Increasingly seen as a mainstream setup, remote work has been an option appreciated by most professionals. It offers greater flexibility and work life integration. But at the same time, it brings with it several new challenges, and even some dangers.

It's easy to not know how to switch off, to use the hours we save on commuting to start work earlier, or to feel isolated from spending all day working alone. For this reason, it is necessary to be cautious and pay attention to all these possible risks. Only this way can we make the most of remote work, as well as the productivity and happiness that this setup is able to provide.

Here at Coverflex, as remote work has been our working model since day one, we dare say we are already experts in the matter. Read on to find out our top tips to be more productive and happy while working remotely.

1. Get your workplace prepped and ready

It is important that you have a suitable workstation for the type of work you do. A comfortable desk and chair, sufficient lighting and ergonomic material can avoid possible discomfort and ensure good levels of productivity.

2. Switch between home and coworking places 

If you don't have the option of going to the office from time to time and you feel that you need to vary the location from which you work, try using coworking options too - this can even help you improve your well-being and your mental health. You can start by doing, for example, one day a week of remote work from a coworking space, thus varying your routine and getting to know other people.

3. Walk, for the sake of creativity 

When working from home and, most of the time, alone, you may feel less creative at times. What you have to do is adopt other mechanisms. And, in fact, you already have a very powerful one: the flexible working hours, usually connected to remote work. If you feel blocked, open the door, get out and go for a walk. The benefits of walking have been known for a long time, and they don't stop at the most obvious ones: it could even be the boost of creativity you need for that project that has been on hold for a while.

4. Commute - but virtually this time

The time of daily commute between home and the workplace was replaced by walking from the bedroom to the office or to the living room - and the way in which professionals are replacing the usual time spent in commuting is worrying specialists. "It's likely that the average 4.3 hours a week you saved on commuting is part of a new routine: using that extra time to work", warns the World Economic Forum. Although commuting is not pleasurable for many employees, it often defines the beginning and end of the working day. We propose you now use this time for a new commuting routine, which can involve doing a guided meditation session via a mental health app, taking a walk around the block or going for a bike ride, or even reviewing your schedule and planning your day.

5. Use tools to help with async communication

Slack, Notion, Zoom, ClickUp… These digital platforms have become the daily meeting points for millions of people working remotely. Since the beginning of the pandemic, face-to-face meetings have been replaced by new routines that include daily video calls that often last several hours. Although they are an important moment, if done too much and/or too long they can negatively influence the productivity of employees. In the future, and especially when working remotely, communication will be async. Equipping yourself with the best platforms will make managing your work much easier, helping you to concentrate, communicate with your colleagues (despite being physically distant) and stay focused. Read about the 12 tools that will help you when working async here.

6. Take breaks 

This tip is valid for any work model, regardless of whether it is remote, hybrid, or office-based. Do you feel like you spend hours on end working non-stop? Maybe it's a sign that you're not taking enough breaks, or at least efficiently. In 2014, the DeskTime app found that nearly 10% of people were more productive when they worked 52 minutes and then took a 17-minute break. In addition to helping to relieve the tension that builds up during the day, breaks at work help us to better deal with complicated situations that may arise, reduce anxiety levels and maintain productivity.

7. Use a calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal 

Having a specific place to write down deadlines – be it a calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal – is the best way to not forget and exceed deadlines. You can do it in the more traditional way, using pen and paper, or use platforms like Trello, which help you to have a “helicopter view” of the week or month. ‍

8. Try a new hobby

Think of an activity or hobby you would like to try. It could be yoga classes, learning embroidery, or just starting to read more often. Creative hobbies are the key to preventing you from lying on the couch doing the classic "infinite scroll down" on social media in your spare time.

9. Establish a long-term goal 

Several studies and researchers show that anticipation alone is capable of bringing numerous benefits to psychological well-being. In addition, having goals and targets is a way to keep motivated each day. So, set your next goals and make a plan to achieve them. ‍

10. And, at the end of the working day, relax

Just as important as starting the workday is knowing when to end it. Knowing how to turn off your email and shut down the computer. It's time to rest and relax. Avoid working too much overtime or falling into the temptation of not disconnecting. The intention of making working hours flexible is not to work more: it is, above all, to work less (sometimes, even in less time).