1. Organizing a workplace and timetable

The main goal of organizing a separate workplace and setting a stable schedule is to draw a distinctive line between one’s work and private life. Maintaining clear boundaries is important both for the workflow and for personal activities — although there are certain difficulties that tend to arise at this point.

Common problems

When there are no set working hours there is no effective work. Trying to insert spontaneous trips to the shop, ordering household appliances, or watching 30 minutes of the series you started yesterday in between work calls is a bad idea. One cannot complete a full workday like this; it is impossible to coordinate with a team and meet the deadlines. As a result, those who are unstable get fired.

Having work-related email and instant messenger on your phone is not a valid reason to reply to messages in the middle of the night, while on vacation, or in a hospital. Having a work laptop with you around the clock is not a valid reason to spend your weekend doing work-related, albeit interesting, tasks. This behavior can create an impression that life is work and only work. As a result, people get very tired, feel burned out, and quit.

Good solutions

Determine the timetable that suits you, and work during those time slots every day. This helps to establish the right attitude and makes it easy to plan your personal time. Also, it allows all team members to have convenient communication and solve common issues. The schedule can be quite flexible; it is totally acceptable to alternate work and personal slots during the day and to perform some tasks late in the evening. The main factor is stability. It is also important to understand that working exclusively during nighttime would break your communication with the team and decrease overall productivity. Colleagues usually decide to get in sync during normal working hours on weekdays.

Find or create a work-only zone. If it’s in a co-working space, great! This would provide a reason to leave the house and switch to business mode. A separate room at home is also good if it’s possible. A balcony or just a zone with a table that is not used for anything else is also suitable and will help a family not to interfere with the work process. Try not to work outside this space. Otherwise your home—a place that is essential for your relaxation—will turn into an office.

Make sure that there are no technical issues with the workplace you chose. Setting up a remote workplace is both an independent choice and the responsibility of each team member. For example, you might be in a Thai village, but power outages are not a valid reason and not an excuse not to work. Therefore you have to ensure a good connection and have pre-paid mobile internet just in case. Use an additional high-quality webcam and a headset if your laptop has issues with this hardware. This shows respect to your colleagues; it will be pleasant for them to hear and see you clearly.

4. Set aside personal questions while working

See problem #1. Do not do this. Do not combine business with pleasure. It does not work this way

5. Set aside work questions during personal time

It is important to make it clear to clients and colleagues when you are no longer available. Turn off notifications and do not check email. For emergency situations there is a telephone; the rest will wait till the next business day.

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