One of the perks of being in the digital marketing industry is the ability to work remotely, whether that is at home, a coffee shop, or a different location from your company’s physical office.
I’ve been working remotely for almost three years and love it.
I find that I am better able to concentrate and get more work completed than if I were in the company office (which I did for the first seven years of my career). In today’s post, I’m going to share how I’ve found success working remotely and why it’s important for you to consider these tips as your career progresses.
I’ll begin by acknowledging that I’m not the first person to write about effective strategies for working remotely. If you do a search for “how to be an effective remote worker,” you’ll see hundreds of listings with blogs, checklists, and guides like this one.
I understand that the topic isn’t unique. I also know that remote work isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer daily interaction with others and a more structured schedule. I hope that through my perspective, you’ll garner ideas that will not only help you when working remotely but also when you are in the office.
Let’s start at the beginning of your day.
Always Get Ready
When going into the office, you have a morning routine. At the very least, you probably:
- Get dressed
- Brush your teeth
- Eat breakfast
A common misconception about working remotely is that you can get up and work in your pajamas. You can then get ready over the course of the morning (or not at all). I highly recommend against this approach.
Getting ready gives you a sense of refreshment and eagerness to start your day.
A good night sleep is necessary, but you may still be groggy if you go right to work. The act of getting ready gives you the chance to wake up and feel fresh. It’s a feeling that allows you to get a good start and sticks with you throughout the morning.
I also suggest getting dressed in casual business attire. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it helps to reinforce that you are in a work setting rather than the weekend where you may wear a hoodie or sweatpants.
Have A Dedicated Workspace
While working remotely, there is a temptation to settle yourself on a chair, couch, breakfast bar, etc.
You must resist this temptation and create your own workspace where you are you likely to have fewer interruptions. It’s easy to do household chores or get caught up in something non-work related. Your general rule of thumb should be that if you wouldn’t do it at the company office, you shouldn’t do it when working remotely.
If you are working from home, have a room, or at the very least, a table at which you can occupy. A spare bedroom or a nook in your home with a desk is ideal. This “office” gives you separation from distractions. Especially if there are other people in your home, being in this space signals that you are busy during working hours.
You can also work out of a separate building entirely.
Many towns now offer coworking spaces where you can rent your own area in a building. You share the space with others, but the distractions from home are gone and you know that the other people are there to work as well.
Perhaps the money you save from commuting expenses could be used to rent a space.
You can also work from a coffee shop, however, with this option ensure that Wi-Fi is reliable and that it won’t get too loud. You’ll also need to account for your phone activity. If you are constantly speaking with clients, a coffee shop probably isn’t the best place to work.
Keep In Touch With The Office
Though you are working remotely, you shouldn’t consider yourself detached from the physical office.
Instant messenger programs like Glip and HipChat allow you to ping team members (and vice versa) whenever you need. Whether it is a simple question or a longer inquiry, you can reach out to someone as if you were in the office.
Project management tools like Basecamp and Slack give you a central location for communication. Though you aren’t physically in the office, you are just as present digitally as anyone else.
My final suggestion for keeping in touch is through Google Hangouts.
It’s an underrated feature that allows for video communication. And it’s free! You can easily set up hangouts with one or multiple team members. Along with face-to-face communication, you can share your screen. If you need to present to many team members, this feature is great. Google Hangouts is not as dynamic a platform as other paid providers, but it more than does the job for our purposes.
Get Up And Move!
My final piece of advice is to walk around every so often.
It may sound contradictory based on my feelings about distractions, but assuming you find your ideal remote work environment, make sure to get up.
While in the office, you may get up to get coffee, go to the bathroom, or walk to the supply closet. Though the reasons may not all be the same, walk around every once in a while to stretch your legs and take a quick break.
Working remotely requires self-control and the ability to regulate oneself in a non-office location. Even if you are only working remotely sparingly, these tips will hopefully give you something to consider. Remember that this perk is just that.
Make sure that you are setting yourself up for success.