Tips for working remotely
From finance ideas to productivity hacks, these tips can help you manage your setup while working remotely.
There are many benefits of working remotely, from increased flexibility to zero commute time. Here are some tips to consider when working remotely.
Make a plan for your financial needs
- Consider a tax professional for help. Especially for self-employed individuals, a tax pro can help establish good record-keeping routines and explain any business tax deductions, expenses and financial considerations.
- Establish an expense-tracking system. If you're employed by a company, you may have certain expenses they've agreed to reimburse you for. If you're self-employed, it helps to understand what expenses you'll incur and how you'll monitor them. You may want to consider a remote office deduction worksheet, a mobile app and a dedicated business credit card, too.
- Block off paperwork time. Include a weekly appointment on your calendar that you dedicate to invoicing, contracts and other clerical work, including timesheets if you are not self-employed.
- Protect yourself. If you have a remote or home-based business, you may need liability coverage as well as protection for any assets (equipment, devices, computers, etc.) that you use.
- Invest in childcare. Taking care of children and your work can be taxing. If possible, find times when caregivers can lend a hand and give you time to focus on work or other tasks that need attention.
Create an appropriate work area
- Know your employer’s remote work policies. Your company’s Human Resources department should have a handbook or guidelines on remote work policies, expectations and procedures. They may also have protocols around communication, meetings, calls and production work. Be sure to understand what the requirements are.
- Create a dedicated workspace. Avoid areas where you need to share space with others. Some companies require you to have a quiet and dedicated office space to take phone calls or to concentrate.
- Invest in necessary equipment and software. Be sure you have the proper equipment for your job. Examples might be a printer, scanner, security updates or devices. Your needs may differ depending on what you do and whether you're self-employed or employed by a company.
- Pay attention to ergonomics. Have a comfortable chair with back support. Also, consider a hands-free headset or earbuds for meetings.
Monitor your productivity
- Establish a schedule. One risk of working remotely is that there's no one that serves as a check-in. No receptionist monitors your comings and goings, and no co-workers are around to share meeting times and camaraderie. To counteract that, establish regular working hours so that you maintain a clear delineation between work and non-work time and align those hours with your co-workers.
- Give yourself a break when you need it. Perhaps one day a week you choose to work at a coffee shop or library. It's a great way to break up what can be a monotonous schedule at home. It is important to always use VPN when working in a coffee shop, library or outside location and make sure that the internet access meets security protocols.
Practice regular self-care
- Get up and get dressed. It is tempting to simply work in your cozy clothes or pajamas, but it is good practice to get dressed and groomed as you would if you were going into an office or other work setting. Not only does this help with motivation and morale, but it also builds consistency in your daily routine.
- Stick to your schedule. Follow regular mealtimes, just as you would if you worked in a typical office.
- Set an alarm or app alert. Apps can help remind you to get up from your desk and move, even if it’s just a walk around the block or some stretching exercises. Being outside and taking advantage of fresh air could help your mood, circulation, focus, productivity and may also help relieve stress.
- Get out and see people. If you telecommute, try to set up (or join) office meetings occasionally, if possible. Establish a cadence of lunch meetings with clients, co-workers or potential clients.
- Try to achieve work-life balance. Traveling and working can blur the lines between work and leisure, so establish routines that help you stay productive and avoid burnout.
Understand health insurance options
- Research health coverages. The last thing you want to have to think about is access to quality care if you get sick or injured while traveling. Find coverage that allows you to see healthcare professionals when you need to no matter where you are.
Be safe online
- Watch for phishing. Phishing continues to be a large threat to security. Closely scrutinize emails, especially those that are unsolicited, create a sense of urgency, invoke strong emotions or request sensitive information. Don't open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don't recognize.
- Keep router passwords updated. Your router is your home's front door to the internet, so make sure it's secured with a strong password. The first way you can secure your home network is by changing its pre-set password to a strong password and using encryption so hackers can't read information you send.
- Have strong device passwords. This helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing your accounts and personal information.
- Be vigilant with home security. Especially since cameras can be vulnerable to hackers.
- Enable multi-factor authentication. This adds additional steps in the login process to prevent unauthorized users from getting into your accounts.
- Use secure networks and devices. Avoid connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, consider using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot or mobile data instead of public Wi-Fi, avoid accessing financial accounts on public computers or unsecured networks, and leverage full-disk encryption on your laptop and mobile devices.
- Download software and apps with caution. Verify the site is legitimate and familiar to you. Malicious sites may contain unwelcome viruses or malware.
- Enable remote tracking and wiping. This can help prevent your data from being accessed if your devices are lost or stolen.