Fatigue and burnout are real when you spend each day in a home office. To survive working remotely, workers have started booking hotel rooms for a day and using other creative approaches to boost energy and motivation.
In March 2020, many companies asked employees to work remotely until the pandemic subsided. Almost 2 years later, many of those employees are still working from home offices, guest rooms and kitchen tables — and many are now wondering how to survive working remotely indefinitely.
There are countless benefits to working from home, but there are also serious drawbacks. The key to thriving in a remote work setting is to maximize those benefits while minimizing the drawbacks to the greatest extent possible. If you’re still working from home, and if you’re still trying to create the right environment and routine, here are 6 tips for how to survive working remotely.
1. Book a Hotel
There’s an emerging trend in the hospitality industry that’s meant to engage remote workers who just want to change their environment. Top hotels and travel companies are starting to offer day passes and other memberships for workers who just want a quiet place with natural light and high-speed internet to do their work.
Citizen M has completely sold out of its Global Passports, which give members 30 days of hotel stays each month for a flat rate of $1,500. Members can move between different cities, staying at 21 Citizen M properties for anywhere from 2 to 29 consecutive nights. The properties are located in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and other major cities around the world.
Similarly, Marriott Bonvoy has launched a Day Pass program that gives remote workers access to a hotel room from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Day Passes are available at Marriott Bonvoy properties in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Brussels, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, Kuala Lumpur, London, Mexico City, New York City, Ottawa, Phoenix, Singapore, Toronto, and Washington DC.
Inspirato, a luxury travel company, offers a $2,500-per-month subscription to high-end cruise ships, vacation homes and hotels around the world. The company leverages unused inventory to make these luxury accommodations available. Today, amid the pandemic, Inspirato has seen a 30% increase in booking activity.
2. Replicate Your In-Office Routine as Closely as Possible
There are certain perks to working from home. For example, you can set the thermostat at whatever temperature you like. But it’s helpful for productively and mental health to replicate your in-office routine as closely as possible.
Start by setting real work hours. When you work from home, it’s easy to let work drift into all aspects of your life. It’s easy to sit down and check email when you first wake up. It’s easy to take your lunch to your desk and work through the middle of the day. And it’s easy to continue checking messages long after the workday should be complete in the evenings.
Instead of letting work invade every waking hour of your at-home existence, set actual work hours — and stick to them. For example, decide to start work at 8 a.m. Take an hour for lunch. And then commit to completing your work by 5 or 5:30 p.m.
You should also get dressed before the workday starts. You don’t have to get fully gussied up before your at-home workday begins. After all, one of the greatest benefits of remote work is dressing a little more casually. But avoid starting your workday without changing out of pajamas, brushing your teeth and fixing your hair.
Remote workers who thrive when working from home build daily rituals into their routines. These rituals help them gear up for the workday and also help them wind down before logging off at night. Getting dressed and making yourself presentable before starting work is a positive ritual that can help you be more focused and productive.
Finally, make sure you have a dedicated workspace that maximizes comfort, that limits distractions, and that includes all the tools needed to complete your day’s work. Not everyone has a quiet, quality workspace at home. Someone living with their family in a small apartment in New York City will have a more difficult time than someone living in a sprawling house in the suburbs of Dallas, Denver or Phoenix. But there are tools you can use to turn the smallest, noisiest of environments into a productive workspace. See No. 4 for more.
3. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones or Earplugs
If you work in a noisy, busy environment, try 2 things. First, orient your desk away from the action. No one necessarily wants to face a wall when working, but that’s preferable to facing people passing by or other activities. Second, invest in some noise-canceling headphones or disposable earplugs.
Using noise-canceling headphones or disposable earplugs allows you to escape the sounds around you so that you can focus on the work at hand. When you’re accustomed to using them, you’ll be able to get your work done in even the noisiest and most chaotic of environments. Even if you do work in a quiet space, you may still find that headphones and/or earplugs help you better focus on your work.
4. Take a Midday Break
Don’t just work through lunch. Get outside and take a walk. Feel the sun on your face. Make yourself a healthy meal in your kitchen. Take a brief nap even. In traditional work environments, it’s common for team members to spend an hour away from the office during lunch. Take that same hour and use it to rest and recharge for the afternoon in order to survive working remotely.
5. Repurpose Your Commute Time
How long was your commute before you worked at home? The average one-way commute in the United States is 27.6 minutes, according to the latest census data. That’s almost a full hour the average American is saving when working from home. Workers in other countries are also saving time by eliminating their commutes and working from home. What are you going to do with that time?
You could use it to exercise. You could use it to read for pleasure. You could use it to drop off and pick up your kids from school. You could even use it to start learning a foreign language. The bottom line is this: Remote work has given you the gift of an additional hour each day (at least in average cases). Maximize the work-from-home experience by using that extra hour to do something you want to do — something for yourself.
6. Schedule Meetings for Chit-Chat
When you work from home, you miss out on the idle chit-chat that once upon a time helped team members get to know and build relationships with one another. Try to replicate water cooler talk by scheduling informal, unstructured meetings with some of your colleagues.
Even if you only spend 15 minutes talking, you’ll feel more connected to the people you work with. You’ll also find that these informal conversations can re-energize you for the rest of the day.
No Matter Where or Why You Need to Book
JTB Business Travel exists to meet the needs of corporations and their traveling team members. No matter where you need to book a hotel room, and no matter why you need to book, we can support you through the entire process. We use a common-sense approach to help Travelers enjoy comfortable, productive itineraries while helping their companies maximize their investment.