Remote Work in 2021

It’s Not A Trend

Google cemented the idea that remote work was here to stay when they announced they would continue with the model through September of 2021. Even before Google’s announcement, before the pandemic, remote work was picking up steam.

Study after study has proven that remote workers are happier and more productive. PC Matic, for instance, has been a remote company since its founding. I can say my co-workers are some of the most loyal and satisfied of any group of people I’ve ever worked with.

While some of us are seasoned remote workers, others are just getting used to it. It can be a difficult adjustment. So let’s go over some tips to avoid the common problems of remote work. Let’s also discuss what the future of remote work should look like for employees.

Quick Tips

Avoid burn out by making space and time for your job. We’ve heard this but it’s worth repeating. Set a time to start and a time to end. Close your laptop. Shut off your push notifications and do not answer emails after a certain time.

Additionally, you’ll want to carve out a space for yourself. My remote style is traveling. I prefer to spend some time at a desk, some time at a table, and sometimes I stand in the kitchen. It helps me stay focused to change spots. You may be a traveler, or you may prefer a dedicated space. Whichever it is, make sure that you have a way to differentiate your space between work time and personal time.

Next you’ll want to make time to exercise. Going from sitting at your laptop to sitting on the couch with your newest bingeworthy show can lead to lethargy. You’ll be more alert and productive if you throw in some exercise.

Finally, make sure you get dressed. This seems so simple, but it’s overlooked. Do not spend the day working in your pajamas. Putting on clothes, even if they’re sweatpants, helps create that different mental and physical space between work and home.

Moving Around

I mentioned I was a traveler. That’s always been my style. Even though I had a remote job when the pandemic struck, I still had to change my routines. One of the ways I would keep my work day fresh was by changing locations. I was a frequent flyer at local cafes and bakeries that offered free Wi-Fi.

I think we’re going to see a lot more travelers like myself in 2021. We’ve been in the house a long time. It’s my belief that people will begin to go out into public spaces for their work days. (Make sure you have good AV and a good VPN if you’re connecting to public Wi-Fi.)

And speaking of traveling, that can be taken literally as well. Hawaii was offering remote workers free flights to come live and work in Hawaii (remote job not included.) If you’re already employed, the Movers & Shakas program will pay your roundtrip air fare to live in Hawaii. They ask you do some community service while you’re there (not much) and contribute to the local economy.

This isn’t the only remote traveling job I’ve seen. There are programs out there inviting remote professionals to move around and work from a variety of locations. After a year of staying put, I have a feeling this is going to be extremely popular.

Finally, co-working spaces like WeWork will likely see a boost in memberships. They provide space for those that want to be out of their homes but not at a coffee shop. It’s an office setting without being YOUR office setting. Printers, desks, the water cooler, and revolving co-workers are all part of the appeal.

WeWork and other remote hubs understand that networking is a huge part of the job, and their shared spaces offer that in droves. As we move away from our homes and gravitate towards people, these common spaces will be used much more.

An End In Sight

Saying this has been a difficult year is an understatement. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves. In many ways, we’ve changed. I completely believe that hardship is the best way to grow, and this year has certainly been hard.

But now, with an end in sight, we can start to look forward to new and exciting things. We still have to hunker down through the winter, enjoy the holidays safely, and come out on the other side. Let’s take what we’ve learned and make this new year a great one for all of us.

Stay safe out there.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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