Fact: Working remotely is on the rise. With today’s technologies, there are many types of work that can be executed successfully outside of a specific place. There are many benefits to remote work for both employees and employers, including increased productivity and flexibility, as well as the ability to hire top talent regardless of geographic location. As I have been working remotely since 2014, here are some of the common questions people ask me.
Question 1: Isn’t it hard to get work done at home?
Here are some productivity tips for working from home effectively.
- For me, the most important factor for my remote work productivity is to have a dedicated work space. Having a space where you sit to do your work and can leave when you are done working helps set clear boundaries for work/life balance.
- Setting up your home office for productivity is crucial. Having an external display in addition to my laptop has had a profound impact on my efficiency. I also have a sitting/standing desk, a keyboard and mouse, a bluetooth headset, a phone charger, and a notebook and pen in my workspace. Figure out what you need in order to be set up for success, and organize your workspace accordingly.
- Do not look at your work emails until you are ready to start working for the day. Establish a morning routine as you would if you were going into an office. Once you start looking at emails, you are essentially at work. Similarly, try not to continue checking emails once you sign off for the day. This will help you maintain some boundaries between your work time and personal time.
- Map out priorities for your day. What are the top 3 things you want to accomplish for the day, and the associated tasks? Having a clear sense of what you need to complete during the day can help you stay on track.
- Take a short break every 90 minutes or so. Make a cup of tea or a snack, go check your mail, stretch, and look at something far away to reduce the strain on your eyes from looking at a computer screen.
Question 2: Don’t you get lonely being by yourself all day?
I personally don’t get very lonely working remotely because I spend a lot of my day on calls with my coworkers. Having my video camera turned on helps me feel more social and present during calls. If I have a question for someone or want to run an idea by them, I try to default to setting up a Zoom video call rather than emailing them if I have the time. You don’t have to miss out on building relationships with your team just because you aren’t physically in the same place.
By working from home, I save a lot of time by not commuting. I also have more energy to do the things I love doing once my work is done! I enjoyed the days when I used to go in to an office and see my coworkers in person, but now I really value the flexibility to work from anywhere
Question 3: Do you ever work from coffee shops?
Working remotely from coffee shops (or a co-working space) can be fun if you like being around people and don’t get too distracted by background noise. I used to work from coffee shops a lot, but now I only do it if I have at least a few hours where I don’t have calls.
Here are a few things to consider about working from a coffee shop:
- Make sure to completely charge your laptop and phone before heading out to work. Find a coffee shop that has outlets for when you need to recharge, and pick a table near an outlet.
- Bring headphones if you like to listen to music while you work, or if you need to listen to anything on your computer as part of your job.
- If you work online, make sure that the coffee shop has wifi that you may use. It’s also a good idea to have hotspot capabilities enabled on your mobile device in case the internet cuts out.
- Check whether the coffee shop has a restroom. This may sound odd, but I have found myself in situations where i have had to leave the coffee shop I was working at to find a restroom.
- If you drive, try and choose locations where parking isn’t restricted. It can be really disruptive to your work to have to move your car or put more money in the meter.
- Consider your meeting schedule to ensure that you are somewhere where you can effectively take calls. Some coffee shops may be too loud (where it is difficult to hear your call) or too quiet (where being on a call would be distracting to other patrons). I personally like to take my calls from home.
I hope these tips for working remotely are helpful for you, however long you’ve been working remotely and wherever you may be working!