In the last couple of years, remote working has become the norm for many businesses, and there’s no sign of that stopping any time soon. Not only does it cut down the costs for your employer, but it also means that you’ll spend less time commuting. Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many people actually work more productively at home.
However, if you plan on making the transition to working remotely, you shouldn’t take the decision lightly. There are things you should know in advance to get the most out of working from home. Read on for our comprehensive guide on remote working – we’ll give you tips to stay productive, and also let you know how your employer operates when you work from home.
1) Boundaries and Structure Are Vital
Working in an office, you’ll often have a manager or someone in a similar position who frequently checks in on you and ensures you get work done on time. As you can imagine, remote working requires you to be a lot more independent and self-motivated. You can set yourself up for success by finding specific methods for staying motivated in advance.
Remove unnecessary distractions like your phone, and make it clear to anyone you live with that you are working – some can struggle to understand that working from home is still a full-time commitment. If necessary, you can also implement a strict structure to your work, such as the Pomodoro technique. Using this method involves working for twenty-five-minute blocks, with a five-minute break in between, which can help you stay motivated, productive, and clear-headed.
2) Your Employer Might Monitor Your Activity
A recent survey showed that a shocking 78% of employers use software to monitor their employees that work remotely. You might not be surprised at this, especially if you’ve been told upfront that your workplace does so. However, something you might not be aware of is that it’s not just work-related activities that your employer is checking up on.
You may have a company laptop, or you have to connect to your workplace’s virtual private network. If either of these is the case, your employer can see every single website or app you visit during working hours, and they may even have access to private messages between colleagues.
It’s safest to behave as if your every move while working is being monitored, even if that’s not necessarily the case. Don’t disclose sensitive information on private messages, and avoid using personal social media on your work computer.
3) It Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Work Anywhere’
If you’ve recently been applying to jobs that offer remote working, you may have seen disclaimers on the listing such as ‘must be able to commute to [area]’. Most companies are based in cities, and a lot of them will prefer you to live in the general area.
This may be because you’ll be required to attend occasional meetings at their headquarters/office, or they could be offering a hybrid position where you’ll only work remotely for a portion of the week. It may simply be that it’s often easier for employers to deal with workers in the same time zone, etc.
Don’t skip over these requirements when you’re applying for a remote job, because they’re usually non-negotiable. Some jobs will simply require you to live in the same country, but you need to keep in mind that ‘working from home’ may still mean you’ll have to commute occasionally or have to move cities completely.
Some cities in the US have more remote working options than others, so it’s good to keep this in mind when you’re applying.
4) You Need a Dedicated Work-Space
While working from home has many benefits, it’s easy to get distracted, and your productivity will suffer as a result. Maybe you have pets or children that make a lot of noise, or you’ve just struggled to separate work life from home life in the past. Either way, a dedicated work-space is essential for any remote worker.
Working on the couch or in bed is a recipe for disaster; instead, you should get a desk and comfortable office chair. Where you place your “office” space is up to you, but consider where in your house will offer the least distractions and allow you to be productive and focused.
Ideally, this will be a spot that has ample access to power outlets and a good WiFi connection. If it helps, you can decorate your desk so that spending so much time at it is a little more pleasant.
Overall, beginning to work remotely opens up a world of opportunities by saving you time and money, while also potentially boosting your productivity. With the knowledge above in mind, you can transition to working from home easily, and make sure the best interests of both you and your employer are kept at the forefront of everything you do.