Remote work is about working from anywhere outside the workplace. Instead of going to the company's offices to work, you may choose to work from home, a co-working space, a coffee shop, or anywhere that provides access to the internet.
Where you choose to work depends on who you are and your work. It also depends on whether your employer permits remote work. For many professions, remote work is possible and has been a feature for years. For example, salespersons have been working remotely for years as their jobs require them to be on the road visiting prospects and clients.
However, remote working is catching on at a tremendous rate, and more companies than ever before now permit workers to work remotely for at least part of the time. According to the latest Gallup Poll, almost half of the American workers work remotely. It is predicted that this number will increase with time.
Working remotely for the first time is a big adjustment. Experienced remote workers know how important it is to have the right place to work – and the right mindset. Here are some tips to make working remotely work for you.
Be clear on the expectations: Knowing what is expected of you as a remote worker needs to be clarified during the interview phase. You must be clear about when you must work and the desired outcomes. Ask as many questions as you can think of so that both parties have the same understanding of the requirements. Continue to seek clarity with every new task or project.
Communicate effectively: Be proactive in your communication and avoid falling into the trap that others know what you are thinking. Remember that the usual cues, such as body language and facial expressions, are often absent in a remote work situation. Your communication needs to be more explicit when working remotely. Check your messages for clarity and conciseness to make sure colleagues understand what you mean.
Organise your workspace: Wherever you choose to work, ensure that the environment favours good concentration and comfortable working. The temperature needs to be comfortable and the lighting adequate. Avoid noisy places, impacting your ability to focus on your work and communicate with online participants.
Plan your workday: Remote work often comes with a higher degree of flexibility, and if you do not manage your work hours, you could find yourself working unnecessarily long hours. So it's essential to set a timetable and stick to it as much as possible. Decide your regular work hours and inform your boss and colleagues of your schedule. Be sure to take frequent breaks to revitalise and refocus.
Get dressed for work: Wear something that makes you feel motivated, professional, and confident. Getting dressed for work will also help you mark the distinction between work and home life, helping you switch off when the working day is over.
Reach out for support: Working remotely can be very lonely at times. When you need help, it is more important to get assistance rather than agonising over what needs to be done. Contact colleagues for support and check in regularly with your managers. It is helpful to schedule quick meet-ups with local team members and attend any offsite retreats your company offers.
Use the right technology: Many good tools are available that support remote workers. Seek out other time management tools, as necessary, to keep you on track and ensure that you meet your deadlines. Ensure you have a reliable internet connection and that power outages do not negatively impact your online availability.
Honour the boundaries: Know when your co-workers prefer to work and when they prefer to have meetings. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, draw a solid line between personal and work times. Just as you would like not to be disturbed during planned downtime, your colleagues would not want to be disturbed at inappropriate times.
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