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Summary:

We’re well and truly into the “business end” of the year. The business end is also the thin end: time, patience, concentration and stamina are all wearing thin right now. Recently, I’ve overheard a few web workers who say they’re sick of working remotely. It can […]

We’re well and truly into the “business end” of the year. The business end is also the thin end: time, patience, concentration and stamina are all wearing thin right now.

Recently, I’ve overheard a few web workers who say they’re sick of working remotely. It can be isolating and lonely and grueling; when you’re frustrated there’s no one to vent to; the office ignores you until they decide to load you up with yet another new task; and so on.

All this may be true. But there are other truths, too: working remotely can give you considerable flexibility and help you get more out of life. If you’re feeling a little jaded right now, why not reacquaint yourself with the sunnier side of remote work by indulging in some of its great advantages?

These are the things I enjoy the most about working remotely — they’re the things I do to remind myself how lucky I am to live the way I do. A warning, though: following this advice may lead to a sense of acute well-being, good fortune, or even smugness. Make the most of it, but try not to brag to your on-site colleagues too much…

1. Start the day in bed.

Forget bouncing out of bed at seven: arrange your affairs (and family, if need be) so that you can wake up as late as you wish.

To optimize the sense of decadence, grab a coffee and your laptop and head back to bed to take in the news, sift through the morning’s emails, and check your schedule with a sense of leisure.

When you do finally arise, you’ll likely be more relaxed and feel more positive about the tasks you need to do today.

2. Work from a luxurious location.

Just how remote is your remote work? If you find yourself chained to your desk, it might be time to rediscover the real joys of being off-site.

What’s the most decadent location in your area? It might be on your balcony, a nearby beach, an upmarket cafe that makes great pancakes, or the domed reading room in the historic library down the road.

Whatever it is, head out to spend a little time working in the most beautiful, calm, relaxed location you can think of. While you’re there, take a moment to appreciate just how lucky you are not to be stuck in the cube farm.

3. Talk to a local.

Isolation is the bane of many remote worker’s lives. So why not break the trend today? At lunchtime, step outside and say hello to someone in your area.

Where I live, the only place I’m likely to see another person is at the general store. Fine; I’ll stroll down there to buy milk or an ice cream (more decadence!) and have a chat with the shop keeper. You may be lucky enough to have neighbors, or see strangers passing along your street: say hello and ask how they’re going.

Much has been said to the effect that going out of your way — and your comfort zone — to make contact with another person can lead to feelings of wellbeing and involvement, and boost your self-esteem and mood. It’s also unlikely to be something that would happen very often on the lunchtime-busy streets outside a city office. Just as well you work remotely!

4. Optimize break time.

It’s not just what you do with your breaks: it’s when you take them.

As a remote worker, you don’t have the boss or your colleagues tracking your every move, so you can take a break when you need to, rather than at an approved time. Make the most of that: recognize when you need time out, and take it.

There is, of course, the question of what you’ll do with that five — or fifteen — minutes. I like to spend my breaks doing things I can’t do in an office: digging something out of my vegetable garden for dinner, playing with a pet, or collecting eggs. Going for a run at three in the afternoon is, to me, a great indulgence of working off-site.

5. At 5.01, do something you love.

Those poor saps in the office rarely knock off at five, and then they still have to spend time in traffic or on transport once they finish up for the day.

Not you! Finish on the dot of five — if not a shade earlier — and make sure that at 5.01 you’re engaged in something you truly enjoy. My first choice would be to sip a martini on my deck, looking out across the countryside, but your idea of heaven may be to play with your kids, catch an early movie, or spend an hour or two mucking around on the drums before the guys arrive — exhausted from work and commuting — for band practice.

Make the most of those extra hours, and you’ll remember why working remotely seemed like such a good idea in the first place.

Try any or all of these tricks and you’ll likely find you have a reinvigorated appreciation for your remote work setup. How luck you are to work remotely! Who’d ever want to change that?

Over to you: what do you do to remind yourself of the decadence of remote work?

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By Georgina Laidlaw

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  1. Maximilian Bartel Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Wonderful article – enjoyed reading it a lot!

    While I don’t necessarily like to work outside of my office because it’s already quite comfortable here, I really enjoy the freedom I have. If I meet a friend on wednesday evening and it’s fun, well I just stay a bit longer than others can. Besides that, I definitely enjoy the additional time I have each day because I don’t have to spend time in traffic.

    My girlfriend for example pretty much does the same that I do but as an employee in a city nearby. We both get up the same time but she usually needs the first 1,5 hours to get into her office – same to come back home in the evening. That’s about 3 hours I can spend working already while she sits in a crowded train every day and that always makes me feel very lucky, especially if the weather outside is bad from time to time.

  2. Writing this from bed, I only can say YES to all this great advice. We should never forget the nice aspects of web work, even if there are some negative sides, too!

  3. I’ve got #1 completely mastered.

  4. “My first choice would be to sip a martini on my deck”

    for me, that would be the porch glider. i usually make a salad and prep everything i need to make dinner _before_ i make the martini, manhattan, or old-fashioned. no sense in slicing off a finger, as prepping dinner might lead to if you start drinking beforehand.

    –c

  5. Why Web Working Rocks: It Lets Us Live in the Moment Friday, January 1, 2010

    [...] like a kid again. When I returned to my toasty office, I felt revived and forged ahead in my work. Web working is decadent, isn’t it? Stop for a minute and appreciate what you [...]

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