5 Critically Important Boundaries for Remote Students or Workers
The world plunged into the remote work deep end overnight. Suddenly, teams worked out of Zoom instead of conference rooms, pajama pants instead of slacks. Although this shift came on much faster than imagined, workers worked desperately to developed strategies to cope.
As a fresh college graduate, I jumped from virtual classes into a remote job, so here are some necessary boundaries I’ve learned amidst the craziness…
1. No Place Is Safe… from Commotion
If your roommate/mother/partner wants to find you, they will. And they will do so, loudly, during that video recorded calc test or in a company meeting. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them about this super important event-thing, trust that they will forget. Therefore, you must take every precaution to avoid a video call tragedy:
- If possible, find a room that is secluded and has a working lock.
- This keeps your brother from walking in shirtless during your history class.
- Place a sign nearby saying that you’re working.
- It’ll gently remind your roommate/family/partner to not bang on the door, asking if you’ve seen their phone.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you know that your roommates are going shopping at 2, plan your “I need complete and utter silence” task for that time. Working around others’ agendas is just as important as your own.
- Keep your peeps in the loop.
- Openly discuss what you, your roommates, and teammates need from each other. Relay how you want to be communicated with during the workday and after hours. Develop your home-work balance.
2. Keep a Schedule
If you’re like me, you need to plan your day or else nothing will get done properly. Remote workers to job searchers… they all give this advice. Schedules definitively carve out time to finish that project you’ve been procrastinating on. Blocking out your day is a phenomenal way to efficiently get things done and feel incredibly accomplished.
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3. Take Time for YOU
Buffer reports that the biggest struggle with remote work is “Unplugging after work”. It is so tempting to respond to those burning email inquiries after hours. Here’s the thing though: if you are too stressed to function, you probably need some time for yourself. The magnificent thing about remote work is that your schedule is flexible. Use that to your advantage. Schedule out time for you, so you can stay sane!
4. Separate Your Work and Living Space
Working on your bed may seem pretty awesome, but the temptation to fall asleep is all too alluring. That’s not the only thing you mess up in that scenario. You, also, ruin the place you’re supposed to relax. Instead of associating your bed with zzz’s and comfy pillows, it morphs into the place of that stressful client meeting.
Physically separate where you relax and work. Set up a worktable… maybe even a room divider to differentiate these parts of your life. Also, Entrepreneur recommends working out of one space because it is more productive in the long run. So, get your area rolling and stick with it!
5. Set Up “Water Cooler Talk”
Remember that last time Tanya and Ricardo spent 15 minutes of the meeting discussing the X-Games. Yeah, that’s awesome to hear in certain times, but not during valuable work hours. A side effect of remote work is feeling isolated from your team members. This loneliness can spill over into work hours. That can easily be changed by setting up remote “outings”. You can get all your catchin’ up and gossippin’ out there instead of in the meeting. It keeps things professional and creates community between members.
Oh hey… here’s a relevant social media post. Check it out here.
These little tips and tricks can determine the success of your remote learning/work experience. Find what works for you. Some people like music playing in the background. Others can’t stand it. Some people do well working by themselves. Others need more interaction in their day. All combinations of these things are great. Include them in your boundaries. Set these values and safeguard them. Whatever helps you accomplish your tasks is what you do!