Remote work success is possible if you know the tricks of the trade.
Perhaps, your employer like Siemens, Facebook, Shopify, or Twitter, has asked staff to work from home. For you, it could be a first, and there’s no second-guessing it that you want to succeed, but you’re unsure of what to expect from going remote.
Like you, thousands of others are being forced to go remote, thanks to COVID-19, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders. Others, however, haven’t been as lucky.
At some point, layoffs, staff releases, and business closures cost the US economy over 40 million jobs due to Coronavirus. Many of these displaced workers are now seeking temporary online jobs.
Remote work success or how to succeed at remote work is a key concern for this category of workers. In this post, I’ll be sharing five (5) essential ingredients that have helped me to succeed in working from home over the last three years as a full-time freelancer.
What is Remote Work?
Also referred to as telecommuting, telework, teleworking, mobile work, work from home, or offsite work; remote work is work done outside the four walls of a regular office.
These days, digital nomads often travel the world while working remotely from multiple locations across the globe.
Due to this arrangement, remote work success relies heavily on technology like collaboration and team management tools, email messaging, social media, video conferencing, etc.
What Remote Work Options Are Available?
Broadly speaking, there are three categories of remote workers:
- Temporarily remote employees (due to COVID-19, sickness, etc)
- Fully remote employees (distributed teams, disabled employees, etc), and
The following are tips for remote work success for new freelancers or newly remote employees.
5 Essentials for Remote Work Success
1. Accept the Status Quo
Acceptance is key for remote work success when working from home.
According to Wikipedia:
Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation…(often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it.
A recent study by Chicago based Grossman Group found that 48% of employees now working from home due to COVID-19 want to continue working from home post-COVID-19.
However, there’s another 52% of employees that are dissenting or unsure, because somehow so far, working from home hasn’t quite worked for them.
If this is you, first, validate your feelings and recognize that it’s okay to feel this way. Next, be very grateful to still have a job, even if you now have to work from home. Then proceed to give it your best until you can return to the office.
Familiarize Yourself with How WFH Works
Acceptance of the new normal is only the first step to remote work success. Familiarization is the next step. Learn all you can about how working from home really works in real life.
On paper, working from home a.k.a the laptop lifestyle may look all glam until you actually jump in with both feet and realize it’s deeper than you thought.
For instance, two weeks into remote work, you may discover that you’re increasingly having to deal with distractions, boredom, stress, burnout, or achieving work-life balance. Sudden realizations like this can breed disappointment and disenchantment.
To avoid or correct this, begin to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of remote work, including its pros and cons. Interact with your friends or colleagues who have been working remotely for some time and pick their brains. Also, journal your experiences and see what you can learn from them.
Develop the Right Skills and Work from Home Ethics
After learning and documenting all you can about your work from home experience, it is time to develop the right set of skills for remote work success. If for instance, you discover through your journaling that you’re unable to manage your time properly, you may want to work on your time management skills.
A recent NordVPN study found that on average, Americans who are working from home are spending an extra three hours on the job. This could be due to any of many factors including poor organization skills, inability to work without supervision, etc.
Another secret for work from home success is developing the right work ethics. Things like punctuality, reliability, dedication, self-discipline, hard work, productivity, and professionalism also count when working from home. Remote employees who bring these to the table will succeed at remote work.
Personalize Your Home Office Setup
Another often overlooked factor in work from home success is your home office setup. Studies show that office layout can affect employee productivity. One recent study found that employees who worked in cubicles were 91.1% productive, closed office 89.3%, and open office 85.8% productive.
Paying attention to your home office setup can have big payoffs in your productivity levels. However, you have to find your own sweet spot, the best office arrangement that suits your personality. You can decide to try the cubicle, open or closed office design or even a hybrid layout.
Experiment to find out what works for you and limits home distractions to the barest minimum. You can explore your co-worker’s home office setup or get home office setup ideas from a Google search
Invest in the Right Work from Home Office Gear
After setting up your home office correctly, the next thing to pay attention to is your work from home office gear. A slow, obsolete PC can add extra hours to your workday, which can easily lead to stress and burnout. It could also expose you to cyberattacks if you haven’t updated your antivirus software.
A poor internet connection can also hamper your productivity when working from home, especially if you rely on cloud-based software to do your work. You could miss essential emails, video conference calls will flop, etc.
For work from home success, ensure that you invest in the right office gear, equipment, and gadgets considering price and performance. Some employers will offset, discount, or reimburse the cost of your work from home office setup.
Certain factors can contribute to work from home success or failure. And, whether you like or dislike remote work may depend on how you approach them. To succeed, remember to:
- Accept the status quo
- Familiarize yourself with how working from home works
- Develop the right skills and work from home ethics
- Personalize your home office setup
- Invest in the right home office gear