So, you’ve finally packed in the office job. Maybe you’re doing the same thing, but freelance, or maybe you’re pursuing your passion without the feel of a middle manager’s breath on the back of your neck.
Congratulations! You’ll see more productivity, a better work/life balance, and less stress all from being able to control your own career life. But that means what you do is up to you. If you want to do remote working right, you’ll need to nail more than just the working aspect. This is where we come in. We’re covering everything from setting up an online portfolio to how to dress when you’re in front of the computer screen. Take a look at our suggestions so that you can work to your fullest for yourself.
Set up your social media portfolio
This might sound like something pulled right out of Gen Z, and it is, but it’s working. There are new graduates out there trying to market themselves as the greatest employee with their TikTok and Instagram account.
When you think about it, it’s not the most shocking thing. Instagram has become the hive for small and freelance businesses all over industries, and that means showcasing what they do on social media. You’ve seen earrings made out of resin, you’ve seen artists, you’ve seen personal trainers. Is it so shocking to see an accountant, graphic designer, jingle writer, and anything else you can think of displaying their work on social media?
There are two ways to go about this: clean up your existing social media and use the followers you have there to gain traction or start over with a “professional” account.
Even if your profession doesn’t really lend itself to a visual medium, there is always an opportunity to create content around yourself. Post reviews and references, give advice on what you would do on common challenges in your industry, showcase how you are creating more skills, and show what they are. Essentially, go through your CV and make up ways you can transfer it to your social media. It’s not uncommon for employers to ask for portfolios and an online version is likely to impress, as you’ll have a lot for them to sift through.
Networking will be vital when you are working for yourself, and in the digital age, it does seem that opportunities to network are shrinking. It’s not entirely the case. There are some networking opportunities found online and still a lot of opportunities in person.
For one thing, make sure your LinkedIn is up to scratch. For B2B and finding clients that is your best bet. But if you want to get away from the computer screen, look up professional associations, industry events, job fairs, personal development classes, and events that might surround any part of your industry.
When you get home, conduct a networking thank you email for anyone you made a rapport with. A good tip is to “follow up” on something you mentioned in the conversation. If you referenced an article or report, you could send it on for them to have a look at. They’ll glance at it probably, but you’ll be in their minds.
Readdress your attire
Yes, we know that it seems tedious to get dressed for a day of sitting in front of the computer screen, but if you’ve got a lot of meetings in your role, it’ll be necessary.
It’s necessary for another reason. If you want to boot your brain up quickly, you’re going to need to have a shower and get dressed. It would be a waste of product and time to go full Dolly Parton on your look but getting yourself into something comfortable and practical for the day, that isn’t pajamas, will get your brain alert to the fact that your day is starting. The same way your dog sits up when they see you lift the keys to leave.
Okay, so, perhaps counteractively, we’re going to say that it’s time to go through your work attire and throw a lot out. A lot of “professional” attire is starchy, solid, and uncomfortable. Keep hold of anything that could be considered professional but comfortable. Go for looser skirts, flowing trousers, swap shirts for blouses or even plain t-shirts, anything that meets that middle ground between comfy and professional. It’s not like you have a boss telling you to look like an air hostess anymore.
Keep a few bits and pieces aside for the occasions where you might meet someone in person, but for the most part, Zoom meetings mean you are only seen from the waist up anyway.
Create your office
There are a lot of guides out there that will get into the fun of creating your office space, like the décor and the mini-fridge hidden under the desk, but the fundamentals are a lot more important. You can work on the aesthetic once you’ve got the fundamentals nailed.
For example, you should test out your Wi-Fi. If you have the spare room upstairs earmarked as your new office, you don’t want to open your laptop only to see that your internet connection doesn’t extend that far or is too dodgy to conduct a Zoom meeting.
Make sure that you have enough room for everything you need. You can make a nook in the corner of another room, but there is more at stake than whether your laptop looks Instagrammable on your desk. Cybercrime is currently skyrocketing, mainly due to remote working. If you are in an industry that means you are handling customers’ and clients’ private information, you will need to install some decent cybersecurity and keep a paper shredder nearby. The ability to go noseying through bins for data hasn’t gone with the rise of working from home.
And then there are the things around the room that will help you work better. Make sure there is at least one plant in there. Plants help you think by oxygenating the room and are therefore useful in keeping good mental health, which will be a priority when you’re your own boss.
Experiment with touching the grass
Okay, not literally, unless you fancy it. What we mean is that working inside, especially if you don’t have a reason to get out the house, can be stifling. If the kids are old enough to walk home from school, the hubby has promised he’ll bring dinner home, it’s a wet day outside, you might find you haven’t moved from your desk besides to put the kettle on, and it can be maddening. Like, talking to the TV screen maddening.
You’d be surprised just how much your mind can clear from just getting out of the house. So, if you don’t have an excuse to go out, make one. Head to your local internet café, create a hotspot and work in the path (and touch grass), or leave the laptop at home and simply take a break. Take a book instead, or your earphones and step away from the laptop when you need it. Sometimes you simply cannot work anymore and as little as 10 minutes away from the screen and situation is enough to reboot your brain back into work.
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