I’ve worked from home for 20 years. For two of those years, I had an office job at CNBC, where I was senior lifestyle writer, but I left in September 2020, and I returned to working in my 200-square-foot, “intimate” East Village apartment. It’s not great working in my office that’s my living room that’s also my kitchen. Luckily, I moved to Brooklyn recently in a much bigger space. Even still, I’ve become a pro with decades of experience working out of my own apartment, and here are my 9 best remote work tips.
Let me just emphasize that to work from home, it takes time to get comfortable and really nail a rhythm without going stir crazy, and there are some techniques you should absolutely consider. I know a lot of people who get super stressed working from home, so clearly they’re doing it wrong… and I’ve been there to sort it out.
Here are my 9 best remote work tips and hacks
BTW: I furnished my apartment with a lot of stuff from Bloomingdale’s, which constantly has insane sales, especially post Covid-19. Take a look at their sale… even designer sunglasses are like $100!
1. Open a window.
Scientifically, your environment has a *huge* impact on your mental health, as well as stress levels, blood pressure and overall well being (and people who live close to green spaces have a lower rate of depression and anxiety).
Open a window. The fresh air will help significantly. Not only does it feel great and improve air circulation, it makes you feel less like you’re holed up in a small space. I leave my window open all day during warmer months, and in colder months, I will open it several times throughout the day. Honestly, this is my No 1 tip. You’ll feel better, get more work done and focus.
Taking breaks helps boost creativity and productivity, according to Psychology Today. I take many mental breaks throughout the day, but I try to avoid going on social media so I don’t fall down a rabbit hole.
Often, I watch quick, 20-minute shows, like Superstore or 30 Rock or Inside Amy Schumer, or a 60-minute show in intervals, like Walking Dead or Lost in Space. It helps break up the work, but it’s also sort of a treat after working for several hours. In an office, you could go for a walk or chat with coworkers in the next cubicle, but since you can’t do that in your home during a quarantine, you can simply turn on the TV. Remember, you’re not binge-watching, you’re just giving yourself a little treat!
Now is a great time to get Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Showtime and YouTube TV. Several offer free trials up to a month, so if you don’t want to spend money right now, you can do one network at a time up to three or four months. Amazon Prime is a great one, and you can click the link or banner for your free trial.
I’m obsessed with massages, but due to social distancing, I can’t get one.
These Hypervolt massage therapy devices are definitely worth a splurge, and I recommend keeping one around the house if you’re going to work from home. Why? Because times are stressful, and massages release endorphins. The pleasure center of your brain is activated, and you feel great.
If you don’t want to splurge on Hypervolt (they’re expensive, about $349), you can click my link to get them as little as $100.
4. Get to know your neighbors – one of my best work from home tips!
I’m fortunate to be living across the hall from two neighbors I’ve become friends with. They watch my dog when I’m away for hours at a time, and vice versa. They work from home too, so we often leave our doors open throughout the day so the dogs can play (not so much during the quarantine though).
Also, they have been invaluable when I needed a small favor (like taking my rent check to the leasing office or dropping off a package when they were going to the post office) and I have definitely been there for them (they use my laser jet printer and borrow pens etc). Btw, I use the HP LaserJet that has a scanner, copier, etc. It’s the best printer I’ve ever had.
Anyway, your neighbor can be a lifeline in times like these.
I’m a writer and Youtuber, so I have a 27” iMac and two laptop computers. I can work in any corner of my apartment. But I find it more helpful when I’m sitting stationary in one place.
I feel that when I move around a lot, I get more distracted and try to tweak comfort levels according to where I’m sitting, as opposed to sitting in one place and acclimating there. If you get in the habit of sticking to one work spot, you tend to focus better and mentally know you’re in work mode.
6. Stay social!
There are health benefits to being social, especially since humans are naturally a social species, meaning if you’re anti-social, you might contribute to mental decline. Ultimately, being social makes you live longer, too. Honestly, this is one of my best remote work tips.
When I worked full time in an office, I would get up every hour or so to walk around the building or up and down the hall. Working from home, I would take hour walks with my dog, but when I’m in a pinch or on a deadline, I stand up and type. I do stretches or squats. It’s what I do now, confined to a small space in a quarantine.
We all know sitting is the new smoking, but we don’t always connect to how sitting for long periods of time affects you psychologically. You’re more prone to over snacking, or compromising and contributing to bad posture. You’re decreasing blood and oxygen flow. There are so many reasons why you should get up, do some leg bends and maybe some jumping jacks or push ups. Hey, you’re in your PJs anyway. Go for it!
You should also get a good office chair. If you have back problems, lumbar support is hugely essential, and good chairs are nearly $1000. I spent HOURS researching cheaper ones, and I bought Nouhaus Ergo3D (here’s a review just on the chair). I have no regrets.
8. Stay in touch with your co-workers.
It’s so easy to be distracted when you work from home, but I feel that when I’m in constant contact with co-workers, it keeps me in line.
As in, don’t rely on someone else’s. When you share an account, you slow down your speed. Go for the good package. Trust me. It’s worth the extra $15. One trick I do is I get on the phone with customer service, and I ask them for any specials they have going on.
When they list the specials, and none apply to what I want, I ask if they can do anything with my Internet rate, and they give me some sort of deal. It always works (but you can only do this once a year since they want you to stick with them for that long of a contract).
What are you best remote work tips? Let me know in comments below!
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