Personal Development

Emotional Well-being whilst Remote Working

Remote working is something that is now offered by a lot of tech companies. Organisations such as Automattic (WordPress), BasecampBufferStripe and GitLab are all fully remote companies.

The benefits of working remotely include being more productive, a better work / life balance, and a positive environmental impact. But there are downsides too, especially if you have never worked remotely before.

Feelings of isolation, loneliness and being unable to “switch off” – as well as the lack of social support – are all things you might feel whilst remote working.

Here’s just a couple of ideas that I used to acclimate to remote working.

Set up your space

Make sure you have everything you need near you: laptop, coffee, water, good light, etc. Make sure you’re comfortable sitting for a while and make sure your screen is high enough. Perhaps stick your laptop on a couple of books to help bring the screen up to a more comfortable level. Give yourself a cuddly, action figure, small robot, pet, etc to explain your code to when stuck. It’ll help.

Take breaks

Roughly every 45 minutes stand up, walk about, stretch your arms, your legs and crick your neck like The Rock does before he goes into a high adrenaline action sequence. It moves the blood about and stops you congealing.

Go outside for lunch

Go and look at trees, birds, burning car tyres, whatever your local scenery is like. But GO OUTSIDE AND GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER*. For at least 30 minutes. Maybe even eat your lunch outside? Or down the road at that cafe. Just GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Otherwise you’re likely to go peculiar. 

*Unless you can’t.

Get up in the morning

Actually get up and get ready as if you’re going into work. Don’t just slope into the lounge in your dressing gown and Uggs. It won’t end well. Seriously, get up, make your bed, have breakfast, shower, put on your going-to-work clothes, make a coffee and then sit down and log in. Preferably in that order.

Having that morning routine separates your work day from your not-work day and helps you with switching off at the end of the day.

‘Coming home’ routine 

Have a finishing off routine as well. It will bracket the day and help you with not having that always “switched on” feeling you might get. Switch off your laptop and put it away (even if it’s for 15 minutes and you switch it back on again – it’s the act of doing it that’s important).

The Human Connection

Call your parents to make sure they’re okay. Call you friends. It’s the CALL bit, speaking with other people will help with being on your own all day. Voice or Video. Chat on Slack (when not working / learning) and make sure you’re connected with the group throughout the day.

Final note

And remember, working from home can be a really nice way to work: you have your family, your comforts of home and all the baths you need, just right next to you.

(Duncan McKean is available for parties)

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