Maintaining a positive attitude when working from home is harder than you may think. While it is easier to have a positive attitude when surrounded by laughing friendly co-workers, it’s much more difficult when working in isolation.
For some people, a positive attitude when working remotely comes as naturally as breathing. For others, it takes a lot of time and a concentrated effort. A positive attitude when working remotely can be the difference between succeeding and failing in your career.
Here are 12 ways you can cultivate a positive attitude when working remotely.
1. Find your most productive work hours
Not everyone is productive at the same time, yet we are all generally forced to work “normal” work hours.
Remote work is often quite different. Your hours can, and probably will, fluctuate daily allowing you to do deep work when your most productive, and easy busy tasks when your least productive.
Obviously, you will still need to keep a structured schedule for your work hours and attend work meetings. But now you have the option to have lunch when you want, instead of at a set time.
This once small change in how you work can help you maintain a positive attitude when working remotely no matter what time of day it is.
2. Befriend your co-workers
You spend around 40 hours a week working; it’s nice to have some friends amongst your co-workers even if you don’t interact in person.
Try logging onto team video calls a couple minutes early to catch up with people on a personal level before your meetings start. Alternatively have a virtual coffee break with a different co-worker each day.
You don’t need to know every detail about them, however talking about common interests, and occasionally bantering back and forth will make work more inviting. Having a friendly community at work can help you feel supported and decrease your stress.
Participate in after-work activities and events when they occur. You don’t need to socialise for hours. Hanging out for even a short period will make you feel more connected. You may be out with work people, but you aren’t at work. It will create a positive attitude towards your co-workers.
3. Take a break and go out for lunch
Being chained to your desk does you no good. Go for lunch, indulge in a coffee break, or just step away from your desk for a few minutes.
Even taking short intermittent breaks will reduce the chance of burnout, help maintain good mental health, and develop a more positive attitude when working remotely.
4. Leave work at work
It’s hard not to think about work, especially when your work is in your home. But give it a try. Allow yourself to disconnect by creating a work area that is separate from your living area. If the space isn’t available to you, try to pack your computer away at the end of the day, or place a cover over your workstation so you can’t see it. The more you put it out of your mind, the more refreshed you will feel the next day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having time to yourself, with your family, or doing hobbies. If you carry work with you into every hour of your life, you will never be excited to go back to work the next day. Make a rule that you leave work “at work” whenever possible.
You cannot cultivate a positive attitude when working remotely if you are burnt out.
5. Act professionally
How you interact with co-workers speaks volumes about your work ethic. If you are having an issue at work that affects your positive attitude when working remotely, it needs to be addressed. There is no right or wrong way, as long as you try to approach the matter openly and constructively.
You will find you gain more respect from your peers at work if you handle yourself professionally in adverse situations. You may not be able to keep a positive attitude 100% of the time, but you can maintain your professionalism no matter how you feel.
6. Manage your workload
If you are overwhelmed with your workload, there is little chance you will be performing optimally. This can negatively impact your productivity which in turn diminishes any chance you have of maintaining a positive attitude when working remotely.
Do what you can to change the situation. If you have the opportunity to delegate, you should. Especially if it allows other employees a chance to grow and expand their skills.
To help you with this, try creating a not-to-do list of tasks that prevent you from greater productivity. This will save you time, which will allow you to get back on top of your workload. You exude energy and positivity when you know you are at the top of your game.
7. Be kind to yourself when working alone
We all have a voice inside our heads – but what is yours saying? Are the words you say to yourself negative, demeaning, or unsupportive? Negative words can have a real impact on our mental health – especially when working remotely and you don’t have positive reinforcement from co-workers.
Stop saying things like “I’m terribly disorganised”, “I am so incompetent”, and “What a mess, I will never be able to sort this out.” Instead, talk to yourself like you would if you were giving your favourite co-worker advice. Reframe your inner conversation by taking hard emotional words out.
8. Control your language
No matter how therapeutic it feels to complain to co-workers and friends about your work, you’re only making it worse.
If you are trying to give yourself a positive attitude adjustment, make sure you stop being part of the ‘Complain Club’. Let the rest of the club members know that they are no longer welcome to have negative work conversations with you.
If you find that you need to vent your frustrations somewhere, do so with someone entirely outside of your work circle. It will help you maintain a positive attitude when working remotely.
9. Smile and laugh more
Seems like silly advice, but if all else fails, force yourself to smile – you’re likely to start feeling more upbeat. Studies have shown that forcing a smile can genuinely increase your mood because your body associates those muscle movements with feelings of happiness.
Humour is another way to boost a positive attitude when working remotely, even when things are going horribly wrong. Find humour where you can and laugh with your co-workers. This is different than laughing at them. Never joke at someone else’s expense, no matter how much better it may make you feel.
10. Get a good night sleep
It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude when working remotely if you’re starting every morning like Grumpy Bear due to a lack of sleep. A solid night’s sleep does the body good, reduces stress, and improves work performance.
No one is too old to have a bedtime, so set one for yourself that works with your schedule. When that time comes around, turn off your tv, close social media apps, mute all your devices, and go to bed! Treat yourself to a luxurious 8hrs every night – you deserve it!
11. Create a routine
Routines often get a bad rap for being boring and mundane. The truth is, routines give our week structure instead of scrambling for time to get everything done.
A set morning routine can be especially useful as it helps you start every day calm and focused, while an end of the day routine allows you to be fully prepared for the next morning’s workload. Having routines in place can contribute to your overall organisation and positivity.
12. Remind yourself it’s just a job
This can be the hardest one, but your job is just one part of your life: it shouldn’t be your everything.
While it is important to care about your career, when the ‘day-to-day’ of it starts to get overwhelming, you need to have a reason to walk away. You need a life that is separate from work. If you don’t have that separation, it is even harder to pull yourself away at the end of the day.
Work-life balance may be a catchphrase, but it’s popular for a reason.