It’s everyone’s dream, right? Some people would much rather work remotely from home or in some exotic location than behind a desk in the company office.
Who hasn’t dreamed of working from a café overlooking the beaches of Santorini, instead of staring at the same picture on the wall of your office cubicle? Not everyone can work like this, it takes time management skills and a level of self-motivation that some people don’t have. But for others it offers a certain level of freedom to do their work when it suits them, rather than the standard 9-5 office hours, so they can travel, pick up the kids from school every day, or never miss an episode of Days of Our Lives!Who hasn't dreamed of working from a café overlooking the beaches of Santorini? Click To Tweet
If you’re thinking of making the leap from desk-bound office worker to successful remote employee or freelancer, or you’re struggling to get into the groove of organising your day at home, here are a few tips to ensure you get all of the benefits this lifestyle enjoys.
6 Tips For People Who Work Remotely
1. Pick the right employer or clients
If you work in an office in a job you don’t enjoy, or for someone you don’t like or respect, chances are you are not going to be motivated to work hard to get the job done. The same applies if you’re working remotely.
It’s true you won’t have anywhere near the face-to-face contact with people you may not work well with, but you still need to enjoy the work they provide. If your employer or clients are sending work you don’t enjoy, subconsciously you will start finding reasons to delay getting it done. If you get paid by the hour you will end up earning less than you otherwise could, and if you work for a salary, your boss may start to think working remotely is not a good idea for you.
2. Set up a place in your home specifically for work
If you work from home, it’s important to have a specific and well set up workspace or home office away from distractions. That way, when you step inside you can put your ‘work head’ on and get in the zone. If you’re easily distracted, heading to the local café or park with your laptop and portable wifi may not be for you. Even sitting in your lounge room where the TV and Foxtel are just begging to be watched may be too much to resist.
If this is you, a home office is a must. Make sure it has a door to keep the noise and unwanted visitors out, stable Internet connection, a kettle to make coffee and tea, ventilation and anything else you’ll need to ensure you can stay focused and comfortable. If you don’t have a spare room, don’t despair! The array of space-saving desks available these days is mind-boggling – some of them will even fold up to fit in your hallway!
The other advantage of having a home office is that there may be tax perks. Some people are able to claim office expenses, utility bills, a portion of the rent, and many other related expenses thanks to working remotely in your own home office. Make sure you see an accountant as soon as possible if this is you, it could add hundreds of dollars to your tax return every year.
3. Keep a daily scheduleWhen working remotely, be the squeaky door. Click To Tweet
Working remotely can often head in one of two ways – you end up working more hours than when you were at the office because you feel guilty, or you work less because you’re easily distracted. That’s why it’s important to create a work schedule that is well balanced, and that works in with the schedules of your office-based colleagues.
Set some office hours and commit to them, by sharing them with your colleagues. Put important things like WIP meetings in your diary, and invite others to attend by phone. Be the squeaky door and remind people to invite you to their meetings too.
At first it can be difficult to get that discipline, but after a few weeks of persistence it will soon become second nature. The last thing you want is to get sidetracked, waste half the day checking your Facebook feed and watching kitten videos on YouTube, then have to work well into the night to catch up.
Alternatively, you don’t want to start from the moment you wake up, and then have to be dragged away from your laptop by your other half at bed time.
4. Stay connected with your clients and/or work colleagues
For your own sanity it’s important to stay in touch with your clients and work colleagues while doing your work remotely. Workmates in the office can often think you may not want to be disturbed now that you’re working from home, or get a bad case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome and forget about you completely! This can lead to two serious problems:
- The quality of your work may suffer because you’ve been left out of internal team communications; and
- You miss out on social opportunities that can strengthen relationships and increase loyalty to one another.
The first way to combat your isolation is to ensure all of your work colleagues download and use Blrt. This simple to use mobile app, available from both the App Store and Google Play, is the best way to communicate with others when you’re not face to face. It allows you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites straight from your smartphone or tablet’s photo gallery or camera, or from your Google Drive or Dropbox.
Blrt captures your gestures in sync with your voice, so you can highlight exactly what you’re talking about to one or more people. Recipients can type a comment to let you know they’ve understood, or record their own Blrt to send back, and keep the conversation going. Blrts are exchanged just like emails, so you don’t both have to be available as the same time, but unlike email, it can shave hours off ‘back and forth’ collaboration on projects. You can even add new people into ongoing conversations, which can get them up to speed on a project super fast.
Give it a try:
The second way is to make the effort to attend work meetings and social events as much as you can. This will demonstrate your commitment to them and the business despite working remotely.
Finally, make sure you keep your colleagues in the loop with any assignments you’re working on. By regularly staying in touch, they will know when you’re working and where you’re up to at any given time. It will also remind them you still work there and may alleviate any resentment some may have to your work from home arrangement.
5. Make time for yourself
Some people who work remotely can end up feeling almost guilty, and as a consequence start to work longer hours than if they’d stayed in the office.
While it’s important to have a schedule to ensure you get all of your work done, it’s just as important to factor in some recreation time as well. There’s no point working to set up a remote employment lifestyle if you’re stuck in your home office staring at a computer screen all day and night.
So make sure you regularly go outside, walk the dog, breath in some fresh air and get some sun on your face. After all, working remotely is meant to be fun, not a prison sentence, and regular short breaks from your desk have been proven to increase your productivity.
6. Don’t give up on your dream to work remotely
While it sounds like the dream scenario to work remotely, either for yourself or your current employer, the reality is often a lot different. There are many benefits such as flexibility to work when you want (as long as you get the job done on time), no people to answer to directly, and the ability to work wherever you can take your laptop and get online.
But making the break from the regularity of day-to-day life in the office, to making the 15-second commute from your bedroom to the home office can be quite daunting. The key is to manage your time well, stay in touch with your colleagues, and to keep employing tactics that ensure you’re motivated as much as possible.
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.