So you’ve convinced your boss to let you work remotely, or you’ve landed a new remote job - now what? How can you stay productive, creative, inspired and live up to all of the expectations that you’ve set for yourself within this new lifestyle?
As a fully-distributed company ourselves, leading programs that allow people who work remotely to do so in cities around the world, we have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves for remote work beginners.
The key to being successful in any professional role is communication, but when it comes to remote work it is an even more important asset. Since you’re no longer a few desks down from your coworkers or your manager, it’s your job to schedule 1:1 check-in meetings with them on a weekly basis to connect on your goals, upcoming projects and daily tasks.
Make sure to advocate for yourself and clearly state the progress you’ve made in the past week, which goals you’ve surpassed and which projects you’ve led. When you’re not in the office, it can be difficult for your manager to keep your work top-of-mind, so don’t be afraid to bring important milestones up on your own.
2. Invest in reliable tech
Any remote worker will tell you that access to consistent WiFi is integral to their success, but there's more to a successful setup than an internet connection. Along with having the ability to take video calls without losing connection, you should consider what tools and tech you'll need to do your job well. For example, many remote workers invest in a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones so that they can take their work anywhere - regardless of background noise levels. Others find that wireless keyboards and mouses, or even a second screen, are integral to their efficiency.
3. Lean on your community
One of the major myths surrounding remote work is that people who don’t work in a corporate office are lonely. To make sure that you’re feeling supported and connected to the “real world”, we recommend becoming a part of a remote community - either virtually or in-person at a local coworking space or collective. We’ve found that being surrounded by others who are successfully working remotely inspires beginners to stay the course and remain productive while embracing location flexibility.
4. Consider your workspace
Set yourself up for success in a place where you can focus on the tasks at hand. Whether this means you find a great coworking space near you, stake out a local coffee shop or create a designated spot for work at home, make sure that you feel motivated by your environment and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
5. Figure out your working style
At the start of your remote work journey, it’s a great idea to figure out the environment that you need to work successfully. For example, do you like being surrounded by white noise? A café may be the best choice for you. Work well in silence? It might be time to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. Other things to consider are whether you’re more productive in the morning or in the evening and whether you’re motivated by taking small breaks throughout the day or a longer midday respite. This is the beauty of remote work - getting to work during your best hours, whatever they may be.
6. Take time for self-care
When the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time (see next point). While that can sometimes be necessary when closing a major deal or finalizing an important presentation, give yourself time for, well, you. Commit to your fitness routine and make sure that you’re creating blocks in your schedule to eat healthy, nutritious meals so that you can be focused and productive when you need to be.
The benefits of remote work can stretch into your life outside of work as well. With increased flexibility, you can take time to make sure you’re not missing life’s important moments. As a remote worker, you can take care of your kids without worrying about leaving the office during standard business hours, you can decide to work from any location around the world and you can even book that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off because it didn’t work with your schedule.
7. Know when to “log off”
This can be one of the most challenging aspects for remote work beginners, as the world is becoming increasingly connected. Though you may receive emails and chat notifications at any hour (especially if you’re working in a different time zone than your coworkers), it’s important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night. The best part of working remotely is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the standard that you are available 24/7.
8. Embrace the perks of working remotely
Working remotely doesn’t just apply to those who would work from home or in the same region as their company’s office. If it’s possible with your current position, take your talent on the road! On Remote Year, employees, freelancers and entrepreneurs work from places like Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Cape Town, Lisbon and Mexico City - all while enjoying the support of an incredible community.
Now that you’re working remotely, life will look a little bit different (and a little more awesome). However, if you rely on the eight tips that we’ve listed above, the transition from to the freedom of a flexible work style will be smooth and successful.