Preparing for Remote Work
The spring of 2022 marked my transition from full-time college student to full-time remote worker. While COVID forced many people into remote work, companies like Kongregate are choosing to remain remote-first. With remote work comes unique benefits, challenges, and workplace norms.
The pandemic changed the way people work. Unlike in-person jobs, relocation and commuting are not required. It was a huge draw for me to live farther away from cities with high living costs and to save time and money on transportation. While Kongregate has offices in three cities, I have the freedom to live in a city close to my friends and family. Remote work also allows me to work from anywhere, not just at home. As a result, I have been able to travel after work to visit friends in other states. Once there, I hop on a computer to finish my tasks, take the weekend to visit with them, and drive back home afterward.
While working from home is more flexible than in-person work, everyone should be aware of a few restrictions when planning out living situations as a remote worker. While hours may be flexible, remote workers typically still need to be available during business hours to communicate with their team or boss. Make sure your living space doesn’t interfere with your work by securing a stable internet connection and ensuring you have all the necessary equipment. This could involve setting up a workspace at home or finding a suitable coworking space. Similar to how some in-person companies offer moving stipends or commuter funds, remote work companies often offer funds to improve the home offices of their employees. In my case, I used these funds to purchase an air filter and new curtains for my apartment.
Working from home can blur the line between business and leisure. I have had to learn to maintain my work/life balance even though both activities happen in the same location. While I have the option of working from anywhere at any time, I make sure to use my paid time off to disconnect and prevent burnout.
Working from home also requires using a computer for an extended period. I build breaks into my schedule to rest my eyes and move around. I make sure not to fall into the trap of getting online as soon as I wake up. My routine includes a shower, drinking water, eating a light breakfast, and having a small cup of coffee before I log on. Though my work hours may be flexible, I have set up an understanding that my work comes first during business hours. It’s important to prevent disruptions in my work day for non-urgent matters so that my work days don’t drag on — but I’m not afraid to capitalize on my paid leave!