You can work remotely and have tons of fun. Trust me on that. I’m mentioning this because I’ve met many people who claim that they “don’t like working from home at all” and that “office work is much better in every way”. They tend to think this way because nobody has ever shown them how to embrace remote work. They were mistakenly thinking that working remotely means the same as working from home within a fixed schedule. When I explained that both remote and hybrid work can truly be done flexibly, they wouldn’t want to believe me.

Getting up every morning to spend your entire day at home isn’t great. Even if you’re an introvert, you’ll probably still want to experience a more diverse schedule, right? Also, spending 8 hours in front of your laptop without taking breaks during the day may make you feel bad (Zoom fatigue). Not being able to meet other people and change your working environment can be very difficult. You can start feeling lonely, isolated and even depressed! Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t wait until someone tells you what to do. Become your own remote working designer!

Get to know yourself… better

Do you tend to follow routines that someone else has introduced? How does it make you feel? Do you sometimes struggle to follow other people’s schedule? Are you dreaming about a working experience that will help you enjoy your personal life, rather than limit it? Think about these things first. You must know that it’s not about pleasing others but being true to yourself.

If you feel that some circumstances make it hard to stay focused and be productive – challenge them!

Let me share a few examples of my own. There are days when I wake up and I know that staying home all day is just a “NO”. Nothing inspires me, I get overwhelmed by the amount of work and it’s just hard to stay focused. In this case opening my laptop at 9 a.m. would be utter nonsense so I take a break before I even start working… Yes, that’s true! Finally, a few hours later I go to a cafe that I like and I roll up my sleeves with fresh energy. However, it may also happen that I’ll have a thought about having dinner in Italy, Spain or France. All this without taking any break from work of course. Well, I simply book a ticket in the near future (sometimes within a few days) and I work from a different country in-between eating delicious pasta, tapas or snails for lunch (seriously!).

My point is: Do what you love doing most! You don’t have to keep dreaming about your next vacation if you’re in the middle of a big project. You don’t have to complain about being stuck at home all day. Go for a walk, ride a bike or meet a friend for breakfast instead! Don’t wait for solutions to make your personal and professional life better but focus on what you need at this very moment. All in all, you’ll get the work done anyway but let’s make it pleasurable! Remote work is all about the end result and your own way of doing things.

Express what you REALLY want

Others can’t read out minds… Fortunately! …But you must know that if you don’t share your ideas or thoughts, nobody will know about them. I come across many people who get frustrated as “their managers didn’t tell them”. They claim not being able to work from the park, start or finish work early, pick up children during the day as they have online meetings scheduled. My question to such stories is always “DID YOU ASK?”. No. It happens a lot that people make assumptions without asking. Try to do it differently instead – talk openly about your needs and make suggestions.

It’s important to focus on solutions rather than problems. Stop thinking that you dislike something but focus on how you can improve it. That’s how you should communicate your thoughts to others. So if you don’t want to be stuck in too many meetings, you can suggest an app to start working asynchronously. If you’re not really available for a video catch up, make sure to come up with a different time and date. Also, if you’re struggling with something, don’t wait until it gets worse but look for solutions.

Shifting from an “ask” to a “find yourself” first approach is very beneficial if you work remotely. Do your own research before you ask a question. I’ve always been against a “this won’t work” or “we’ve always done it a different way” approach. Verify everything yourself first, come up with examples and share your suggestions with others to support your needs and requests.

Stop comparing yourself to others

FOMO is everywhere, I get it. There are so many companies out there that publish their “work from anywhere” policies. Numerous people keep sharing cool pictures while working and traveling the world. Others seem to be “rocking it” non stop as they receive many recognitions… And you just feel like something is wrong. You are still in the middle of figuring things out BUT it seems like those people have it all. No. You have to stop thinking this way.

Design your own way of doing things. Your remote lifestyle isn’t supposed to be a rat race. You should be able to find the right balance when you work remotely. Make sure that your job fits your personal needs. If you’re a people person – meet others! You can suggest occasional real life meetings within your remote team, sign up for classes at a local gym or find communities that share your passions. The bottom line is that it’s all up to you. Create your unique working experience and who knows… Maybe you’ll also inspire others?

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