How to Work Remotely and Not Feel Isolated | by Radmila M. | Apr, 2024

Photo by Jexo on Unsplash

While being a remote worker, try to create a structured daily schedule that includes work hours, break for lunch, and time for social interactions. This can help you stay productive and maintain a sense of doing your job by design in a thorough manner.

Start your day with the activities that motivate you the most — for me these are intensive tasks like working on the most important projects or starting new ones from scratch. Besides that, I also try to include in my ‘before-afternoon-routine’ at least one unpleasant small task (a.k.a a frog) that doesn’t eat too much time, but requires your involvement.

By the way, you might read about examples of such frogs in one of my previous posts [1].

But don’t panic when something unexpected happens (i.e. something out of your routine) — for instance, you get an immediate request to connect with clients right now or one of your colleagues suddenly falls ill. Trust me, it’s not an extraordinary case at all, especially for long-lasting and complex projects. In such situations, try to solve these issues and then get back to your normal daily routine without outliers as soon as possible.

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Communication is a key skill for any data-related (and not only) team, but it becomes a must for remote collective. Make a habit to regularly communicate with your colleagues via work chats or using video calls. This can help you feel connected to your team and reduce feelings of isolation.

One of the company where I worked had a good tradition of holding virtual Monday meetings, during which we share not only professional updates about the projects we are working on, but also some personal issues, e.g. how we spent the weekend or recommendations on what films to watch or what museums and concerts to go to.

Also, we try to have considerable amount of regular common activities after work, e.g. strategical sessions, town halls (every second week), or just quizzes. This helps to learn more about your team (their tastes and preferences), as well as to maintain team spirit (the latter significantly ease the common work with people who work from different parts of the world on challenging projects).

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In addition to a lunch break, don’t forget to schedule regular breaks throughout your day to step away from your work and recharge. Use this time to go for a walk (at least to your closest window), do some stretching exercises, or engage in a hobby to split up the monotony of remote work.

Ability to turn off your brain for a short period of time during such a 5-min breaks will allow you to avoid burnouts and return to the current task with fresh mind (for some data-related tasks this can be a game changer). Very often this approach allows me to look at the challenging projects under a bit different angles and solve them more effectively.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

This advice emphasizes the importance of having a bit extra space out of your work, although in a case of working remotely this might be quite tricky. Being loyal to your company is important, but don’t underestimate a creation of your own personal brand and reputation by joining similar groups of people.

Which communities to join? Well, this depends only on your taste. I recommend to consider both communities within your company (not necessary virtual ones!), as well as other groups of like-minded individuals, for instance those who are also working remotely or belong to IT sphere [2, 3]. Doing so will give you a sense of camaraderie and support, as well as opportunities for networking and socializing.

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

In general, establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Create a designated workspace, set specific work hours, and make time for activities outside of work to avoid feeling isolated.

It’s not just about saying “No” when you really can’t afford another time-consuming project (trust me, it’s smarter than missing deadlines on an endless number of projects for which you “kindly” said “Yes”), but rather about a necessity to clear draw red lines which it is better not to go beyond to anyone from your team. For instance, not having any communication with colleagues during non-working hours / at night / during vacations. Doing so you will feel yourself much more relaxed and balanced, while helping others to respect your honesty and a sober look at your capabilities.

The effectiveness of remote work is vital for maximizing productivity and ensuring a healthy work-life balance. By following the advice of establishing a routine, communicating with colleagues effectively, setting up a dedicated workspace, taking breaks, and prioritizing self-care, we can create a conducive environment for remote work success. This is especially important for getting better conditions for those working in IT & data, where focus and concentration are essential for writing high-quality code.

By implementing above-mentioned strategies, IT specialists can optimize their workflow, enhance their problem-solving abilities, and ultimately produce better programming outcomes. Embracing the principles of remote work effectiveness is key to achieving success in today’s digital age.

I hope you found this short article useful. Thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions/comments on the post’s content!

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