child care; this way, you can give your full attention to your work.
Parenting is a full-time job in itself and your remote job should not be viewed as a way to save a couple of grand on child care for your littles. It’s also unfair to you, your colleagues, and your children when you try to juggle a full-time professional job.
6. Set personal boundaries
We talk a lot about the importance of professional boundaries in creating a positive work-life balance. But when you’re working a remote job, you need to set clear boundaries with household members as well.
Communicate with any family or roommates about your work schedule. Let them know your working hours, when you need privacy, when you’ll have meetings, and any other relevant information.
Being up-front about these personal boundaries will prevent future household conflicts, while also avoiding awkward family appearances during video conferences.
7. Minimize distractions
Even if you aren’t being closely monitored in a physical workplace, there are certain taboos that we avoid when working in an office.
For example, we check our phones less, spend less time on personal accounts, and turn our notifications to silent to limit distractions.
When we’re home, a lot of this goes out the window.
During your work day in a remote job, I recommend you limit as many distractions as possible including social media scrolling, personal calls, and text notifications. This will help you maintain both professionalism and productivity.
As someone who meets with clients over Zoom several days a week - clients who paid $$$ to engage me - I think about this a lot. My top tip is to use the Do Not Disturb setting on my phone so my client meetings aren’t interrupted. It works if I want to have a focused time block for work, too.
Further limit physical distractions by ensuring your workspace is kept clean and organized. Many are surprised by just how distracting clutter can be, drawing your focus from your task at hand.
A clear desk is one of the kindest gifts you can give to your brain.
8. Maintain lines of communication
Communication is a necessary skill in any profession. And it’s especially important when you’re physically isolated from your company and colleagues.
While working from home, make sure to maintain your professional relationships through project collaboration, video meetings, or even virtual coffee breaks.
If your team is struggling to figure out how to communicate seamlessly without being disrupted constantly, consider gathering everyone to set some team norms or rules of engagement that honor everyone’s needs.
I also urge you to over-communicate with your company about when and where you’ll be working. Be clear about your working hours, availability for meetings, needed time off, and any other relevant information.
This open line of communication removes any question marks about how you’re spending your workday while also contributing to an open and honest company culture.
9. Remember your breaks
When you’re home, you may be more relaxed than you are in an office. With fewer stimuli and the familiar setting of home, it’s common to forget about the importance of taking breaks.
It’s too easy to work through lunch, have a quick snack at your desk, and just keep powering through your to-dos.
But breaks in work-at-home positions are just as essential as they are in office jobs.
We take breaks to refocus our minds, give space for creative thought, and recharge for our next tasks.
When we forget or fail to take these brain breaks, we’re at the risk of burning out, hitting mental blocks, and becoming less effective in our jobs.
Make room for regular breaks in your schedule that go beyond a quick scroll through your Insta feed. Stand up, walk away from your desk, and take a real breather.
I suggest going for a walk, making yourself a meal, petting the dog, or whatever helps fuel your mind and body.
10. Stay disciplined
The biggest misconception about working from home is that it allows employees to slack off, taking their roles less seriously.
And while this is definitely true for some professionals, those who want to advance their careers actually need to be more disciplined in work-from-home positions, not less.
To be a serious professional while working remotely, be rigorous in your work ethic and create solid, structured routines.
This way, you can enjoy flexibility without sacrificing your performance.
Final Thoughts from a No BS Career Coach on Remote Work from Home
Forget everything you’ve heard about working from home – you can absolutely be a serious professional who is working towards advancing your career while in a remote position.
These remote work tips will help you achieve a strong routine, discipline, relationships, and above all, professionalism.
So if you’re reading this in your pajamas right now, this is your sign – it’s time to get dressed and get going!
If you need help sorting out how to be more effective at your remote job, a single strategy coaching call could be a big win for you. Click here to book and pay for a session today.