Productive Remote Work (When Your Mental Health Says “No”)

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Productive Remote Working

Remote work is not easy. It sounds like a dream (and it honestly is in a lot of ways), but there’s a darker side to remote work that one can’t understand until they’ve done it.

Here’s the deal. People that work remotely often suffer from suboptimal mental health, and so you’re probably wondering, why on earth do they do it? Well, the fact is, while remote working comes with some very unique challenges, so does not working remotely. The difference is that remote work can offer the flexibility you need to build a lifestyle that suits you.

people sitting at table with laptop

Indeed, remote work isn’t a silver bullet for burnout or wanderlust, but if you do happen to try it out and eventually wind up succumbing to loneliness, or a lack of motivation or productivity (as many remote workers do), at least you’ll have the opportunity to change things up and make things better.

In the eyes of many, it’s the lesser of two evils.

That being said, attempting to diagnose what your mind and body needs isn’t that easy. What might work one day might not work on another day, and what might work for one individual might not work for another individual. Humans are complex, and in the case of remote work, everyday productivity tricks often don’t cut it.

Let’s take a look.

“I feel lonely”

Loneliness is a big issue (maybe the biggest?) for freelance remote workers and digital nomads in foreign countries, but it can also affect those that work in distributed teams (especially when some team members aren’t remote, as one can feel like an outsider at work using this setup). Let’s look at the solutions.

Utilize co-working spaces

Co-working spaces aren’t for everyone. If you teach English, it’s obviously a no-no (not because of the noise, but because the noise would be distracting to other remote workers). If you’re only required to dive into the odd video call, though, many co-working spaces include a few hours of “booth time”.

Throw in super-fast Wi-Fi, free coffee, daily events, and a likeminded crowd, joining a co-working space is like joining a community, and some co-working spaces (such as Hubud) and Dojo Bali) are literally famous! Good vibes = a huge motivation boost.

happy co-workers sitting with laptops on comfy chairs

Work from bars and cafés

Cafés and bars work well too. The noise and seating options might be a tad unpredictable, and when going to a new place one has to find the Wi-Fi password, but all in all the experience is very much the same. It’s still fairly easy to meet other people, as it’s likely that you won’t be the only regular customer.

Pro-tip: download Wi-Fi Map app to get the Wi-Fi passwords of networks near you!

My favourite café — October Coffee Gaya, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)

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