So you’ve begun life as a remote worker, and you’re quite pleased with your all new telecommuter self. The heat’s off, right? You’ve got more freedom, nobody breathing down your neck, nobody expecting the unexpected of you. Its the good life, and you’ve earned the break. You can put your feet up, get some rest, deadline shmeadline….
Nope. Sorry, it doesn’t quite work like that. Just because you’re away from a bricks and mortar building, doesn’t mean deadlines no longer need to be met, or projects moved forward. Though this may be a new beginning and a new way of looking at your working life, the central point stays the same. There’s work to be done.
Its seems at first glance that a move to remote working would be easy, a simpler life, less demanding. In some ways that’s true, those who work remotely appreciate the better work/life balance, and the new freedoms brought by working outside of the traditional office environment. We all need guidance and discipline in our work and usually that comes from above. For the remote worker though, it has to come from within. There are a few tips to help with the transition, some simple but important tips to remember.
Plan, plan, and plan some more Now you’re away from the natural daily rhythms of the office, its important to create your own structure. Build a schedule for each day, and stick to it. Set achievable targets, and be realistic with them. Monitor your progress each day, looking back on what you did each day, and planning for the next day. Once you develop this rhythm, its easy enough to stick with.
Stay in touch Use all the tools you have at your disposal to communicate with your team and managers. The connection and collaboration becomes even more important when you’re not ‘there’. Keep the channels open so you never miss anything, and don’t allow yourself to fall behind with the information you need for the job. Keeping the communication regular is essential, so build it into your daily schedule.
Don’t be a legend Many remote workers actually find themselves working longer hours than they did when office based. AT&T report that their telecommuters on average work an extra five hours pre week longer than their centrally based colleagues. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but you have to remember to take a break now and then. We’re not machines, and time out is important. If you’re working longer hours remotely, maybe its easier to take an extra day off now and then. This is one of the joys of your new found flexibility, after all.
Find a space Where you work can determine how you work, so be comfortable. Find a space where you can concentrate and avoid any unnecessary distractions. For some people that maybe lazing with a laptop on the sofa with the TV blaring, others might prefer a quiet room away from the world. It doesn’t really matter as long as the job gets done. But if your working environment isn’t right, your work will suffer.
Look after yourself We only get one body. Look after it. We only get one mind, so look after that too. Keep well, eat well and be well. Exercise regularly, don’t put it off. Its good for the body and the mind to be able to down tools now and then. Even if you just go for a walk to clear the fog of the day’s work. Fresh air is underrated and its important to get some regular headspace. You’ll be in a better place. Not only in terms of work, but by being able to enjoy the change in lifestyle even more.
Stay social Remember, just because you may work from home, doesn’t mean you live at work. Remote working can be an isolating experience for some. Its important to be able to still see the people you saw outside of work before you started remote working. Just because you don’t work in the traditional office environment, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life outside of that work. Its seems really obvious, but its surprising how easy it is for a committed and conscientious remote worker to fall into that trap. Go out. See people. Do stuff.
Making the move to this new way of working can be challenging. That’s a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself. It can also be a lot of fun. Its all just a question of getting into some good, positive and healthy habits.