In the 1980s, it was expected that we would have flying cars by 2010. Well, 2010 has come and gone, and we may not have flying cars, but we sure do have a plethora of cool technology at our hands. Smart phones, laptops, VR headsets, and voice calling — all these technological advancements have made our lives considerably easier. Plus, they’ve revolutionized business, how we work, and when and where we can work. Who would have thought a person halfway across the world could work for a company in England? Well, thanks to technology, it now happens all the time.
Yet, not everyone is ready or meant for remote work. It certainly comes with its own sorts of challenges, but once you’re past the adjustment period, it can be a rewarding upgrade to your working life. Here’s some advice on how to make the transition to remote work life as smooth as possible.
Creating an Online Presence
An important first step to starting remote work is to create or build up your online professional persona. This includes downloading any appropriate apps your company uses to stay in touch. People might not be able to see your face and interact with you directly, but seeing your picture can help alleviate some of the anonymity of online interactions.
This is also important for when you start reaching out to people outside of your business. Creating a strong first impression is still important in our modern age, and networking online is vital to building your professional relationships. Make sure you create a professional portfolio on social media, and avoid making inappropriate remarks on any of your public channels. The last thing you would want is to miss out on a business opportunity because you shared a funny (but profane) tweet. Keep your personal and professional accounts separate to avoid any potential mishaps.
Make Time to Meet in Person
Although you may be working online, that doesn’t mean you have to only interact with your colleagues on the internet. When you’re transitioning to remote work, be prepared to still have some face-to-face time with your coworkers, boss, or employer. This not only will help you cultivate a relationship, but can give you the opportunity to check in and make sure you’re all on the same page.
Now, if you’re an international remote worker, it might be a bit difficult to meet face-to-face with your team on a regular basis. Thankfully, Skype and other video call providers exist. Create regular video-calling chats with the team, or have weekly phone calls where you can check in on your projects. Communication between team members is vital to networking while online in the office. When you’re not meeting over Skype or the phone, make sure you’re available via email or online chat and let your team know when you aren’t available. Distance doesn’t have to be a deterrent to creating a strong working relationship.
Create a Schedule
Remote working can give you a whole new sense of freedom when you first start. Although not every job will allow you to choose your own hours, many jobs will. The allure of working as long as you want, whenever you want? Sign me up!
But working on your own time can be tricky. You either will let time get away from you and work far too long, or you might continually put work off until you’re in a better working “zone.” To avoid both overworking and underworking, be sure to set up a regular schedule for yourself. Take breaks, create a morning routine, and clock off when you’re supposed to stop working. This will not only help you avoid pesky burnout, but it will keep you more productive throughout the day as well. It’s not too hard once you get used to it, but it will make a lifetime of difference if you create and maintain a regular working schedule.
Create a Space
Equally important to your work schedule is your work space. Although it might be tempting on some days to work from your bed, it can cause you to have an extremely unproductive day. Despite the fact that you’re not in a physical office, you need to get yourself in the mindset that you are. That is why it is best to create a space just for you, away from distractions, where you can really dive in and get flowing on your work. Creating a space will not only make you more productive when you’re working remotely, but it can also help keep you more organized. If you’re flooded with paperwork and invoices, having a designated space can help you keep your personal and business responsibilities separate.
If your home life is a bit too hectic, make sure you set boundaries with your family or roommates. Set a quiet time, or create a room that is specifically for you and your work. If you don’t have those options, then explore outside of your home and find some available coworking spaces. They were made specifically for remote workers and interested parties who can rent out desk space per hour or per month. In many ways, co-working spaces are the modern office, full of diverse voices working on unique and interesting projects within the same physical space.
A Fluid Transition
Working remotely can be an interesting lifestyle change for certain people. Office life has been a huge part of our culture for so long, and with this new transition into remote working, many of us are still trying to get our bearings.
But the freedom and tranquility that comes with remote work is extremely rewarding. Not to mention the trust it shows between yourself and your employer. Be sure to not take advantage of your freedom, and buckle down on creating a schedule and a routine. Once you make the transition, you may never want to go back!
By Katie McBeth
Katie McBeth is a freelance writer out of Boise, ID. She enjoys reading teen novels, eating mac ‘n cheese, and attending indie concerts in small bars. Her love for reading is only trumped by her love for cats, of which she has three. She also has a dog, and he helps keep her grounded. You can follow her animal and writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth