6 Things I Learned Working Remotely
Given the majority of my work experience has post-spring 2020, most of my work to date has been remote. Working remotely has been a blessing as it has allowed me to fit work into a collegiate student-athlete schedule, but it hasn’t been without struggle. Here are 6 things I’ve learned over the last two years of working remotely.
It will be okay, I promise.
Genuine human conversation being replaced by a barrage of calls and texts and emails can be a lot, especially to an individual that is extroverted or thrives off social interaction. This transition can be additionally irritating when working with individuals that are technologically challenged. Just take a breath and give it some time, it is likely to feel less stressful over time.
Create a Schedule
Work–life separation is important.
As a perfectionist and a night owl with much of my day eaten up by football and scholastic responsibilities, giving myself a schedule has limited the unpaid overtime hours and begun to reduce the feeling of always being “on call.” Major factor in alleviating burnout.
Balance is Key
Every 45 minutes to an hour, take a couple minutes off. Stretch! Do something to clear your mind for a little.
I like to throw myself into the projects I’m passionate about… which results in me sitting at my computer for hours on end into the early hours of the morning. This is not sustainable and can lead to subpar work. Being hyper fixated on a project and trying to get it all completed in a short-time span means you don’t have a chance to reevaluate/improve your work and are susceptible to burnout. Doing this has helped with my burnout, soreness, and allowed me to notice many needed improvements.
Ergonomics is Important
Up until last semester, I rarely worked from a desk and did not have an ergonomic setup whatsoever, leading to regular pain in my back, neck/traps and wrists. Having a monitor at eye level, a wrist-supporting mouse pad, and fixing my posture while working has boosted my workflow and alleviated much of the pain I was experiencing before.
Establish Lines of Communication
It is important to find a regular method of communication that works for both you and the client when working remotely, particularly for freelancers. Knowing a client will always shoot me a text or leave me a voice memo with the relevant information/feedback has alleviated much stress and limited the number of times things get buried in by inbox.
As a young freelancer, much of my work has been done in good faith. Consistent, relatively-low paying projects have made up the majority of my commissioned work and thus I haven’t forced many of my clients to sign a contract. While I believe a contract truly wasn’t necessary in most of these situations and would have frayed my personal relationships with the clients – I have since learned that deals in good faith are a good way to lose projected income and waste a lot of time. Working in a face-to-face environment means you likely see your employer on somewhat of a regular basis, so if they are going to stiff you and decide to not pay, they have to do that to your face. A remote work environment means that clients feel less morally obligated to hold up their end of the bargain, even if that means they don’t get the final product. Make them sign a contract. I promise it’s worth it.