Working remotely has been a hot-button topic for the past few years. There are companies who have said no way and companies who hold that it’s the best way.
And while opinions on working from home are about as wide as any other topic that we humans can find disagreement in, it seems that the proliferation of high-speed internet combined with ever-more-capable mobile workstations has made WFH more than just a way to dodge a day of work.
For many, working from home is the new normal. In the decade and a half that I’ve been a part of the modern workforce, I’ve spent more than half that time working remotely from the rest of my team, using technology to bridge the geographical divide. And as that technology has become more and more accessible, we see smaller and smaller companies who can afford to embrace this new style of work if it provides some competitive advantage.
At PartnerHero, we’ve taken the approach that working remotely is all about the individual. When we evaluate potential job candidates for remote positions, we focus on understanding how well they self-manage. When an existing employee chooses to work from home, it’s up to them to demonstrate that doing so actually improves their work product. After all, if working remotely is an opportunity to completely control your work environment while reducing commute, it follows that it should result in an overall optimization (even if it takes some trial and error to achieve it).
The first thing you’ll notice about working remotely is that your commute time drops to zero. Where your previous morning ritual may have involved hurriedly slurping down a coffee while trying to catch a shared ride, bus, train, or even just sitting in traffic, you now have the ability to be at work without even leaving your bedroom. While this will give you back lost hours in the day, many who work from home say that they find it hard to step away from their work and actually find themselves working more hours in an average day due to work always being a few steps away.
To combat this, I recommend building new routines which allow you to transition in and out of a work mentality.
For example, here are some morning rituals I follow:
And in the evening:
The above rituals still take less time than commuting. With the time you save, consider reading a book you’ve been meaning to pick up or spending some quiet time meditating. Hell, teach yourself to juggle — just don’t take that precious time-savings for granted. As billionaire Warren Buffet points out, “I can buy anything I want, basically, but I can’t buy time.”
Working remotely removes the many distractions of the modern office. Things like cake in the break room, someone manically clicking a pen, or that coworker who just completely lacks an inside voice no longer stand between you and the ever-elusive flow. No, you’ve traded those distractions for new ones like laundry, pets, and (dare I say it?) Netflix. Your success in this work environment, just like at an office, rests on how you manage your distractions appropriately.
Just like building rituals allows you to separate yourself from work outside of work hours, building a proper workspace and adhering to a set of rules will help you stay productive and distraction-free inside of work hours.
For a workspace, I recommend:
And for rules:
Working remotely undoubtedly gives you a new level of control over your environment. One thing you’ll never escape, however, is the occasional technical failure. Maybe it’s your ISP having an outage, a power disruption, or even a failed hard drive. Being remote means that you must be your own IT and you must have plans in case of a catastrophic failure. In my case, I’ve done the following to ensure that I can stay online and accessible:
The final piece often overlooked by those new to working remote is staying in touch with colleagues across time and space. Sure you have 1:1s and attend the weekly all-hands, but it’s good to find other ways to connect with your colleagues. While each time will have to find their own way, there are countless ways to connect:
Working remote isn’t for everyone. At PartnerHero, we’ve had roughly the same number of people decide to work from home as we’ve had work from home and realize it wasn’t for them. What it really comes down to is you and your ability to self-manage. If you pay attention to yourself and the feedback from your team, remote work can be an excellent opportunity to further develop your self-awareness even if it turns out that you decide it’s not for you.
Do you have tips for working remotely? Comment below to share with everyone else working (or exploring) working remote!