Working remotely has become increasingly popular over recent years. More than 68 percent of Australian companies now allow employees to work remotely as of 2019.
Remote working is a paradigm shift from working in an office. Employers are increasingly coming to recognise the fact that some people, if not most, would prefer to have the freedom of working remotely than having to commute every day.
It's not all good news, though. While on the surface of it, remote working appears to offer a host of advantages, many people encounter problems.
The main issue is the feeling of being disconnected. Unless you're used to being by yourself for long periods, it can be a challenge to get used to the fact that your days are spent mostly in isolation.
The second issue is the problem of interruptions. The "base office" for the organization might need to get in touch with the remote worker to update their schedule and redirect them to another client. The problem, of course, is that these continual interruptions get in the way of flow. They force workers to shift their focus - something that slows them down and can have ramifications for the quality of their work.
There are other problems too: problems with long-term career growth, loneliness, and the fact that you never really leave work. The central office could email you at any time.
If you want to work remotely, here are six tips for you.
One of the problems that some people have when working remotely is getting into the right frame of mind. While it's tempting to throw on the same t-shirt on Monday morning that you wore on a Sunday evening; it's not always advisable. The type of clothes that you wear can have a profound influence on how you feel and even what you think.
If working means wearing a suit for you, then that's what you should wear. It helps you get into the working mood as if you were heading into a real, physical office.
While people typically associate burnout as something that happens to people who spend long days both at and commuting to the office, remote workers are also at risk. Why? Because their working day never really ends. Head office could get in contact with you at any time redirecting you to a new task or location. It's stressful. You can find yourself switched on at all times of the day and night, not able to fully relax or be "in the moment."
Many remote workers, therefore, set a time past which they don't work. Most turn off their devices after six o'clock in the evening so that they can spend time with their families.
Right from the outset, you need to figure out which working style suits you best. Some people love the chatter in a crowded cafe, while others prefer the silence of a library. Some like to listen to music as they work, while others find that a distraction — it all depends on your psychology.
Experimenting with different formats can help a great deal. You may find, for instance, that by listening to music while you work, you dramatically increase your productivity and can finish earlier. You may also find that you benefit from using an ergonomic chair instead of a standard office seat, increasing comfort.
Loneliness and a lack of career progression are both serious issues for remote workers. One solution to that problem, though, is the use of virtual offices.
Virtual offices are different from traditional offices. They're still physical premises, but unlike a conventional office, you don't pay enormous monthly fees to rent the space. Instead, you pay the price by the hour, meaning you only pay for what you use.
Many remote workers make use of virtual offices for meeting with clients, other members of their team, and sometimes investors. Virtual offices immediately connect you to the people in your organization and those that they serve. By using virtual office meeting rooms, you keep costs down while also providing opportunities for social interaction.
While you might think that you're saving money by using an old laptop in your home office, it's probably more trouble than it's worth. In 2019, slow computing equipment is unnecessary. Worse still, it slows you down and causes frustration.
If you spend a lot of time at the computer and don't need to move around much, then it might be worth investing in a proper desktop. Desktop computers don't require you to stoop over, and they come with large keyboards and monitors, which makes interacting with them more accessible. Sure, they're not as slick as the latest Macbook, but they give you the means to be highly productive. And when you're working remotely, that's what counts.
Becoming a part of a remote community isn't possible for all kind of remote work. Some freelancers never hear about the other people who work with the agencies that they use. With that said, most remote working arrangements involve coordinating with a team of people that you're free to contact whenever you like.
It's worth considering, therefore, joining a remote working community - some sort of digital forum where you can all get together and interact.
The form that this forum takes depends on the type of work you do and business you're in. Some companies, for instance, may want to use business messaging services and groups. Others might like the idea of communicating by a social media page. Fundamentally, it all depends on what the business is trying to achieve and how the people in it prefer to speak to each other. You can often generate an excellent community that provides you with a network.
So, there you have it: six tips for people who want to work remotely. Will you try any of them?
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