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Tips for the Deskbound

The definition for deskbound from different sources:

  • restricted to working in an office, rather than in an active, physical capacity.
  • engaged in or involving sedentary work, as at an office desk
  • restricted to work at a desk
  • unfamiliar with actualities or practical matters outside one’s own job:  deskbound executives who can’t grasp production problems.

You get the idea, being deskbound is not really for the active or adventurous types but chances are that you spent countless hours at your desk, even if you don’t like it. However, if you have the privilege of working in a position where you can work remotely then there are some things you can do to minimize being deskbound.

Work from home

Many people today have the privilege of being able to work from home, at least a few times a week. Working from home is not for everyone as many people need to be around other people to do their job well. If you are able to work from home and you like it, let me show you some things you can do to avoid being deskbound to the same place at home. You can change your scenery, at least a bit. For example, while you work from home try alternating between your table kitchen, dinning room, home office or even from your back yard. Just by making these small changes to your scenery you’ll find yourself refreshed and ready to get some work done. Give it a try.

Work from a coffee shop

This is nothing new, today many professionals around the world go to coffee shops to do their job, even if they have an office at home or at an office building. Now, if you make small changes such as splitting your days between different coffee shops, you might find yourself re-energized and motivated like you probably did the first time you worked from a coffee shop. There is also no doubt that working from a coffee shop has many other benefits such as the potential of meeting new people, unlimited amounts of great coffee, fewer distractions and the potential of increasing both productivity and creativity.

Just remember to consume more than just a cup of coffee while you are there, don’t become a laptop hobo. Lately, there has been many complaints from coffee shops about laptop hobos who seat down for hours, using the wi-fi and power outlets while consuming just a cup of coffee or nothing at all.

Work from a co-working space

Just like working from a coffee shop, having the ability to do your job from a co-working space offers great opportunities to meet like-minded people, a sense of community and sometimes good coffee as well. If you are in Austin I suggest you visit any of these places, most of them offer working space on demand. Also, most co-working spaces are designed to increase creativity and innovation and this is of course always a good thing! While you are there try rotating desks a few times a day or at least try seating at different areas within the co-working space every time you visit, this will help you meet new people and also change your scenery.

Next time you have a chance to work from home, from a coffee shop or anywhere remotely, consider picking different spots and places, this will help you change the routine and avoid being deskbound, at lease from the office desk.

If you are a freelancer, I hope some of the tips above help you a bit and if you are interested in working in handpicked projects that pay well and on time checkout our new marketplace and request an invite today.

Tips to have success as a remote worker

I still remember when I first had the opportunity to work remotely, it took some convincing but my employer at the time understood and agreed to give it a try, it was 2002. Nowadays is very common to find professionals, especially developers and designers doing some of their work remotely. There are even some successful companies where not only some employees work remotely but almost their entire work force is remote, in these companies working remotely is just part of the culture.

Tips to have success as a remote workerBelow are some of my own experiences as a remote worker, and although I have never been a 100% remote worker, still think some of the following tips might help some of you, and if you have additional tips please feel free to share it with us in the comment’s section.

Have a schedule and let co-workers know about it

Unless you work remotely 100% of the time, you should let people know in advance about the days and hours you are working remotely, that way no in-person meetings are scheduled and no expectations of you being physically at the office are set. Your company and co-workers will appreciate this.

This also helps you plan for personal things such as running errands, doctor appointments, walking the dog, going to the gym, or whatever it is that you do when you are not attached to specific working hours during the day. The real benefit and very productive thing about working remotely is having the ability to work when you are the most productive, not necessarily from 9-5PM.

Work when you are the most productive, avoid the 9-5

Most people benefit from working remotely because if done correctly, it truly gives you a chance to balance your busy life with your work. Unfortunately many employers and professionals do not understand this and instead request that people working remotely work the same hours as if they were at the office, and while this might be seemed as a good idea it isn’t. Working the same hours while working remotely does not let you realize the full potential of working remotely, and it also brings the same problems you tried to avoid by working remotely such as constant distractions by coworkers pinging you, and the pressure of not being able to work when you are the most productive which in many cases is not from 9-5PM.

Make yourself unreachable

That is right, be unreachable. The whole point about working remotely is so you can be more productive and you can only achieve this by eliminating distractions. If you are in a position where you can work remotely, then you can certainly make yourself unreachable for a day or two. If you or your employer feel uncomfortable with this, then none of you are ready to work remotely or to have a remote workforce. Here are some tips to make yourself unreachable and to train people around you to understand that you are not openly available while working from home, a coffee shop or anywhere you decide to work from:

  • Only read and reply to very important emails that truly require your input.
  • Do not answer the phone if the caller is unknown.
  • Do not engage in online discussions in IM, Twitter, etc…
  • Avoid phone conferences while working remotely.
  • Disable email, IM and other automatic notifications.

Give yourself permission to decline interruptions, and set expectations with your team about this.

Use the right equipment

A good laptop, good internet connection and plenty of electrical power is absolutely needed to succeed as a remote worker. Having two computers such as one sitting at work and another one at home won’t cut it, trust me I tried and failed miserably. Also, remember that working remotely doesn’t mean working only from home, there are going to be days when you decide or need to work from another location such as a coffee shop, a hotel or a co-working space, and you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the above… laptop, fast internet connection and a source of power. Caffeine is in my list of must-have as well.

If possible, have an extra battery (charged) for your laptop, a cell phone and all of the cables you need to power up your devices, never leave home without them.

Use the right software

This advice really varies depending on what you do and who you work for. For example, if your company provides remote access to network shares, and other resources within the company’s network then make sure you have access to it as well as the security software and knowledge to connect to it. For example, most companies will require you to first connect to a virtual private network (VPN) before you can access your email, network folders, databases, etc… Another good idea is to know how to access your company’s email using a browser (webmail) since there are going to be times when your VPN connection might not work when you need to read or sent an important email message. It will happen, trust me on this one.

Here are some other applications that can prove to be very useful while working remotely:

In summary, make sure you test all of your software while at home and confirm that you have everything to do your job remotely.

The above list is what comes to mind based on my experience as the basics for successfully working remotely, and I am sure that depending on your company and the type of work you do there might be the need for other software or equipment to make this happen. If you have other tips or suggestions please add them in the comment’s section below.