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I have been able to work remotely for ProSky and if there is anything that I have learned from having a remote position, it is that there is much more to learn than just the importance of organization and discipline. Due to technology and the ever-increasing ease of long-distance communication, the modern-day workforce does not have to be together in one building. With an Internet connection and a computer, employees can live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their boss.
A recent study by Stanford University found that 10 percent of workers in the U.S. work from home at least one day of the week. On top of that, the number of Americans who work exclusively from home has doubled in the last 30 years from 2 percent to 4 percent.
Working remotely (from home or even a vacation spot), whether permanent or temporary, is also a system that relies heavily on an employee’s motivation. Here are some of my tips for being successful while working remotely.
1. Communication is key
No matter where you are working from, whether it is down the street or in Sri Lanka — it’s of vital importance to keep in touch with work. Whether it is via Skype, email, or another platform, keep in contact with your employers and communicate clearly whether your work flow is too much or not enough, if you are receiving enough feedback and if you have any questions that need to be answered. It is also important to have a separate means of communication for work. Remote workers can run into the problem of having job-related calls, emails, tweets and other forms of communication jumbled with personal messages. I highly recommend creating a separate email address and taking advantage of platforms that help online workplace communications (here at ProSky we use platforms such as Asana).
2. Give yourself some room
Some of the most productive remote workers are the ones that have a dedicated office space in their home that they go to when it’s time to work. The ones that tend to easily lose motivation are the workers that open their laptop, plop down on the couch and think they can work with life going on around them. Having an organized space helps lessen distractions and gets me into the right mindset to work efficiently. Life happens, but chances are you are going to hear all about it as it’s happening when you work from home (for me, “life” comes in the form of 3 college girls gossiping about cute boys in the living room common area). Working at home is hard so it’s a good idea to cut yourself some slack as you figure it out. It’s up to you to know what your productivity triggers are and be patient with yourself as you adjust to what’s happening.
3. Have a routine
Organization is imperative in any job, but for remote workers it is a necessity, especially because you won’t have a boss breathing down your neck making sure your work is getting done. Establishing a routine and sticking to it when you work at home is a great way to keep motivated. That means getting up at the same time during the work week as if you were going to an office, having predetermined break times and even blocking off times to get up from your desk every now and then. For some people, taking a shower and getting dressed before heading to their home office works while others stay in their PJs all day (I may or may not be one of these PJ-wearing remote workers). Either is fine as long as it’s part of an established routine.
Moreover, it is important to have a routine that involves the most productive work hours. Not everyone is productive at the same times of the day, which is why it’s great to have a job where your hours are a bit more flexible than a classic nine to five. Regardless of whether it’s at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m., schedule your work hours accordingly. By keeping a relatively consistent work schedule, it’s easier to maintain a distinction between your professional and personal lives. As a full time student, my best time to work usually ends up being at midnight into the early hours of the day, though this might sound crazy to some, it works very well for me and shows just how varied people’s productive hours might be.
I hope these tips on staying motivated as a remote worker will help you procrastinate less, get more done and stay productive! Make sure to check out ProSky’s blog for more helpful posts like this.