What I Wish I Had Known Earlier About Remote Work
For anyone new to remote work, the idea likely sounds amazing in concept. And, for many, it is a rewarding and exciting development in today’s work culture. However, these lessons learned by experienced remote workers can help you enter this new phase with more realistic expectations and set you up for a greater chance of success.
Remote work requires extra focus
The extra focus it takes to work remotely can be a steep learning curve for someone who has never worked remotely. When you transition from working in an office with clearly defined perimeters (offices, cubicles, etc.) to a home office where you might be staring at your laundry pile or constantly reminded that your dog needs a walk, the required extra focus can be daunting.
Even the best home office setups can leave remote workers prone to wandering, daydreaming, or getting distracted by mail deliveries, neighborhood noises, or household to-do lists. To overcome these obstacles, plan ahead for your workday by setting goals the night before and starting each day with a plan.
Grab a pair of noise-canceling headphones, create a temporary partition between your desk and the rest of your home, and let neighbors know you’re working remotely, so they are less likely to pop over for an impromptu chat.
Remote work can feel isolating
It sounds fabulous at first. Working in your own home, no commute, no work wardrobe requirements, and no annoying coworkers that talk too loud and constantly interrupt your work.
However, remote work can feel isolating at times. Scheduling regular breaks to check in with coworkers virtually, participating in video chat calls whenever necessary, and even swinging by the office at work to meet up for post-work drinks all help to work toward eliminating loneliness.
It can also be nice to connect with other remote workers. If your community offers coworking space, this is an excellent solution to working remotely but not working alone.
Home is subjective
Speaking of coworking spaces, home is subjective. If your company allows, working from home doesn’t have to mean your own home. Many Airbnb hosts now equip their rentals with everything you need to work remotely, so schedule a three-day weekend somewhere fun and spend your Friday working from a rental.
Or, find your favorite local coffee shop and plan to work one morning a week from the spot that overlooks your neighborhood.
There are plenty of unknown benefits to remote work
While remote work has its challenges like those already mentioned, it also comes with a great set of benefits. Some of the benefits include:
- Reduced or eliminated commutes: If spending an hour or more using public transportation to get to work or adding significant miles to your vehicle isn’t your idea of a good time, working remotely eliminates or greatly reduces your commute time, saving you money on gas or fares.
- Greater flexibility: Remote work allows the ultimate flexibility in your work schedule. Even if your employer requires a specific number of hours, often the hours themselves are flexible, and you can do the work on your own timeline. If you’ve always been an afternoon person, this means you can now start your mornings a bit slower and ease into the work when you feel at your best.
- Tax advantages: There are several tax advantages to remote work, some obscure and some that remote workers simply overlook. From getting tax credit to saving money on utilities, be sure to consult an accountant to ensure you’re taking advantage of all the savings.
Remote work might take a little getting used to, but it doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon, so embrace the change and enjoy the view from home!