8 Tips for Successful Remote Working

By Moira McCormick on September 28, 2015

Introduction

In an earlier article we looked at 7 things your boss really wants from you. But how can you impress and stay ahead of the game when you're working remotely?

Working from home has become a major trend amongst businesses that value the flexibility it offers. Startups have long understood the value of turning employees free to be productive in their own environments, and some traditional companies have also jumped on this bandwagon.

 

Remote Working

 

But getting things done from a home office isn’t always easy. The remote worker will be faced with a difficult set of challenges, made worse by a long list of distractions that are probably more fun than knuckling down to work. The good news is that they can stay on top of their work with a little know-how. If you are new to home working, these tips might help you be more productive and content.

 

The Tips!

1. HAVE THE RIGHT OFFICE SET UP

  • A comfortable chair and workstation.

  • A quiet place to think with a door that shuts – essential if you live with other people or have a family. It also needs to be quiet to take conference calls.

  • A reliable Internet connection.

  • Skype.

  • Wired, comfortable headsets.

  • Remove distractions from view – e.g. TV.

 

2. TEAM COMMUNICATION

If you are part of a team …..........

  • Don't be invisible, make your presence felt to fellow employees.
  • Check in at the start of the day with “Good morning everyone” and sign off at the end of the day.

  • Remote workers need to tell their office/team that they are at their desk and when they're not working e.g. “at lunch” or “be back at ...”. Don't leave colleagues hanging on waiting for a response when you're buying your ham and cheese panini down the road!

  • Chat with others online and make sure you stay involved with your colleagues; this will alleviate feelings of isolation.

 

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3. INTRODUCE A SCHEDULE

  • Insert 15-minute walks into your morning and afternoon work schedules. And stick to them! The short breaks will get your blood flowing, increase oxygen to your brain and improve general energy levels.

  • Likewise, making time for exercise or meditation can drastically increase your sense of well-being, and improve your physical health.

  • Build short breaks into your day. This is an ideal system for people who work best in brief, intense spurts. If you put in a solid two or three hours, then reward yourself with half an hour to make some tea and toast. Just be sure that you stick to your time limits on working and on breaks.

 

4. SET (AND KEEP) TO YOUR HOURS

  • One of the reasons the traditional 9-to-5 job isn’t ideal is that most people aren’t naturally at their sharpest and most productive during that entire time frame.

  • Fortunately, when you work from home you can be more realistic about when you are most alert and produce your best work. Morning people should plan to be at their desks early in the day, night owls can work through the night if necessary!

  • Although many people use working remotely as a chance to break out of routines, habits can be an asset in maintaining your sanity at home. If you get into the practice of doing specific tasks at certain times it further helps to cut down on the power of distractions.

 

5. BE KIND TO YOURSELF

  • For those of you sitting at a computer all day, make sure you have an environment that’s kind to your back, hands, and wrists.

  • After you’ve worked hard/been especially creative, it’s important to applaud yourself for a job well-done.

  • Reward yourself with a treat – or two.

  • Share your achievements with colleagues if you can and encourage others to persevere – as you would in an external office environment.

 

6. AVOID DEPENDENCE ON APPS

  • For someone who works from home juggling their time and tasks, it can be tempting to flit from one new App to another. They all promise to make life easier, and many of them do. But there’s no one-size-fits-all list of Apps that will serve every person equally well.

  • By all means shop around, but once you find a system that suits you, stick to it. Apps and other new technology are tools and if they aren’t making your work better or easier, they aren’t worth using.

 

7. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

  • To avoid contracting cabin fever, it’s essential that you take some time to leave the house. When you are working in an office building, you have commuting time, a lunch/tea break and maybe some social time after work. Even when you are in the office, there might be a meeting in a conference room or a reason to go and chat with people elsewhere. All those tasks happen in different places and give you a change of scenery or a chance for a break.

  • It’s easy when you first start up a home office to never leave the house and the only change of scene you get are visits to the loo or kitchen!

  • Even if your job and your personality are suited to solitary behaviour, it’s important to create little changes in your environment. A walk round the block or a trip to the gym breaks up the day. Visit a local cafe for your morning coffee or run some errands during your lunch break. Without these little changes, your work and home life can start to blend into one.

 

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8. REMEMBER WHY YOU WORK

The final tip for staying on top of things as a remote worker is to remember why you’re working in the first place. If you’re in a job that’s simply necessary for paying the bills, then remember that you still need to pay those bills. Or, if you’re in a job that you’re passionate about, keep in mind the reasons why you love it. Think about what you want from your work, and the goals you’ve set for yourself, all essential to keep up your motivation levels.

 

Conclusion

Getting started with remote working can require quite an adjustment, both for you, your employer and clients. Nevertheless, it can be an excellent way for clients or employers to solve the “talent crunch” problem, and create a wider and more flexible range of opportunities for workers.

 

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