Remote work is fast becoming the new normal with 68% of Millennials saying that this setup would increase their interest in employers.

In fact, the 2019 Remote Workers Index found the Netherlands to be the best country in Europe for remote working. A whopping 13.7% of employees in the Netherlands are already in remote work. With increased productivity, lowered costs, and the elimination of the dreaded commute, more employees and companies are utilising a flexible workforce.

The backfire

However, a new report from the International Labour Organisation underscores that remote workers are more stressed than their office-based counterparts. Around 40% of flexible employees say they are under stress compared to only 25% of those in non-flexible schedules. While home and remote based workers tend to have a better work-life balance, they are vulnerable to isolation and disengagement.

As remote work involves less oversight, remote workers have to form healthy habits to overcome these potential drawbacks and be successful in maximising their flexible schedules. Here are five of them:

Spaces matter

Create a defined workspace in your home. If this means setting up a table you label a ‘work area’ that’s good, as long as it creates routine and necessary psychological boundaries. You should also improve your surroundings.

Make your work place an area where you can actually enjoy working. Companies and HR teams employ numerous techniques in offices to make it conducive for work; and you should take advantage of this principle, too. A productive workspace is key in ensuring that you stay motivated.

Improve communication

Staring at a computer screen all day can make anyone feel isolated and disconnected. Setting clear expectations and outputs are vital to maintaining a healthy work relationship for remote workers. It is also up to you to be proactive. Stay in the loop and make sure you are up to speed on how the company is doing. Your calendar should always be up to date and available to your co-workers. This lets them know what you’re doing and when to reach you. Even simple things like saying hello over a communication platform can go a long way in reducing that feeling of isolation.

Constantly upgrade skills

Being a remote worker also means always moving forward. Invest some of your saved time in learning new skills and upgrading expertise.

A CNBC report highlights that SEO is one of the fastest growing jobs for remote workers worldwide. Learning skills in this area can make you standout in the increasingly competitive workforce today where companies are competing with each other for the top talents. Ayima Kickstart explains that digital marketing is one of the biggest hurdles for new startups and small businesses due to the limited resources at their disposal compared to larger brands. With digital marketing being in such demand smaller companies are desperate for talented individuals that can help promote the company. Upgrading your skillset constantly will ensure you are qualified to work for the best companies and more likely to get the job that you want.

Strike a balance

One of the major problems of remote working is that telecommuters have a hard time turning off work. Setting time boundaries and owning your schedule are great habits if you are to succeed.

Switch off your work notifications whenever you’re on break or done with the day. This way you create a healthier relationship with your job.

Be mindful

Ultimately, your productivity is only as good as your health. Working remotely can foster bad habits that lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Not only is it detrimental to your work output, it’s also dangerous to your well-being.

Stay active. Maximise the advantage of remote work. Take a stroll when you take small calls or set aside time for the gym and enjoy it at non-peak hours. In addition, you should also mind what you eat. Working at home means now you have time to prepare homemade meals.

Forming good habits takes commitment. But only good habits can minimise the drawbacks and fully unleash the potential of remote working.