The freedom to wear sweatpants all day, set your own hours, and take phone calls from your couch makes working remotely sound fabulous. And that might be why a whopping 64 million Americans now do so at least part-time—an 80 percent increase since 2005. But as more U.S. companies give employees the freedom to “WFH” (work from home), many people, myself included, have discovered challenges that traditional employees don’t have.
The biggest benefit of working remotely is the added control over how, where, and when you work. It’s no surprise that remote workers are more productive and satisfied than traditional employees. Studies also show that skipping the office—and an unhealthy commute—reduces stress.1
But the same technology that enables our remote lifestyle—like 24/7 access to email—can blur the boundary between personal and professional life, causing telecommuters to end up working five to seven hours more per week than their office-bound counterparts, according to one study.
I’ve worked from Vienna for the last two years for Lantern, a mental health startup based in San Francisco. Working 6,000 miles away during different hours than my coworkers has forced me to learn how to develop a happy and healthy work-life balance. Here’s how I accomplish it—my tips could help you too.
8 Ways to Eliminate Stress When You’re Working Remotely
1. Clearly define what work means.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but hear me out. Just like your bed should only be used for sex and sleep, your daily allotted working time should only be used for work.
Work falls into three categories:
- A specific project you’re completing for your boss or a client
- Networking to generate more work or meet new clients
- Professional development
Additionally, I suggest making a list—and posting it next to your desk—of a few activities or goals you can always turn to so you don’t waste time if you’re having a slow day or finish a project early. This could be staying up to date on industry news, getting more active on LinkedIn or another relevant social network, or checking in with past clients.
2. Visually define your workspace.
I work from a standing desk in the corner of my dining room. When I’m there, I’m in work mode—and I make sure not to work on anything personal in that space. Even if you live in a tiny studio, it’s important to find a visual cue that tells you it’s time be productive.
For instance, you could put a desk mat and mouse on your dining table to transform it. Or try sitting on the opposite side of a table than you normally do. You’ll train yourself to associate that different view with work. If you use the same computer for work and personal use, close all applications and turn off work email and chat notifications at the end of your work day. Same goes for your phone: Customize your settings to turn off notifications after a certain time each day.’
3. Get out of the house.
Supplement your lack of in-person chatting at work by finding a community: Joining a coworking space or making your favorite coffee shop your second home can kick a midday slump. You’ll feel less isolated by getting some of the same social signals that people get in the workplace, such as saying hello or getting a smile.
Source: Greatist | Megan Jones