It is no surprise that over the last decade more and more of us are choosing to work remotely.
The tradition of heading into the office every day is coming under increasing attack. Being beaten down by remote video calls, increasing use of cloud services and a wealth of productivity apps. You may remember Marissa Mayer – CEO of Yahoo!, famously ordering an end to remote working at Yahoo! by forcing all employees to work onsite. But who today wants to constantly travel to work in the same old building?
“You know what I really want to do today? Commute to the office” Said no one. Ever.
Ok, we joke but this is backed by recent surveys that report the number of people now working remotely has increased by over 100%, which is not so surprising when we consider the huge improvement in technology over the last decade. Not only that, but a 2015 Gallup poll shows that people working remotely are likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to huge benefits for businesses.
But, we must be fair in saying that remote working is sometimes not ideal and is not for everyone. Some people can feel disconnected from their team members, miss out on deeper relationships with co-workers, don’t get to experience office culture and can easily miss important announcements.
So whether you’ve just read ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss, or want to use your time more productively so you can spend a little more time on other priorities, here is how we think you can work remotely and look good doing it:
1. Get Your Own ‘No Fly’ Zone
You don’t want to end up feeling that your home is just where you work. You still want to be able to switch off and relax there. It will help to have a room, a workstation or at the very least a desk in a quiet area in your home. Here is where you keep your laptop, phone & work documents etc. It is also good to ensure that no one but you uses your equipment. This way you know it’ll always be near when you need it.
2.Set A Routine
Setting yourself a regular routine is very beneficial when you’re remote working for the first time. Not only will it ensure you set time to focus on the tasks you used to do regularly in the office, but it will also stop you from just working constantly. You still want to ‘go home’ at some point, right?
3. Always Be Communicating
The other ABC. While many of us who work remotely often make our own schedules—using extra hours for lunch (and making it up later), or taking a break to pick up kids from school—it’s important to let your team know when you’ll be uncontactable for any extended period of time. That way, they’ll know when you’ll be back in case they have anything pressing. Teams work better when members know what to expect of each other.
4. Hit Your Deadlines. Always
This should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t slacking off. You need to be able to show and prove to your team and boss that working remotely is making you more productive. If you’re not meeting your deadlines you’re going to have a hard time convincing them that you working away is a good thing. Don’t be the one that causes your boss or co-workers to lose faith in the system.
5. Get Tech Savvy
While email certainly has its place, other technology—such as instant messaging, video calls such as Skype, or tools like Slack & Yammer help you connect with team members and know what’s going on. You don’t have the ability to stop by a co-worker’s desk, or see team members at lunch, so you should take any opportunity you can to create conversations and collaboration when appropriate.
6. Regularly Visit or Work in the Office
Yes this might sound like the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve, but scheduled time spent in the office is crucial to team cohesion. It can also be helpful to get you in the right mind-set, if this is your first time working remotely. You and your manager will need to discuss how often is “enough,” but you’d be amazed how much it helps to show your face every once in a while.
So go for it! Working remotely should give you the opportunity to be more productive, so that both you and your employer benefit. It can also be a blessing that enables you to start choosing your own channels to start thriving in work.