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#worksmart series

5 Tips to


like a pro

Remote work is on the rise.
Whether it's meant to only be temporary (efforts to contain COVID-19, severe weather event, etc), or your company has gone full-distributed (all staff work remotely), at some point you may be lucky enough to find yourself working from home.

To help you get started, I've put together this list of pro tips, based on my 20+ years of working remotely.
Tip #1: Yes, you're still at work.
For most people new to remote work, the biggest adjustment is getting into the work mindset. Personally my issue is waking up and walking straight into my office to get down to work.
Impressive, right? Sure.
Until that surprise video call comes in and I'm still in my pjs. Yikes.
Get up, get dressed, eat a good breakfast, just like you were going into the office...
though probably your dress code is more relaxed. 
(And dang, isn't your commute the greatest?)
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Tip #2: Set up your desk like it's for real. Because it is.
Avoid simply lounging on the couch with your laptop.
This isn't good for your body or your mind.
Ideally, you have access to a proper desk in a dedicated room with a door that closes, but the dining room table works in a pinch.
Just make sure to pick a location with a clean, pleasant background if you're going to be on video calls.
Set up everything you need: computer, a comfortable chair, a task lamp, phone, pens, notepads, etc.  Don't forget the all-important coffee mug!
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Tip #3: Keep it professional by minimizing background noise.
There are few things more embarrassing than being on a call or video chat when the neighbor's out mowing their lawn.
Unless it's when my client can hear me pounding away on my keyboard taking notes.
Use a background noise-cancelling app. This app pairs with any conferencing app, headset, or microphone!
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Tip #4: Stay in touch with your colleagues.
Working remotely doesn't have to mean working alone.
Often you're still part of a team. There are goals to discuss, projects to collaborate on, and work that needs feedback.
Plus, even the biggest introvert among us still needs connection every now and then.
Use a collaboration tool like Slack.  Use Zoom or FaceTime for video meetings.
Tip #5: Take regular breaks.
Anyone who's done remote work knows the myth that remote workers aren't productive is pure nonsense.
Remote workers are notorious for spending more than 8 hours a day at their desk and not taking breaks.
Maybe we get in a zone? 
Or maybe it's the lack of water-cooler gossip and coworkers to lunch with?
Whatever the reason, be mindful of the amount of time you stay in one spot. You'll burn out quickly if you don't.
At least once per hour, get up, walk around, and stretch your muscles. Make sure to take a break and eat lunch. Take your dog for a quick walk, you'll be a hero!
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Bonus Tip: Be patient with yourself & others. Keep your sense of humor.
Transitioning to remote work, even if it's only temporary, can take some time.
Be patient with yourself and your colleagues...there can be technical glitches and bottlenecks to iron out.
Even if you're already a pro, your house might be busier than usual with family members who are also remote working, or kids unexpectedly home from school.
Just consider it part of your charm if your cat saunters past the camera during a video being home all day is new to her too!
Breathe deeply. You got this.
Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase the product after clicking the link, I may earn a commission.  I have used, or am currently using all of these products.
I only place products on my site that I love, and that I think may be useful to my clients and potential clients.
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