Working remotely – it sounds like a dream. You don’t have to go into the office. You can work in your pajamas. You can slack off a little more without your coworkers or your manager looking at you. It seems like people forget to mention the challenges that come with working remotely though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
There are pros to working remotely, not just the ones listed above:
- You no longer need to sit under fluorescent lights! If you sit in an office like I did (which was nowhere near windows), you couldn’t tell the passing of time. And fluorescent lights look drab – not great for selfies.
- You don’t have to smell all your coworkers and their lunches. I’ll be honest: I’m the smelly coworker. I’ve heated up fish in the microwave before. I’ve also over-microwaved food and caused the cafeteria to smoke. So really, my coworkers should be happy that I’m gone.
- If you need a break, you have options on how to spend it, like running errands or taking a walk outside. Sometimes I exercise, and other times I want a power nap. If you work remote, you can decide how to take a break most efficiently without judgment.
Now let’s talk about the other side. My working remote is a bit different from others because I am constantly moving for my road trip, so the points may or may not apply:
- You battle with network connectivity. There have been some WiFis that were so bad that I just had to work out of a cafe, which isn’t super appealing to me because I am usually on a call most of the time. Even when the WiFi is great, sometimes I get dropped from my Skype meetings. It’s frustrating on the days when it happens more than 5 times.
- It can be tough adjusting to time zones. I work with an international team and a bunch of different time zones. When I was working in Boston, it was easy because I worked 8 am to 5 pm EST. Now I need to do math every time I change time zones and adjust my schedule. Am I working 7 am to 4 pm or still 8 am to 5pm? It all depends.
- It’s so easy to be distracted. With no one watching over my shoulder, I can easily go down a rabbit hole and follow whatever distraction at the time. Sometimes it happens. Nobody’s perfect.
- You display extreme behavior between workaholic and really unmotivated. This isn’t a causation of working remotely, but working remotely could be a factor of this behavior. I find myself shifting between the two extremes quite often.
I still haven’t perfected what things I need in order to be the perfect remote worker. This is what I have so far:
- Set your routine. Figure out what things need to happen in your day to make you more productive. For me, it’s:
- Getting dressed – I don’t need to be in business casual attire, but I definitely need to be out of my pajamas. Or if I am in my pajamas, then I put on makeup. I only need some part of me to feel dressed, otherwise something in my brain just doesn’t click.
- Eating breakfast – I need fuel to start the day. I also need fuel because I get hangry almost always 30 minutes after I wake up.
- Exercising – I’ve tried exercising before and after work. Nowadays, both times work for me. When I first started exercising before work though, I would get sleepy around 11 am, and I would have to take a power nap in my car in the afternoon.
- Being near sunlight – Natural light makes me happy. If I can’t find any, then being near lights suffice. I just need to feel like I am working out of a cave.
- Work in sprints. Any time I am not in meeting, I am working in either 30-minutes or hour-long sprints. I play around the time, but it’s basically breaking down an entire day into shorter goals. Scheduling is key for this, which is something I am working on.
- Be super organized. This is something I’m working really really really really really really really hard on, and I haven’t found something that sticks yet. I am in so many meetings for work and for the blog and ideas for my YouTube channel that I need to be super organized. I am not there yet. What I’ve tried:
- Location: writing notes down on paper, use Notepad, use OneNote, email, or memory. None have ever stuck.
- Organization: by dates, and by topic. None work best.
If you have any suggestions on how you stay organized OR have your experience being a remote worker, let me know in the comments below please!