It’s been seven months since I started working from home in Los Angeles full-time.
I’m saving thousands of dollars by not paying commuter costs, buying lunch out, or restocking my makeup or wardrobe quite as much — what’s not to love?
Well, finding my stride outside of an office setting — much less an energetic, active newsroom — didn’t come as easy as the bump to my savings account.
I’m a proud self-starter and a disciplined worker, but I learned quickly that even I could be distracted by the pronounced silence of an empty apartment and the comforts of home.
Plus, there’s no overhearing coworkers chatting about lunch plans or stepping out for their 3 p.m. coffee break. The absence of these proverbial time stamps make it easy to lose track of the day.
I felt like my productivity was suffering. But after about a month of trial and error, I found one strategy that worked: Changing my scenery.
As a remote worker, my office doesn’t have to be an office in the traditional sense — I’d be remiss not to use that to my advantage. I decided to spend at least two hours every day away from my “work desk,” which is in my bedroom, and at least one day a week outside of my apartment at a coffee shop or otherwise.
Moving from space to space may seem a counterintuitive strategy, but when I consulted Brie Reynolds, a senior career specialist at FlexJobs, she said it’s “a great way to stay focused and productive throughout the day.” Plus, it breaks up the monotony we all suffer from occasionally.
“Remote workers can try out external environments to change up their workdays, gain energy, and focus better,” Reynolds said. “Coffee shops, coworking spaces, or working together with a friend or coworker who also works remotely in their home office — these options can all provide the same effects as moving from place to place in your house.”