Working remotely is more important than ever in today's world. More and more people today have gone forth into the world with nothing but a messenger bag full of technology to tie them down. You’ve watched them as they sip coffee and tap away at their keyboards. You’ve seen them on social media. “Best office ever!” they gush as your boss walks by and you quickly close Facebook.
Right now, working from home has become an emergency measure rather than a lifestyle choice. But it's here to stay. Increasing numbers of companies are reaping the benefits of remote working: improved employee morale, better retention and the ability to attract better candidates.
What does it take to successfully make the switch to the remote lifestyle?
Here are five tips for successfully losing that commute and phoning it in successfully:
#1 Let’s start with the obvious
If you can’t connect, you can’t work.
You can’t receive assignments. You can’t collaborate with teammates. You just... can’t.
Connectivity is such a basic need when you’re working remotely that you should never have to think about it for more than a moment. Home WiFi not working? You should have a personal hotspot ready to go. Personal hotspot glitchy? Make a deal with a neighbor to share their WiFi in emergencies. What are the five closest places you could visit that have public WiFi? You should know.
Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, it’s basic. But taking those added steps to ensure uninterrupted connectivity will translate to much healthier blood pressure levels the next time you’re pushing the limits of a crucial deadline.
Since you no longer have an office to go to, it’s tempting to just crack open the old laptop wherever you are and get to work. And it’s true that this is one of the perks of remote work. In the long term, though, it’s important to designate a space at home that is specifically your WORK space.
It should be a place that’s comfortable, but not so much that you’re more inclined to take a nap than to finish answering those emails. It should be a place with plenty of room to spread things out and to leave them that way. Working from bed may sound like a great idea, but that means getting everything out and then putting it all away again when you’re done. Because eventually you’re going to want to use that bed for, you know, sleep.
And speaking of sleep, it’s important to note that combining your working and sleeping areas in general is just a bad idea. I won’t list all of the reasons here. But suffice it to say that if our brain identifies ‘bedroom’ as a place where work is done, it’s going to be much harder to convince it to fully relax when it comes time to put that work away and rest.
#3 Punch the clock
OK, not literally. But one of the greatest potential pitfalls of working remotely is the fact that, in effect, you’re always at the office. It becomes way too easy to work just a little bit longer. You start feeling guilty about relaxing with a book on the couch, because your laptop is right there on the table and you could be doing something productive. Next thing you know, it’s bedtime, and your brain is a clenched fist of stress and exhaustion.
Don’t do it.
Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
The fact that you don’t go to an office doesn’t mean that the office becomes your home.
When it’s time to stop working, put the work away, and don’t pick it up again until it’s time to clock back in.
You get in your zone. I get it. Part of the magic of working remotely is that you’re not constantly inundated with distractions from fellow workers. It’s important, though, to remind yourself that, despite being blissfully alone on your personal island of productivity, you still work for and with other people.
Schedule specific times devoted to initiating and responding to communication from clients, co-workers, managers, etc and stick to that schedule.
If you don’t maintain open communication channels, you might find yourself losing work to those who seem more available.
#5 Don’t short-change yourself
You’ve got work to do, and there are things you need in order to do it right. The proper supplies and equipment can make a world of difference in the quality and efficiency of your work. If you’re not in the position to have it provided by an employer, shell out the money to get it for yourself.
The better your tools, the better your product. The better your product, the more work you’ll get. Don’t budget yourself into mediocrity. Spend the money now. It'll pay off in the long run.
Are you making it work?
Once you have those five nailed, then remote working becomes just... working. And you wonder why you never did it sooner. Got any working-from-home advice? Share your tips on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. And good luck Builders!