The covid 19 Pandemic has opened a lot of businesses and organizations to the benefit of working remotely. Although working remotely is nothing new, the idea was more pronounced during the lockdown where everybody had to pack it up and stay home. Since then, individuals, businesses and organisations have been taking advantage of it. However, despite the positive attributes that working remotely brings to both employers and employees, it also has its challenges which can affect productivity. This is why we have prepared this article to guide you on how to succeed as a remote worker in 2022.
What is remote work?
Remote work is a type of working style that allows employees and other working professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment. This way, employees can do their jobs from a location other than a central office operated by the employer. The idea of remote work is based on the idea that people don't actually need to be in the same building with their employers to get their work done. In the past, people have had to work remotely, but the covid 19 pandemic made it more popular when people were forced to stay indoors. Now there are millions of people who work from home on a daily.
How Does Remote Working Work?
Working remotely actually requires you to work from a different location other than the central office. This means that as a remote worker, you can work from home, on a plane, in another country or anywhere apart from the main office. Remote work has to do with a mix of the right culture, processes and technology which are geared toward helping professionals successfully work remotely. While there is no best approach to working remotely, it is usually based on the company's tech savviness, culture, time zones, and operational work type among others.
There are a lot of ways in which people can work remotely. You just have to choose the best approach for you. Some people work remotely 3 to 4 days a week but have to commute to in-person meetings at the office one day a week.
Benefits of Working Remotely
The idea of working remotely is here to stay and it is not disappearing anytime soon. With that said, there are several benefits that the idea of working from home could bring to both employers and employees. They include ;
1. More flexibility
One of the main reasons people decide to work from home is to have more flexible time to do other things. This way, employees who have cats, kids and other responsibilities will be able to take care of them. The time used in commuting to work and avoiding traffic can be used to take care of other things. Having flexibility helps you to plan your schedule to fit into your work and home life. This way you will be able to attend medical appointments, take the kids shopping, or spend time with friends.
2. It creates more productivity
Statistics show that 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time. Although, this might sound sceptical because working from home can come with a lot of distraction, procrastination and disruption. However, that isn't always the case because working remotely eliminates things like commute time and distractions at work by colleagues. In fact, the lack of commute and less opportunity to socialize allows remote workers to use the extra time to exercise, which can improve mental and physical health. All this will contribute to more productivity.
3. Reduces Commute Time
Commuting to work every day can be stressful and time-consuming. The time used in commuting every day can be used to do other things like exercising, taking a morning stroll and other forms of exercise which are good for the health. In fact, too much commuting can be bad for the health and can lead to varieties of health issues like anxiety, increased blood sugar, higher cholesterol and so on. Even if you still have to go to work on one occasion or the other, commuting less has serious health benefits. You can use the time you save to get enough sleep, spend more time with friends and family, exercise, or cook healthy meals.
4. Acess to More Job Opportunities
Because working remotely allows for greater flexibility and freedom, remote workers have access to more job opportunities than their office counterparts. You can take other remote jobs as a remote worker and make more money. However, you have to plan your schedule to fit these jobs to meet deadlines and also attend to other things. As a freelancer, being able to work remotely has created a lot of opportunities that might not have been available to them a few years back. Now they can get professional jobs anywhere regardless of geographical location.
5. Cost Saving
The cost of commuting to work daily can be very expensive. From the price of gas to the cost of maintaining your vehicle and the cost of taxi fares are not cheap. Furthermore, there are other expenses you need to cover like lunch, snacks, parking fees, work clothes and the rest. All these expenses can be reduced by working remotely. Employers can also save costs on acquiring office space, transport allowance, feeding allowance, clothing allowance and other related allowances. The money that is saved from these expenses can be used to invest in other things by employers and employees.
6. Earn More Money
According to PayScale, employees who work remotely make 1.9% more than their equivalent office workers. Overall remote workers earn 23.7% more than non-remote employees when excluding job titles and other compensable factors.
From the above statistics, we can deduce that remote workers earn more than their non-remote workers when we exclude allowances like travel, feeding, wardrobe and other compensation. Furthermore, remote workers have more access to jobs than their counterparts because they can work from anywhere in the world.
7. Happier and Healthier Life
Research conducted at Owl labs shows that remote workers are happier and stay in their jobs longer. They also found that workers working at home reported being happy 22% more than workers who always work in an onsite office environment. With no commute, no lunch rush, and no long hours away from family, the remote workforce tends to be happier.
How To Succeed As a Remote Worker
1. Set up A Comfortable Home Office to Work Remotely
When working remotely, especially if you are working from home, you can easily get distracted and bored which can lead to procrastination of tasks. This behaviour is not a good one especially if you want to be productive. This is why you need to set up a comfortable home office which is void of distraction and other forms of disturbance. An organized and comfortable workspace will motivate you to work like you an in an office environment.
One advantage of working from home is that you get to add your own personal style to your workspace. This might be a type of chair that you feel comfortable with when sitting on it or photos on your desk that make you feel motivated and happy. Whatever your style, it is important to choose a location that allows you to optimize natural light. That way, you can feel energized and avoid feeling sluggish.
2. Minimize Distractions
Distraction can make you lose track of your daily goals and target. Although distraction can be avoided especially when working from home, however, it is important that you minimize it.
Distractions from children, pets, and background noise can limit your productivity while doing remote work. This can result in missing deadlines and not meeting the company target. One way to avoid distraction is to set some basic ground rules with those around you in the home. Let them know you will be working from home and you need your privacy. Another way is to schedule your time to accommodate both working hours and home hours. This way you can work from a specific hour to a specific hour depending on the nature of your job. And in-between those hours give yourself little breaks to spend with those in the house. You can also set goals and daily schedules, this will keep you motivated and ensure that you reach your target.
One way to remain effective when working from home is by communicating effectively. Since you are working remotely and you no longer see your boss or colleagues physically, you need to find other ways to communicate effectively and clearly. This way, you can check in meetings with them on a weekly basis to connect on your goals, upcoming projects and daily tasks. It is also good to clarify early on how your team will communicate and the best channels for different types of work and topics. Some tools used by remote workers to communicate include emails, Zoom, Skype, Slack and other communication tools.
Frequent communication will help everyone stay on the same page and build better connections and trusted relationships across the team.
4. Leverage on Remote Tools
There are different tools that can be used by remote workers to increase productivity and make work easier. Ensuring that you and your colleagues have efficient communication, workflow and task management, you can leverage communication and task management tools. Tools like Trello, Slack and Asana are great at helping teams organize, track, and manage their work. Skype and Zoom are good video conferencing tools that can be used to communicate visually. Email platforms like Mailchimp, Aweber and Moosend are good for sending bulk emails to teams and clients. While Google Drive is good for storing and sharing important documents. Overall these tools make your work easier and faster. Automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you with scheduling social media posts if your company has an online presence.
5. Set Goals and Expectations
One way to stay motivated as a remote worker is by setting daily goals and expectations. By setting goals, you will be able to track your achievements and see if you meet the expectations. For example, a content writer can set a goal of writing and editing one article per day. This way, they will be motivated to finish the article and meet the daily expectations. If you work with a team, ensure you know what they expect you to accomplish and when. This way, you will know what you have to do and when to deliver it. After every project, ask for feedback to make sure you did what you needed to do. This will help you build trust and ensure that you and your teammates are on the same page.
6. Take breaks
One rule of maintaining a healthy work-life is by taking breaks. Taking breaks to stroll, exercise, talk to people and eat snacks can improve your overall productivity as an employee or remote worker. You need to plan your break ahead of time and fit it into your work schedule. You can also set alarms to remind you when to take occasional breaks. This will help you focus and keep you refreshed so you can be the most effective and efficient remote worker possible.
7. Fast and reliable internet
Working remotely has a lot to do with video conferencing, and collaborating with teams, colleagues and employers. Therefore you must have a stable and reliable internet connection to make your activities smooth. Because you can't risk having an internet connection that’s slow or prone to cutting out when having an important meeting or connecting with your team members and colleagues. This can undermine productivity.
Furthermore, your internet connection should also be secure. You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to connect to employer resources. Also, keep your antivirus and internet security software up to date on your devices, and use strong passwords, including for your home Wi-Fi network.
8. Look your best
Working remotely should also be seen as working in the office, so you should dress formal. Although it can be casual, ensure it has a little bit of formality. Remember that remote work also entails video conferencing, team meetings, collaboration and other visual events. This means that you have to be formal which can help put you into a “work mode” mindset, which will help you to focus and be more productive.
9. Proper time management
Knowing how to manage time while working remotely is one of the main attributes of staying productive. A lot of people often get drowned in their work routine that they forget other important things. While some people are distracted and end up losing precious time that could have gone into something productive.
Since working remotely involves a lot of meetings and other tasks, one might lose track of time. One way to overcome this challenge is by properly planning your time to be able to attend to each task and appointment without eating into your personal time. This way you can achieve an adequate work-life balance when working remotely. Another way is by creating a workable to-do list and assigning specific time to each task. Also, ensure you stick to the time allocated to each job. Effective time management will help you to be more productive and help you attend to other things.
10. Have a closing time
Although the idea behind remote work is the flexibility of working at any time of the day. However, this does not mean you shouldn't have a closing hour. The idea behind any job is productivity. And you should work when you are most productive. So setting a closing time for yourself is not a bad idea. This gives you room to attend to other things like taking your dog for a walk, attending your kid's basketball game, going out on a date and other life business.
The above ten tips we have explained above have their own importance. Although all points are important and can improve your overall productivity, It is important for you to figure out the ones that work for you and your team. Give yourself time to learn in between the virtual working environment, help yourself with the best workspace that motivates you and take steps that could actually contribute to your increased productivity at work.
There are some days that your plans will fall through, and you might not meet the daily target you have set for yourself. This is understandable and fine, after all, we are humans, not machines. You can cover up for the lost time the next day. The idea is to be flexible and work when you are most productive. This way, you can get your job done on time and effectively and still have time to catch the Lakers game.