Many people may envy you because you don’t work in the same 9-5 office every day. But if you’ve been working from home, working freelance, or remotely for a long time, then the novelty may have worn off.
There was a time when you loved hanging around in coffee shops and working. The idea of it seems glamorous, but the cost of all the coffee starts to add up, and the cakes start to show on your waistline. Just like working in an office, you eventually get bored with your surroundings, hitting the same spots over and over. Even if you try to mix it up, you still end up going to the same few places. While you might have enjoyed the freedom and the quiet at first, there comes a time when you start to miss the office banter and the inane chatter.
But maybe going back to an office isn’t an option for you or you don’t really want to go back to working this way. You’re just fed up with the way you’re working now and you need to fall back in love with it again, so how are you going to do that?
Remember How You Used To Feel
As with anything you’ve fallen out of love with, it’s important to think back to what you loved about it in the first place. Make a point of remembering why you wanted to work remotely in the first place. Did you ask to work this way or was it a perk of a new job? What really made you enjoy it? What was the thing that got you excited about it?
Sometimes it’s just that something has become so familiar that you’ve forgotten what you liked about it. It becomes normal and you take it for granted. Think back, remember how you used to feel and write down all the benefits and advantages of this way of working.
Work Out What You Can Fix
While you’re remembering and writing down the positives, it’s also important not to overlook the negatives. Why are you frustrated now, and what can you do about it? Write a list of all your grievances and specifically focus on the ones that you can fix.
For example, if you’re feeling lonely, this can be easily fixed. If you’re sick of the bad internet connection in coffee shops, then this can be fixed, too. You can easily get a new sim card, get unlimited data with an honest mobile plan, and have your own little hotspot so you can work from anywhere, even somewhere with no wifi. If it’s something more intricate and specific to your role, then perhaps you need to look beyond working remotely and more at the role you’re doing and the company you’re working for.
Identify What You Do Still Enjoy
There must be some things that you do still enjoy about working remotely. Write a list and include everything from the good coffee to the peace and quiet and the flexibility. Be exhaustive. Once you’ve written it, see if it’s made up of things that are optional or things that you really need from your job. Assess your current situation and keep your must-haves, like the flexibility if you have a family, in focus.
Mix Things Up
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, even when you have the choice of anywhere to go and work. We are creatures of habit. While you might have started out going to new places all the time, some soon became favorites, and you end up going to them all the time.
If you’re in a rut now, it’s time to mix things up again. Find out what new coffee shops have opened up in your area and check them out. Do you have a local museum? Is there anywhere to work there? Today there are so many places which are set up for people working; even pubs have plug sockets so you can sit there and do your work.
You could even try a different town. You would travel to work or to a meeting, so why not jump on a train and go to a different location and see what there is to offer there. If it’s a different library, cafe, or even park bench, a change of scenery could be all you need.
Meet New People
If you’re fed up with your own company, or you don’t think you meet enough people, then you need to get out there and meet others just like you. Have a look at Facebook or MeetUp and find groups of freelancers in your area. There will be loads just like you, and they might meet up socially for drinks or organize places to go and work together for an afternoon.
Ask For More Out Of Your Job
It might not be the way you’re working; it might be the job you’re doing. So it’s important to distinguish that before you do anything. Are you happy with the work you are doing? Does it still challenge and excite you? If so, then great. If not, then you either need to find more work if you work for yourself or run a small business, or talk to your boss about changing your role to make things exciting again. When you’re working remotely, you sometimes miss out on the opportunities to work on new clients or to help out on different projects, simply because you’re not there Make sure you check in and keep up to date with what’s going on and what else you could be doing.
Make An Effort With Your Remote Teammates
As well as keeping up to date with what’s going on with the office, make sure you also keep in touch with your partners or teammates. Even if you’re working in a different country from your colleagues, it doesn’t take much to ask how they are and what they’ve been up to. If you don’t have any local colleagues to build rapport with, then it’s important to make an effort with the ones you do have, even if from afar.
Know When To Switch Off
When you’re working remotely, it can be difficult to know when to switch off. If you’re working in a cafe, then you’re probably going to work through lunch and won’t take a proper break, unlike those who leave the office to go to a cafe for a break. Make sure you plan breaks and finishing times, set yourself timers or reminders on your calendar so that you do switch off and do something different.
Keep A Commute
As mentioned before, you could go to a different town to mix things up a bit. But even if you don’t want to do that, it is a good idea to keep a commute. The act of getting up, getting dressed, and actually going out to work, even if you’re not doing it in an office, can make you more productive, and you can get more out of your day.
It’s very easy to choose to work from home and not get dressed or brush your teeth. You might even find yourself staying in bed and just picking up your laptop from there. But this isn’t good as you’ll find you won’t have adequate breaks. And while you might think you’re doing more work because you’re cutting out the commute time, it’s not a healthy way to work. When working from home, you need to have clear boundaries of work and home and not mix the two, or your work-life balance will go completely wild.
Spend Some Time In The Office
Remember, the grass isn’t always greener, and sometimes you need to remind yourself of that. If there isn’t a physical office you can go to, then go visit someone else’s and remind yourself of what it was like to work this way before. Do you really miss the banter and the inane chatter? What about the butter in the fridge with someone’s name on it? Or the rubbish coffee? Perhaps you miss the constraints of the 9-5 life or staring at the same dull four walls each day? Go back and see what you’re missing and see if you’re really missing it.
Working remotely, while it may not be for everyone, has some awesome benefits. Maybe you just need to be making the most of the opportunity and need to book a cheap flight to Paris and work from a cafe there for a day to remember the advantages and the freedom you have.