With the availability of laptops, tablets and smartphones, getting work done outside of the office is now easier than ever. You can work on the go, at home, in a coffee shop, or virtually anywhere you get a Wi-Fi connection. This ability to work remotely offers great advantages for both businesses and employees.
It provides a great opportunity for cost-savings – there’s no need for an office, a workstation or even electricity – and it’s extremely convenient for the worker, giving them a chance to avoid the morning commute, make their own schedule and wear PJ pants while being productive. It can also go a long way in improving worker satisfaction.
But despite all its benefits, working remotely isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. It can pose some real challenges, and unless it’s done right, it can end up hurting more than helping in the long run.
Are you or a colleague considering working remotely? These tips can help you ensure success:
Stay connected. Since you’re not in the office, you need to be accessible to your boss, your coworkers and your clients when they need you. Keep your email open at all times, sign up for Skype or some other chat service, and be available to talk, collaborate or answer questions during business hours.
Get organized. You’re on your own when working remotely. To ensure you stay on task, you meet your deadlines and you’re delivering assignments on time, you need to be as organized as possible. Create a detailed calendar to track your projects, sign up for a to-do list app (I love Todoist!), and know where all your tools, paperwork and documents are at all times. This will help you stay efficient, productive and on top of your workload.
Keep your deadlines. Deadlines are always important, but with remote work, they’re even more crucial. In most cases, there are other people waiting on the work you turn in. They can’t do their job until you do yours, and if you get off schedule, it throws then entire system into disarray. While it’s possible to recover once or twice after a missed deadline, making it a habit is never a good idea. Chances are, your boss will revoke your permission to work remotely, and you’ll find yourself back in the morning commute in no time.
Find a quiet place. Sure, you’re probably more comfortable working at home. You can wear your pajamas, you can sit on the couch, and you can work whenever and however you see fit. But your home is also full of distractions. There’s the TV, your pets, your kids, that book you’ve been meaning to read, and so much more. If you’re not careful, you could end up being pretty unproductive. To make sure you can concentrate and get down to business, find yourself a quiet, peaceful “work zone.” Clear away the distractions, have all your tools in front of you, and know that when you go there, it’s time to put your head down and work.
Manage your time. Working remotely can afford you tons of freedom when it comes to your work schedule. You can start a little later in the morning, you can take a little longer lunch, or you can save some work for the weekends if need be. Unfortunately, if you’re too lax with your schedule or you don’t manage your time well, you could end up paying for it in the end. With work demands and deadlines, you could find yourself working til the wee hours in the morning or pulling 10-12 hour days just to get it all done.
In the end, working remotely can be extremely rewarding, both for employers and workers. If you or a colleague is considering working remotely, then follow these tips, and ensure the process goes smoothly for all involved!