The world is currently enveloped in an ever-changing landscape, with more companies becoming remote-only every day. We’ve seen a dramatic shift in remote and home working over the last year, owing to COVID-19, and it’s a trend that is set to continue, with or without the pandemic. In the last twelve months, hundreds of millions of people, both employers and employees, have realized the benefits of remote working, and we’re now in the midst of a huge, universal transition.

Unfortunately, thousands of companies had to adapt rapidly to the sudden changes — almost overnight, in fact. There were countless organizations left out in the cold, forced through the door by their lack of remote working provisions and processes. The companies that have remote working capabilities in place survived, but most went from a ‘sometimes’ work from home model to an ‘always’ work from home model.

I’ve been working 100% remotely since February of 2020, but it wasn’t all that hard to adapt. I’d had the ability to work from home since 2018, and although I hadn’t taken the opportunity as often as I could have, I knew what was required to do it. Fortunately, the company I work for wasn’t entirely unprepared, and although some changes had to be made, it was an almost seamless transition.

However, I know that there are many millions of people still struggling to adapt to the new way of working; it’s a whole new balance that needs to be struck. Today, there are still more employees applying for, interviewing for, and starting jobs that are entirely remote. The process is totally digital and for the most part, they’ll be working with no physical contact with their company or colleagues.

I’m here today to offer a little advice in this arena. I hope the following tips serve you well on your journey across the realms of remote working.

Dress for the job you have

My first tip is almost a psychological one, and it involves dressing as though you were actually going to work. I’m of the belief that dressing appropriately in whatever you’d normally wear to work effectively tricks your brain. Suddenly, you’re not lounging in an office chair in a cozy dressing gown, but you’re dressed and ready for action.

Now, I’m not saying you should pull on your finest suit and shoes, or a stylish dress, but you should at least . I tend to wear a pair of jeans and a shirt or t-shirt; I’m comfortable, but I’m not dressed for a lazy day in front of the television. I know for a fact if I was to sit at my desk in a pair of shorts and a tank top, I wouldn’t feel as connected to my work.

Then, when the end of the day rolls around, you get changed into clothes more suitable for lounging, and your brain becomes aware that the workday is over. It’s essentially injecting a little routine into your day, ensuring that you have a regular cycle to follow.

Find a space, any space

Admittedly, I had many issues following this rule at the start of my remote working journey, but I’m much better at it now. The main problem with my ‘working area’ is that it also twins as my main gaming area. However, I don’t have a spare room or a separate location I can work in, so it’ll have to do.

In an ideal world, you want a space free of any distractions — big or small. That can be anything from a book you’re reading, to the television, loaded with Netflix opportunities. When I work, I love to have background noise, but my television is behind me and I physically cannot watch it without turning away from my work.

If I find the television is distracting me, I’ll pull on a headset, listen to some folk or acoustic music to draw my attention in again, and I get right back to it. I’m in an advantageous position because I already have quite a lot of equipment — monitors, a nice desk and chair, a powerful PC, and lots of stationary.

When you’re working remotely, it’s extremely important that your space contains the equipment you need to do your job. Today, that equipment usually consists of a laptop and an internet connection, but there are plenty more things you can include in that list. I find that having a notebook and pen works wonders for a quick to-do list, and my mobile phone never leaves my side.

Ultimately, this is a very subjective point, and you need to find the space that works best for you. Perhaps this is a desk in front of a window, with a nice view of your street. Alternatively, you could sit at the dining table, within easy reach of the coffee machine and refrigerator. If it works for you, then build on it, and make it perfect.

Try to connect with others

When the world became remote, collaboration and communication platforms saw staggering increases in user footfall. In a matter of days, we’d gone from face-to-face meetings to Teams or Zoom calls. We were no longer talking to each other in the corridors of an office, but through our cameras and microphones, from the relative comfort of our homes.

It suddenly became extremely important to connect with other people, even if it was for a five-minute catch-up. There are some working methods that inherently promote communication, such as Agile with its stand-up techniques. However, it’s no big secret that there is plenty of silo activity in the world, and this fact worsened when remote working became the norm.

If you’re feeling disconnected or lonely, it’s extremely important to reach out and connect with someone. This could be your manager, a colleague, or a member of a team you’re working with but would like to know more about. Unfortunately, there are some roles that are isolated, the people working in them simply have no real opportunities to talk to anyone.

In cases like this, you’ll need to use other methods to keep up thos levels of communication. You can reach out to friends and family, engage with users on social media, or, if you have the interest and equipment, try your hand at something like streaming. If you’re not keen on the idea of social media, try LinkedIn — it’s for professionals, and it’s quite a safe place for newcomers.

Don’t change the way you work

If you stay the same, then 

I know that this point won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re transitioning from an on-prem role to a totally remote one, you shouldn’t change how you work. If you logged in every morning, checked your emails, generated some reports, and created a presentation, there’s no need to deviate from that schedule. If you start breaking the habits you’ve built up over time, the quality of your work may suffer.

Ultimately, you’re still the same employee, working the same role, for the same company. You shouldn’t start logging in at ten in the morning and sporadically checking your emails throughout the day while browsing the lightning deals on Amazon. You didn’t do that before, so you shouldn’t do that now.

Although, remote working offer certain freedom. In most cases, you’ve now got the ability to take breaks whenever you want, attend appointments and run errands easier, and carry out more chores around the home. However, you should treat these activities as you would have pandemic, letting your colleagues and manager know what’s going on and where you are.

You’re on the clock, you’ve got responsibilities, and your organization has placed a heightened level of trust in you — don’t abuse it.

These four tips are the best I have to offer, and they’re how I’ve managed the last year working from home. I dress for the job I have, I’ve got a great space to work in, I make sure I’m connecting with my colleagues, and I’m working exactly as I would have before the pandemic.

As I’ve already mentioned, there are ways in which these tips are entirely subjective, and working from home is very much a case-by-case concept. You need to find what works best for you, and strike that balance between home life, and work-life; business, and pleasure.

It’s a tough new world out there, and we all need to adapt in order to survive. It might sound dramatic, but it’s very true. Stay resilient, and we’ll get through it.

Thank you for reading.