Use these do's and dont's to simplify remote work for the holidays and enjoy time as both a professional and as a family member.

Simplify Your Holidays With Remote Work: 11 Do’s and Don’ts

It’s time to plan your holiday schedule. While COVID-19 looms over everyone this year, you should still find fun and festive ways to celebrate the season. Luckily, you can simplify your holidays with remote work, giving you opportunities to attend events and participate in all the festivities.

As many opportunities as remote work affords, it also has a dark side that you can avoid with a little advance planning. Read on for the do’s and don’ts of using your remote work status to simplify the holidays.

The Do’s to Simplify Your Holidays With Remote Work

Staying productive is an important part of simplifying your holidays with remote work.

1. Do Be More Productive

With the extra distractions that the holidays bring, remaining productive is a struggle. However, working remotely even part of the time can boost your productivity. Numerous research studies consistently show increases in productivity among remote workers. These results hold true whether they are based on self-reporting or objective outcomes.

Why are remote workers more productive? Probably due to a combination of factors that include:

  • Fewer distractions
  • Customized schedules
  • Healthier habits
  • Less stressful environment

Tip: Most remote workers benefit from carving out a dedicated workspace, whether it’s the spare room or a converted closet. Having a place where you can contain your work-related materials and get stuff done is integral to streamlining your work from home job.

2. Do Improve Your Work-Life Balance

The holidays are a stressful time to an exponential degree. One study found that 66% of employees reported additional stress at work during the holidays. Over 70% of those stressed workers indicated that balancing extra demands at home was the major cause. Whether you need to plan extra shopping trips or an afternoon baking session with the kids, you can simplify your holidays with remote work. Use your flexible schedule to adjust and modify your calendar items as necessary.

Tip: Make up the time by scheduling a couple of early morning or evening work sessions. However, because remote workers tend to overcompensate, make sure to only make up the time you missed!

3. Do Make Healthy Choices

Take advantage of working from home over the holidays to limit your access to the treats and candy that so often find their way into the office. Instead, use your kitchen to make yourself healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.

Also, get out for fresh air and exercise during the day. You may not want to visit the gym right now, but studies show that walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy.

Tip: Cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify mealtime by searching the internet for five-ingredient recipes or check out one of the many cooking sites that feature five-ingredient holiday recipes too!

4. Do Establish a Morning Routine

Simplify your holidays with remote work by creating a new morning routine. Having a morning routine that wakes you up and prepares you for your day can be a big help when you need to accommodate additional activities during the holidays.

Without the rush to get into the office on time, you’re free to recreate your mornings. Incorporate activities that reduce stress, improve your health, and stoke your creativity.

Tip: Don’t complicate your morning routine. Start with these three proven habits to get your mornings on track:

  1. Implement a no-snooze rule on the alarm clock.
  2. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
  3. Get outside for five minutes of natural light and fresh air as soon as possible.

5. Do Take Fewer Trips in Holiday Traffic

Holiday crowds and traffic are a hassle. Thankfully, working remotely allows you to skip stressful morning and afternoon commutes. You can also avoid adverse weather conditions like snowstorms!

In addition to robbing us of almost 200 hours a year on average, traffic jams waste almost three billion gallons of gas and account for an extra 26 million tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere every year. Research also estimates that if 50 million Americans worked remotely half the time, almost 95,000 traffic related injuries and deaths would be prevented.

Tip: Use the flexibility in your schedule to reduce the number of trips you need to make around the busiest days. Also, plan the trips you have to make during the quieter hours of mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

6. Do Plan Your Holiday Travel During Off-Peak Times and Days

While most of us will be staying home during the first-ever COVID holiday season, remote work provides unparalleled flexibility with regard to your travel plans. This usually means that you can secure the best prices for flights while also avoiding the crush. This year, it also means you can catch less crowded flights to allow for more social distancing.

Tip: When searching for flights, make sure to check the prices a day or two on either side of your ideal flying days to secure the most cost-effective itinerary. Many airlines offer a monthly rate calendar so you can quickly find the best deals. And if you’re an avid traveler or you just want to escape the weather, make sure to check out Scott’s Cheap Flights, which compiles mistake fares and steep discounts.

Remote Work Holiday Don’ts

Don't avoid holiday gatherings just because you work from home as it may cause loneliness and isolation.

7. Don’t Use Working From Home as an Excuse to Avoid the Holidays

No one can dispute that 2020 has been a challenging year. Surveys suggest that two-thirds of Americans are worried that they or a loved one will contract COVID-19, and almost 45% indicate feelings of anxiety and depression.

Combined with seasonal depression and the isolation and loneliness experienced when working from home, this year’s holidays may make you want to curl up and hibernate. Don’t do it! Try to find alternative ways to celebrate with family and friends if you can’t get together. Make sure to stay in touch with your support system and get creative with virtual activities.

Tip: Studies show that helping others is a great way to feel better yourself. So, finding volunteer opportunities or other ways to give back this year is a guaranteed method to improve your mental health.

Click Below to Discover Virtual Volunteer Opportunities:

8. Don’t Run Too Many Extra Errands for Friends and Family

Anyone who has worked remotely knows the pressure to make yourself available for family and friends during the day. Whether it’s an hour-long Zoom visit or requests to run additional errands, these extra demands can impact both work and family time.

While you want to help out, these requests can increase during the holiday season causing further complications. Simplify your holidays with remote work by updating your family and friends about availability and if you need to cut back during the holidays to get everything done.

Tip: Avoid problems by proactively setting boundaries. Schedule specific times during your day or week to accommodate the requests of friends and family. The trick is sticking to your schedule!

9. Don’t Add More Events to the Calendar

Simplify your holiday plans by limiting the number of events on your calendar. The extra time and flexible hours you enjoy by working remotely should not immediately be rescheduled. Instead, use that time to relax and do the things you love to do.

Scheduling fewer activities means you have more time for what’s important to you and your family. Try to prioritize the events and appointments you schedule and identify anything that could be put off or rescheduled until the new year.

Tip: If there is a holiday event that you would rather avoid, it’s okay to say no. Minimize any hurt feelings by responding promptly and politely with your refusal and suggest an alternative time to get together.

10. Don’t Add More Shopping

Remote work may provide more time for both in-person and online holiday shopping, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy more stuff. Many people are experiencing unemployment or other financial hardships may be looking for ways to cut back. Simplify your holidays with remote work by being more intentional in your gift-giving.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it has been an appreciation of what’s important in life. Take time to contemplate what gifts will truly add value to the recipient’s life. Instead of a sweater, perhaps your husband would prefer a special date night. Or maybe the kids would love a family sledding trip more than a new video game (in the long run anyway).

Tip: You can save even more time and money if you use the price tracking and deal-finding websites and apps available. Find one that works for you and let it do all the hard shopping work while you take care of business.

11. Don’t Increase Your Workload

If you’re getting the hang of your work at home productivity and think that you can take on another project or two over the holidays—don’t do it! Prioritize your peace of mind this holiday season and use the extra time that your productivity affords to spend with people you love. It’s been a difficult year and as much as you may want to show your employer how dedicated you are, your family needs attention, too.

Simplifying your holidays this year means spending quality time with your friends and family, whether that’s virtually or in person.

Tip: Just like saying no to events you don’t want to attend is okay, saying no to requests to complete extra work over the holidays is fine as well. Just be timely, be polite, and always suggest an alternative time.

Above all, enjoy the holiday season! Using remote work to simplify your holidays will give you a greater sense of peace during these uncertain times. With more money, less stress, and having time for the things you love, you will feel happier, more content, and more positive heading into 2021.

Do you have any tips to simplify the holidays with remote work? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your comments. We’d love to hear from you.

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