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Remote Work: The New “Long Term – Temporary” Normal

The world is in a bit of flux right now due to COVID-19 restrictions, and for “non-essential” workers, that has meant transitioning to remote work full time. Depending on your individual circumstances, this might be incredibly disruptive. For others, it might be an easy adjustment.

Regardless, remote work is the new normal, and it will be status quo for some time. This means your work-from-home situation has become “long-term temporary”. It means it’s time to adjust priorities, set new routines, and create a new, yet familiar, work environment.

Anytime Mailbox is a fully distributed company comprised of a team of remote workers spread across the globe. We know a thing or two about how to ease into and optimize remote work life when you’re at home and separated from your coworkers. (We may even have an exciting solution for you in the form of a virtual mailbox.)

So if you’re feeling stuck in the doldrums and still trying to make your situation work, we’re happy to tell you it’s not so bad once you get used to it! Just like anything else, there’s a bit of a learning curve.

To help you out, here’s a quick list of some pros and cons of working from home. We’ve even got some potential solutions for the cons.

Pros & Cons of Remote Work

The Pros

  • More flexibility — set your own schedule, work when you’re at your most productive.
  • Save time and money — no more commute! Save valuable time and money typically spent on gas.
  • Reduced stress — no one looking over your shoulder or added office pressure.

The Cons

  • The loneliness factor — isolation means no social outlets or day-to-day office interactions. A less collaborative environment.
  • Remote work takes real discipline — you must avoid distractions to do your job and meet certain deadlines.

To help you make the most of this situation and be a successful remote worker, we offer the following suggestions.

1. Carve Out A Quiet Workspace

Much like the bedroom is for sleeping and the kitchen is for cooking, your workspace should be for work! One of the first things you’ll want to do is create a quiet workspace.

If you’re lucky enough to already have an office at home, then you’re good to go. The next best thing is if you have a spare bedroom that you can convert into your workspace. Allow yourself the opportunity to have a space you can step away from, so you don’t feel the urge to work at all hours.

But if these aren’t options, you’ll need to get a bit more creative. Maybe you can carve out some room in your bedroom or use the dining room table that just collects everyone’s junk. Or sit out on the back patio to get some fresh air.

Wherever it is, it’s in your best interest to create a “work” area. Somewhere you can go to switch to work mode and be left alone. You’ll likely find that you’re much more productive if you do!

2. Avoid Home Office Fatigue

Now that you’ve carved out a quiet workspace, you’ll want to tinker with it further to help optimize your health and productivity.

This means focusing on things like ergonomics. Consider setting yourself up where you can stand-up to work. Get a separate keyboard and mouse so they aren’t killing your wrists. Get a footpad and a comfortable chair. Make sure you aren’t straining your neck.

There’s plenty you can do to make sure working from home isn’t destroying your spine. Pro tip: Don’t sink into the couch with your laptop.

3. Get Creative To Find Social Outlets

The lack of social interaction and loneliness setting in can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in the transition to remote work. This is especially true in current times.

But thanks to technology, we are more connected than ever. You can use Zoom or several other apps and services to have video meetings with coworkers or even friends and family. Video chatting keeps you much more engaged than a traditional phone call and gives you that face-to-face time.

4. Maintain Your Work Routine

We touched on this earlier, but if you’re a person who needs and thrives on structure, you now have a great opportunity to create your own. Wake up and start your day when you feel the most refreshed. Too exhausted to workout at the end of the day because of your long workday? Try working out first thing since you no longer have that time-consuming commute.

Set start and finish times as well as breaks for food and you may find it better suits your needs. Setting an alarm for reminders to stand up and drink water will keep you feeling good and focused throughout the day Take a shower and change into “work” clothes rather than staying in your pajamas all day, which may contribute to your laziness and a fast track to procrastination.

Essentially, take your routine from your normal pre-quarantine life and enhance it. This is your chance to turn your workday into what you have always envisioned. Take advantage!

5. Remote Work Tips Speed Round

Here are our top quick-hitter remote working tips:

  • Consider getting your team/colleagues onto free platforms like Zoom and Slack to communicate and manage projects.
  • Upgrade your internet speed — this may be especially important while everyone is home clogging up your bandwidth. Check with your provider to see if there’s a way to test your internet speed, most providers provide this tool!
  • Maintain strict work hours.
  • Use productivity apps, timers, calendars, to-do lists, and more tools to help you stay focused and productive.

Bonus: Optimize Your Life With A Virtual Mailbox From Anytime Mailbox

Since you’re now working from home in a remote setting, now is the perfect time to add another helpful item to your toolbox: a virtual mailbox from Anytime Mailbox.

Previously, the bane of the remote workers’ existence was having to drive to the office just to pick up work-related mail. At the time, this was a better option than having work mail sent to your home, but thankfully, those caveman ways are in the past when you choose Anytime Mailbox.

A virtual mailbox gives you a permanent street address at which to receive your mail and packages, and the ability to manage it digitally. This is largely taken advantage of by the digital nomad who may not be tied to one particular address but is a great fit for a remote worker as well.

Here are four reasons why a virtual mailbox is right for you:

1. Shift Your Work Postal Mail and Packages to Your Phone

A virtual mailbox may be a great fit for your work life if you generally receive important, mission-critical work-related postal mail or packages at the office. With a virtual mailbox, you can access work postal mail from your phone or laptop and also take action on packages. Mail items will first go to a designated sorting center rather than piling up unmonitored at your workplace.

2. Manage Your Postal Mail from Anywhere

A virtual mailbox delivers added flexibility to manage your physical mail from wherever you are. “Work from home” isn’t that literal, after all. Remote work means you can work from anywhere you have an internet connection.

With a virtual mailbox you can manage your mail, taking action via the app or dashboard on your laptop. You can request your mail items to be opened & scanned, forwarded, securely shredded, or simply discarded, all right there on your phone. This eliminates having to retrieve your postal mail and then deal with that stubborn mail pile on your kitchen table.

3. Added Security

Safety is paramount, especially now, so you should add as many safeguards as possible. A virtual mailbox means you won’t have to physically handle your mail, which has been handled by numerous people on its journey.

This is incredibly important in current times when COVID-19 can live on surfaces for as long as a few days. You don’t know who has been handling your mail or what their current health may be. It’s crucial to eliminate as many risks as possible and handling your mail in a “contactless” manner helps you do that.

Additionally, you’ll also keep your home safe and secure because your home address will remain private. Anytime Mailbox uses a real address at a local mailbox business center instead of using your actual address. Protect your home and personal information and stay safe!

4. Inexpensive & Convenient In Uncertain Times

We understand that many of you are adjusting to remote work and an uncertain future. We know the need still exists to receive your business mail regardless of your current work location in order to stay operational. The most efficient way to do this is through a virtual mailbox.

If you are one of the millions of people who are out of work, you may be looking to start a side hustle to bring in some cash flow. A virtual mailbox is an essential component of a home-based business and is quick and easy to set up. It will protect your home address when you register your business while professionalizing your new venture. It also makes it easier to receive business credit when you use a professional business address instead of your home address.

And if the cost is a concern — consider that a virtual mailbox costs just $9.99 per month. That’s less than your Netflix or HBO Go subscription!

You’ll be set up in no time — if you sign up today, you will be provided with a real street address that is linked to your new virtual mailbox and can begin managing your postal mail on your phone in just 24 to 48 hours. This includes packages from FedEx, UPS, and others.

What’s on the horizon?

The bottom line is that as of this writing, it’s still not clear what’s over the horizon, as to when things will stabilize or get back to some sort of normal. This could mean making remote work semi-mandatory, in many cases, rather than a preferred option. All we can do is make the very best of the hand we’ve been dealt, and we hope some of our tips help you maintain some sort of sanity. Maybe you’ll even find remote work to your liking! There’s always a silver lining if you look hard enough.

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