The 5 Key Habits of Successful Remote Workers
For employees and employers alike, there are numerous benefits to remote working: more flexibility, increased productivity, reduced commute time, location independence, to name just a few. But while remote work can offer distinct advantages, it can also present communication, time management, and equipment challenges that you might not encounter in a traditional workplace.
To combat these potential obstacles, here are five habits you can adopt to be a successful remote worker.
Create an Optimal Work Environment
When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, your company ensures that you have the necessary equipment to do your job. These things include a dedicated workspace, reliable internet connectivity, ergonomic office furniture, and a computer that is up-to-date. However, when you transition to remote work, you must iron out these details yourself.
Whether you decide to work from home or from a coworking space, you’ll have to be sure that you have steady internet access. If your work requires you to upload data-rich content, download large files, or participate in video conferences, having high-speed internet is essential. Some employers might even insist that your connection be wired, as opposed to wireless.
You’ll also want to establish a designated workspace that is comfortable, quiet, and free of distractions. If you’re sharing your home space with family members or roommates, you’ll need to work out certain boundaries before you begin remote work.
Finally, you’ll want to ensure you have the proper equipment. This includes not only the right computer and software, but perhaps also a headset, microphone, and a dedicated landline. Also, since sitting at a desk all day is far from optimal, you might consider buying a laptop stand and a standing desk, which could make your workspace more ergonomic.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Traditional jobs usually require you to report to work at a designated time. However, with remote arrangements, you might have more flexibility to decide what days and hours you’ll work.
With this flexibility you might become more susceptible to developing poor time-management habits. To ensure you’re allocating your time wisely, develop and follow a schedule. Using a time-management tool such as Clockify can help you identify how you’re spending your time each day.
Communicate and Collaborate Effectively
When you work remotely, you’re not in the same building as your boss, co-workers, or clients. In some cases you might even be in a different time zone and never have had the chance to meet one another in person.
This inability to meet face-to-face can make communication and collaboration more challenging. Fortunately, numerous collaboration tools exist—and some even offer free basic services.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Drive make file creation and sharing easy. Trello can help with project management. Slack helps distributed teams communicate in real time. Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet offer video conferencing.
Maintain a Clear Home/Work Divide
Remote work can offer a great amount of flexibility. However, a common complaint is that the line between work and home is not as distinct as when you work in a traditional office.
To ensure a clear division between work and home, some remote employees opt to work from a coworking space (though note that these facilities do charge fees). For a change of scenery, remote workers might even go to a library or a neighborhood café.
Whichever environment you choose to work from, take care of yourself. Take breaks—even if it means just going for a walk around your neighborhood. Incorporate exercise and wellness activities into your day. And finally, know when it’s time to disconnect.
Embrace Social Connections
Some remote workers spend time at home alone and so have limited face-to-face contact with others. Without in-person interactions, some remote employees report feeling lonely.
To combat feelings of isolation, remember to stay connected with the real world in a way that feels meaningful to you. This might mean going to a fitness class or an interest group that meets regularly in your community.
While it’s important to maintain real-life social connections, harnessing the power of online groups can also be invigorating. Search on Facebook for groups that cater to your professional or personal interests. These groups can be a great place to network, share frustrations, and gain inspiration from others.
Written by Tricia A. Mitchell