Whenever I tell someone that I work from home, the response is always one of two things: “Wow, that’s so awesome – I would love to work from home” or “That’s cool, but I don’t think I could do it”. Those who think it’s the ideal work situation are thinking of setting their own hours, reporting to no one and maybe working from a beach. The ones who don’t think they could do it are self-aware enough of their ability to self-motivate to know they need a traditional work environment to keep them on track.
There are solid arguments why working from home is great and why it’s not for everyone. Either way, here are some tips I’ve picked up from working remotely.
Tip #1: Work when others are working.
This obviously depends on your role and your company, but working for a traditional company in an untraditional work environment doesn’t necessarily free you from the 9-5 life. Just because you’re working from your living room doesn’t mean everyone else is. Often times, clients and colleagues are working a standard workday, which means you do too. For the sake of efficiency, being on the same schedule as the rest of the world is key.
Tip #2: Create a routine to increase productivity.
One thing that companies cannot agree on is whether virtual employees can be as effective as on-premise employees. Many companies refuse work from home privileges to their employees because they don’t believe they’ll be productive outside of the office. This is, of course, extremely dependent on the type of work required and the individual employee. But, as someone who has been working from home full-time for almost two years, I can vouch that it’s very easy to be just as, and oftentimes more, productive working from home. The key is to set up a routine that teaches your mind and body to react to your at-home environment the same way you would in an office. Having a designated room or area dedicated to working will help you get into and stay in a focused mindset throughout the day. Also, being sure to take structured breaks as you would in an office will help you stay productive without getting sidetracked by personal tasks.
Tip #3: Build relationships with virtual coworkers.
My coworkers are all great. And while we may only physically see each other once a quarter, we have strong bonds and have developed real-life relationships despite the nature of a virtual team. Working remotely 100% of the time can be very isolating and make for long days and weeks with very limited 1:1 social interaction, which is why it’s only suited to certain personalities. Therefore, fostering a true company culture and strong connections with your virtual team are key to succeeding. There are also other options available such as co-working spaces or coffee shops if you want to recreate an office environment.
What’s your experience working remotely? Let us know in the comments!
–Kaila Joynes, Consultant