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From Cubicle to Couch: A Guide to Making Remote Work… Work!

Remote work has become more prevalent recently, and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become even more important for businesses to adapt. Remote work can benefit both employers and employees by enabling better work-life balance, reducing commuting time, and increasing productivity. However, for remote work to be successful, employees need to develop certain skills and characteristics that differ from traditional office work. In this article, I will guide you through everything you need to know about making remote work, work!

Set Up a Dedicated Workspace

Having a dedicated workspace is key to optimal productivity when working remotely. You don’t necessarily need a separate room, but you do need a clean space where you can focus and get things done. In addition to a desk and a chair, ensure that the space is well-lit and at a comfortable temperature. Having a dedicated workspace can also help create a mental boundary between work and relaxation, making it easier to switch off at the end of the day.

Establish a Routine

Having a routine is essential when working remotely. Without colleagues around, it’s easy to fall into the trap of an inconsistent schedule. Set fixed working hours and stick to them. Get up at the same time every day, dress up, have breakfast, and start working. Establishing fixed working hours will help create boundaries and give you structure. This, in turn, will help maximize productivity and positive morale.

Communication is Key

Remote work doesn’t mean no communication with colleagues. Just because you’re not in the same building doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check-in. Communication is key in a remote work setting, and it should be frequent and effective. Use video conferencing tools like Zoom, Slack, or Skype to have conversations that go beyond texts and emails. Touchpoints can be as simple as a status update on a project or a social conversation with colleagues.

Get Up and Move!

Sitting down for extended periods is not healthy or productive. Physical activity plays a vital role in keeping you mentally and physically energized. Set up alerts to remind you to stand up and stretch every hour or so, and take a run or walk during your lunch break. Pursuing a fitness plan or program can improve focus, sleep, and stress levels, setting you up for success when working remotely. Take advantage of a more flexible schedule to incorporate exercise or other physical activity into your day.

Learn the Technology

Technology is at the heart of remote work, and it is essential to learn the tools and applications relevant to your work. Don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t understand, and make sure you have access to high-speed internet, cloud solutions, shared folders, and more. To be successful in remote work, you need to master the technology that enables it.

Manage Distractions

Working remotely can be full of distractions, some of which may not exist in an office setting. This could be children or roommates, household tasks, or social media. It’s essential to learn how to manage these distractions, even more so than managing distractions in an office environment. Take proactive measures to address the things that distract you during work hours to stay productive and motivated. Set clear boundaries for non-work and create a balance between working time and personal time through setting clear boundaries.

Take Breaks

It’s essential to take breaks even when you work from home. Take mini breaks throughout the day, especially when you feel you need to recharge. It could be a walk outdoors or reading a book for 15 minutes. Taking regular breaks could help boost your creativity and productivity while reducing fatigue and burnout.

Balance Work and Personal Life

Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is crucial to remote work success. It can be tempting to overwork since the lines between work and home can sometimes become blurred. Create a schedule that carves out leisure and family time and stick to it. Ensure that you have meal times that allow for socialization, and separate your work from your personal space if possible.

Show Initiative

Working remotely means taking the initiative and being self-driven. You’re responsible for your output and ensuring that tasks are completed on schedule. Be proactive in anticipating issues and resolving them quickly. Make sure communications with colleagues are prompt and effective. It’s essential to display initiative so that your employer knows that you can work independently.


Working independently can be challenging, and it’s easy to lose motivation. Self-motivation is the key to overcoming these challenges. Find ways to stay motivated, whether it’s setting small goals or rewarding yourself for a job well done. Daily affirmations and visualizations can also be very helpful.

Face the Challenges Positively

Remote work comes with its set of challenges, but it’s crucial to face them positively. Think outside the box and find ways to overcome any obstacles that come your way. Don’t let negativity overpower your productivity and morale, and always keep a positive outlook.


Remote work is increasingly popular, and with good reasons. It provides flexibility, saves time, and minimizes stress. Remote work also requires certain skills and characteristics that differ from traditional office work. Having a dedicated workspace, establishing a routine, managing distractions, and being self-motivated are just a few ways to make remote work, work! With the right approach, you can master remote work and reap the benefits it offers.

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