Eight ways to make remote working a success
Remote working sounds like a dream come true to some people, and to others, a terrible nightmare.
In our NetSuite Salary Survey, over half of the respondents who hold permanent jobs stated they spend some of their time working remotely.
Working remotely is not for everyone. If you have decided working from home is the right step for your career, here are eight pieces of advice to ensure you make it a success.
Separate work and home.
This might sound obvious but once you begin, it’s amazing how easy it is for the lines between home and work to become blurred.
When you work in an office at the end of the day you leave the ‘work you’ behind. When the office is at home that can be much more difficult to achieve. You need to set clear physical and time divisions between being at work and at home.
Agree on a schedule with your employers that works for you both.
It’s very important that you discuss clearly with your employer, before you sign your job contract or make the move into remote working, what your work day will actually look like.
It’s no good if you want to start early in the morning so you can be free in the afternoons if, your employer expects you to join Skype meetings when you’re at the gym!
Working remotely has perks, like allowing you to work hours other than the standard 9-5. But you need to discuss this clearly so everyone knows exactly what is expected. This can be a big stumbling block for companies that are new to having remote workers in their teams. Ensure everything is agreed up front so there are no surprises for either party later on.
80% of NetSuite contractors work entirely remotely. – NetSuite Salary Survey 17
Create a comfortable, dedicated remote workspace.
If you are going to be a remote worker you need to have a dedicated workspace. You can’t be a productive employee if you are working on your kitchen table or in the corner of your bedroom.
Having somewhere that is exclusively dedicated to working will help to ensure you are fully focused on your job when you are there.
Assign a spare room solely as your workspace. Invest in a comfortable chair and buy office furniture to make it usable and welcoming.
But, only go in there when you are ready to work. It’s the only way to separate it from home. If you are inside working, shut the door and keep everyone and everything outside. When you have finished working, close the door and don’t go back inside until your work time starts again.
One more thing before we move on. Make sure you get dressed every time you are working in your office!
It might seem like the perfect thing to do: roll out of bed still in your night clothes and start work. But you need to make sure that when you are working remotely, you are putting the same amount of effort in as you would if you were in the company offices. Get up, get dressed and be ready for the working day. Obviously, you don’t have to be in a suit and tie but making that transition from home to work really focuses your mind on the day ahead.
Make an effort to get to know your co-workers.
The biggest challenge most people who work remotely encounter is that at times it can be a little lonely. Even if you like to work with your head down and headphones on you will have taken breaks in the office, had a chat over the water cooler or joined in with a joke or two.
When you work away from the main hub of the business you won’t get this time to develop relationships with your co-workers. Even when you’re working remotely you will still need to work with, ask questions of and have basic conversations with other people who work for the same company.
Ensure that you use everything that is available to you to be in contact with your team members:
- Join meetings via video chat so you get to see who your team are and they get to see you.
- Ensure that your team has a Slack or WhatsApp group that they all discuss things in. That way you will always be aware of what is happening outside of the meeting room.
- Make sure you are available to be contacted as much as possible during the hours you are working. If you’re never available you may miss invitations to meetings or opportunities to have input on important decisions.
- Communication is important in any work situation to ensure the success of projects but it’s really important when you are not physically in the office.
Take regular breaks.
When you are working in your home office, it’s easy for time to get away from you. With no co-worker distractions, you can find yourself working long hours without a break.
During the day have lunch with a friend, take the dog for a walk or join a yoga class. A change of scenery can really improve your productivity.
That difficult coding bug you’ve been struggling with for hours will be less of a problem after stepping away and doing something completely different for a little while.
If you find that sometimes you just need to be outside of your office you could:
- Try hot desking in a local business center.
- Work out of your local coffee shop.
- Work sitting on your porch or in the garden.
36% of NetSuite Salary Survey respondents said the opportunity to work remotely would be a reason for them to change employer
Planning is everything!
At the end of each week take time to complete a review of everything that has happened. Ask yourself:
- Are you happy with the amount of work you have completed?
- What have been the stumbling blocks to getting through your work?
- Have all the meetings you’ve attended been worthwhile?
- Is there anything you want to discuss with your team or manager?
- What can you do better next week?
Plan the week ahead. Update your calendar, taking into account what you need to achieve during the next week. Block off sections of the week so you can have time to really put energy into your project without having team members adding meetings to interrupt that work time.
Don’t be afraid to close the virtual office door.
We discussed earlier making yourself available as much as possible while working remotely, but you shouldn’t be afraid to sometimes close the virtual office door and switch on the ‘do not disturb’ status.
If you need to be unavailable while you get something done, don’t be afraid to cease all contact for a while. If you would do it inside the office, you can expect to be able to do it remotely as well.
Be prepared for anything!
When you’re working remotely you need to be prepared for things to change quickly. Teams have meetings and forget to invite you, managers change the direction of a project and you need to be ready to jump in and get on with changes you weren’t previously aware of.
That’s one of the best things about working from home: no two days are ever the same.
Take advantage of the perks that working remotely offers to you but always be aware of your work output. You are responsible for your own productivity and you have a responsibility to always meet the expectations that your employer has of you. How you achieve those requirements is in your hands. That’s what’s great about being a remote worker.