Colony guide to remote working
15 October 2021
We checked in with Colony members - Harry Messenger, Rebecca Thornton and Eugene Henry - and asked them what advice they would give to those of us who are new to the world of remote working.
More and more of us have begun working remotely over the past couple of years as organisations are increasingly employing workers on a remote basis. This is in line with studies which show that nearly half of UK workers want to make the move to home working permanent. There has also been an uptick in the numbers of people taking the deep dive into the world of freelance.
If you are new to the world of remote working, you may have some questions. How do you stay productive while looking after your mental health? How do you set healthy boundaries between your home and work life? Should you be sitting, hunched over your kitchen table for 8 hours every day?
Don’t fret - here’s our quick guide to everything you need to know about how to avoid becoming isolated and weird while working remotely.
1. Have a clear separation between work and home
If you’re WFH, your commute is likely to consist of bedroom –> desk –> sofa. Which, at first, may feel like a huge bonus. You’re telling me you can wake up at 8.55 and still make it to that 9am meeting? No more traffic? Sign me up.
“Working from home is a very nice option to have, which is why a lot of people want to continue to work remotely in some capacity,” says Harry.
“But make sure you break your working week up so that you’re not working from your bedroom every day. And try not to work in the same space you relax.”
One thing Harry suggests is, even if you’re stuck working from home, to take a walk around the block before and after working to give your brain a sense of a “commute”. Even if you do come back to the same place afterwards.
“Even if you just leave the house and do a walk around the block that could help you switch your mindset,” Harry advises.
The flexibility of a co-working membership can also be a great solution to this, giving you the option to change locations. Colony memberships also allow you to use all of our sites across the city so you can bring even more variety to your day-to-day work environment.
Having the option to WFH when you’re not feeling at your best or need to be in for a delivery might be great, but don’t let that become the default.
In short: let WFH be a treat, rather than the norm.
2. Don’t forget to check in with your colleagues
Working remotely means seeing fewer colleagues and clients face-to-face, especially outside of scheduled meetings. It means you don’t have the same opportunities to strike up a conversation with a colleague sat at a desk next to you, which is extremely important for morale and good mental health.
Rebecca says that checking in with your colleagues is particularly important: “Try starting your Zoom meetings with a 5 minute check-in.
It doesn’t have to be verbal, because everyone is probably tired of answering the “how are you?” question. You can make it fun, like asking people to express themselves using cat memes or gestures.”
Co-working spaces are another good opportunity to mix with different people from all walks of life. At Colony you have the option not only to establish valuable connections in your industry, but also have a friendly face-to-face chat with like-minded people.
And, let’s be honest, the past year has made all of us realise just how important those simple social interactions can be.
3. Don’t get into bad habits
Without the rigid structure of the 9-5 office hours and a dress code, it is very easy to slip into bad habits, warns Eugene.
Unsurprisingly, after a few months of wearing the same pyjamas and skipping regular showers, you are likely to notice a decline in your overall wellbeing and productivity.
“As tempting as it is to get takeaway for lunch every day because you don’t feel like getting dressed and going to the shop, don’t. It’s bad for your waistline, it’s bad for your wallet and it’s bad for your brain,” says Eugene.
Just because your colleagues can’t smell you over Zoom doesn’t mean showering should become optional, either. Looking after yourself will help keep you sane and will put you in a better mindset to perform your best at work.
“Put on clothes you would wear to the office, even if you are WFH,” advises Eugene.
“It can help you get into the right headspace to work and be productive, even if pyjamas are a more tempting option in the short-term.”
Bad habits can also extend to overworking yourself and burning out. This means if you finish work at 5, you shouldn’t still be replying to work emails at 7. A lot of it comes down to checking in with yourself regularly and setting healthy boundaries.
Co-working space memberships can be a great way to do this. Plus we have great WiFi and even better snacks.
If you want to come and check out any of our Colony co-working spaces, either for a tour or as a free trial day, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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