When you do remote work, you don't have the same natural constructs in place that mentally prepare you for the work day. There is no lunch room where co-workers are, no fridge to squeeze your lunch into, no smell of coffee wafting out of the kitchen, no colleagues hanging out by your desk to gab with.  When you go into a workplace, the very act of traveling there and entering the building puts you in work mode. You adjust your behavior, however so slightly. You probably don't swear as often, are wearing clean clothes, and have brushed your hair. Whether you realize it or not, these things are really important to set the stage for your work day - they condition you into work mode. As a remote worker you need to be conscious of this deficit and be diligent about finding your own work routines. Over the next few weeks, we will dig into several of the things our mobile developers do to be productive. These are tips that even non-remote workers can benefits from!

 

Rise and Shine

remote worker's coffee cup on table

Some of our remote workers are able to get up and go straight to work while others require a routine just as they would if they were leaving the house. It can be healthier to have a morning routine rather than just waking up and going straight to work. It helps separate your home life from your work life. Don't ask your brain to immediately switch from asleep to working with no wake-up allowed.  At Metova we'd rather our mobile developers work when they can do their best work. Many people are not at their peak the moment they wake up and can take an hour or two to be at their prime. A lot of our app developers choose to exercise in the morning before starting work for this very reason: it helps them feel more alert than if they immediately started working.

 

Getting Started

girl working remotely with computer on couch

Now that you're awake and it is time to start work, what do you do? What does a start work routine look like for remote work? Our computers and offices may be used for non-work purposes when they are a part of our home. You need to develop a routine that is exclusive to working or rarely done outside of work. An example of this sort of routine would be making a coffee/tea before getting started. Another  would be opening your work email immediately upon sitting down and addressing all your emails before doing any other work. Maybe you should spend the first part of the morning catching up on breaking news in your industry.  Whatever it is that works for you, stick to it and do it every time. Unless there is a client emergency there is no good reason to skip your routine. Skipping can have a lot of negative consequences. Our mobile developers reported being less productive, scattered, and generally had a hard/bad day on days that they skipped their work routines.

 

Music Makes a Difference

record player

Small things will make a big difference in helping separate work mode from personal mode. If you like to listen to music for fun, you might find it is helpful to listen to a different kind of music that is unique to when you work. Try listening to talk radio in the background to simulate the noise of office chatter. Some of our app developers recommend using a noise generator to listen to traffic, rain, or birds chirping. Most people find that music is best when it doesn't contain lyrics. If it does, they prefer songs that they know so their mind isn't spending unnecessary power trying to pick out words. If your work day involves several different types of tasks, you may find that listening to music for only one type can put you in a particularly highly focused state.

Try out different routines. When you find what works, stick with it! Next time we'll discuss location conditioning: where you work is just as important as how you get ready to work.

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Topics: Culture

Abbey Jackson

Written by Abbey Jackson

Abbey Jackson, or Maple Syrup as we like to call her, worked remotely for Metova in 2016.

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