Finding Balance in this Fully Remote World

It has been quite the whirlwind of a year, and I am wrapping up my fourth week at my new job. Starting a job remotely has been different, it has its challenges, but it also has its benefits. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned in the past few weeks, and how I’ve been managing this strange, indefinite remote world.

Things I Kind of Like About Being Remote

  • The program I joined was specifically designed for being remote, and since everyone is in the same career boat as me, it has been nice to feel that sense of camaraderie.
  • Since we are all trying to get to know each other, we have small hangouts virtually and the first week was loaded with ice breakers, which are surprisingly nice from time to time!
  • Working from home is so convenient. My commute is nonexistent and I get to wear whatever I want, so that is definitely a plus.

Things I Don’t Love About Being Remote

  • My job is a designer, and as a designer, most of my work is collaborative. Remote collaboration is strange, and is definitely not as fulfilling as spending an hour sketching and putting sticky notes on a whiteboard.
  • It is hard to differentiate between what is home and what is work. Having a physical office to come in and out of helps to create a mental divide between my personal life and work life. In this remote world, I’ve had to try to create that, and it is difficult.
  • Building friendships is doable, but it is hard to really get to know people. I’ve decided that nothing can top meeting people in real life to get to know them. Body language is so important.
  • It is easy to get distracted, especially by large world events like this presidential election. An office space can be motivating and it is so much easier to focus when everyone around you is doing work. I am way more likely to refresh the presidential election map if I am in my room alone.

Some Things that Have Worked Well for Me

  • Throughout high school and college, I would do a lot of work in my bed. I don’t do this anymore. Now, I have a designated spot for my work laptop and that is where I do my work. It keeps me focused and mentally blocks away a space for work.
  • Taking a lot of breaks throughout the day. It is tiring to look at a screen all day. I like to go poke around my kitchen and take laps around my house once in a while.
  • Drinking lots of water. This forces me to get up every hour or so and go to the bathroom.
  • If I do meet someone, it is nice to message them once in a while! This is a small thing that has kept me motivated and excited about the future when we do get to work together in person!
  • Working sessions with other people. I’ve loved having video calls where everyone is present but doing work. It is motivating and also keeps me focused on the task at hand.

Future Things

  • It is still the very first few weeks, and things might still change, but this is what has been working for me so far!
  • Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying the remote lifestyle for the time being. It provides a sense of calm during these chaotic times.
  • However, I am also very excited to be able to go back into an office.

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