Remote working has a lot of advantages, especially for those of us with adventurous souls who want to either travel or live in unique places. One of the biggest perks of remote work is being able to live however you want, in whatever city you want, and work from wherever you are. With 5 (!) national parks, gorgeous national forests, and epic mountain views, Utah is a great place to call home and an exciting option as a remote worker. The flexibility offered when working from home is huge, but you might need to make a few adjustments to your home office or schedule to be truly successful as a remote worker. As much as we might love working from home, it can come with a few initial challenges until we get into the swing of things. To help with that adjustment, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 tips for remote working in an apartment in Utah (or from anywhere)!
1. Check your tech!
When you first switch to a home office, it’s important to figure out the technology you need to accomplish your tasks and be successful. Having reliable internet is the first step. Check with your apartment complex about internet speeds and options, whether they offer Google Fiber or Xfinity, and if you are in charge of your own account and internet usages needs. If the options aren’t great, it’s possible you may want to look for a new apartment if working from home will be long term, but that usually isn’t necessary. Love your apartment? Don’t worry. You may be able to pay for a better package on your own, set things up better, or find a co-working space that will be a better fit.
Make sure you have the laptop, computer, monitors, and cabling you need to work comfortably and do your job. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in regards to equipment. Many companies offering remote work have a budget to help with those things, and if not, the company may still be willing to contribute to help you do the best you can at your job. Make sure you think about whether you will be working from a laptop alone, or need a second monitor and a more permanent setup at home. Would a new keyboard or noise-cancelling headphones help? Do you need a headset with a mic for meetings? Think about the day-to-day tasks you have and what you actually need to complete them.
2. Designate a workspace
Although working from your bed or the couch can be a cozy option some days, it doesn’t always help us be the most effective at our jobs. It helps to have a designated workspace to not only help with focus and productivity, but to separate your work life from your home life. It can be easy for one to blend into the other when the work day takes place inside your home.
In an apartment, it can be tricky to create a separate space for work when space is already limited, but it is possible. Is there an extra bedroom you could make better use of or a corner where you could set up a small desk? Even if working at the counter bar or kitchen table seems to be the best option, consider ways you can set it up during the work day to differentiate it from its regular use. Maybe you face a different direction or set out office supplies and a notebook. Consider what is around you, what will help you focus, and how to make the most of your home office.
3. Understand your working style
When working from home, it’s important to understand the way you work most naturally. When are you most productive? Do you like working in silence or with music or white noise? Can you work from anywhere in your house or do you need a very specific setup to focus? Figure out when you are most productive, when you are most creative, and when you have the deepest focus, and plan tasks accordingly. Maybe emails need to be done first thing in the morning, but meetings work best in the afternoon. Be realistic about your daily routine, understand how you get in the flow, and schedule your day in a way that helps you succeed.
4. Start and end your day with a routine
Having a daily routine helps create boundaries around work. Start your morning off right. Get started early, get dressed, or pretend you are going into the office if it helps you focus and mark the start of your day. Have breakfast somewhere other than your desk. At the end of the day, create a small ritual that shows you are now “coming home” from work so you can focus on what you need and what you want to do in your evening at home. That could be as simple as slipping on your house slippers or involve walking out the door and coming back in. The important thing is to put yourself in a different mental space to differentiate “work time” and “home time.”
5. Plan well and set hours
Maintain regular hours if you can or adjust when you have to start early or work late. Know when to log off. Just because you may be able to work anytime doesn’t mean you need to be available 24/7. Schedule breaks and take them. Plan your week and your day ahead of time, so you aren’t trying to figure that all out in the morning when you might not be at your most productive. Keeping a schedule even when you aren’t in an actual office building helps you both stay productive and not drift into burnout.
Communication is always important, but especially when working from home. Communicate often with your coworkers and be clear about what you’re doing and what you need. Communicate with those you live with so you can have quiet when you need it to focus or so your meetings don’t cause distractions for each other if more than one person works remotely.
7. Keep learning
Look for training and education opportunities. You may miss some that are held only in the office and it’s important to continue to find ways to grow and improve in your field. See if there are conferences you could attend (or view remotely), online courses, or books to read to stay up-to-date in your area of expertise.
In Utah, the Rural Online Initiative has put together a Remote Working Certificate, which can be a really good place to start if you are new to remote work or are hoping to start working from home, whether that’s in an apartment, or out in the country.
8. Use your time off
Take sick days when you need them. Don’t push through all the time. If you have allergies or a cold, it’s easy to work through it, but just because you are already at home, doesn’t mean you need to work through every illness. Take your vacation time and give yourself time off from your job. You may be able to work from anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you should work while on vacation. You can, especially if it’s an extended stay and you want to be able to travel for longer, but don’t pressure yourself to work if you want to stay present and have an actual vacation.
9. Find ways to be social
Make time to interact with other humans. Maybe it’s at the coffee shop and you get with a friend to work together there that day. Take time to go out for dinner or drinks. There are lots of great restaurants and breweries in Utah to try. Take classes in the evening or start a new hobby. The important thing is to set aside time to be with other people since a lot of your day will be spent working on your own.
10. Get out of the house
Remote working can get very repetitive, especially if you work a lot and almost never leave the house. See if you can occasionally work outside of your home. Try a coworking space like Kiln, which has several beautiful locations. Maybe you spend the day at one of Salt Lake’s unique local coffee shops, or even travel for an extended period and try out that digital nomad lifestyle. Even if all you do is get out of the house and walk, it helps to break up your day-to-day routine.
However you choose to approach remote working, there’s a way to reap the benefits and make it work for you, so don’t give up if it feels challenging at first. The rewards far outweigh the initial adjustments. Try out some of these tips for remote working and let us know in the comments how it goes!