Working remotely can be tough for some people. I happen to really enjoy it and think I am much more productive on very level.
With technology these days, it makes sense that is option is becoming more common. Plus, from a business point-of-view, it vastly widens your talent pool. What if you find the perfect employee in San Diego, but your office is in Maine. That cross-country move is likely not happening, but with remote access a company doesn’t have to lose out.
That said, I realize that working remotely is not for everyone, and I value face-time with fellow employees and especially customers. Since it does work well for me, I thought I would share my top 5 way to be successful when working remotely.
1. Set up a home office.
This is critical. Even if you think working from your kitchen table or the couch is cool, have a place you can go where you can shut the door and work. This space should be comfortable, and is your mini-command center. All of your papers, business cards, to-do list, etc, is here.
Get a white board and a bulletin board. Decorate the space with inspirational quotes and fill your desk with fun things — just like you would if you were working in an office cubical.
Being able to shut the door and the rest of life out is very important. Even if you live alone, do this. For example, my Dad and aunt recently came to visit and I was able to shut my door and work just like if I had been in an office with no distractions. They did their thing and I did mine. We ate breakfast and dinner together, but that was it. No during-the-day issues. Had I been working at my kitchen table all day, that would have been a lot tougher.
2. Pay for reliable internet service.
This one is easy.
Your internet is literally your lifeline to your job in many cases. If you have to remote in, you need a reliable internet service.
3. Know the closest places with free wi-fi.
Despite paying top dollar for the best internet in the area, life happens. Storms knock down trees, trees knock down power lines. Always have a back-up plan just in case your internet goes down. And, test it out. Starbucks and Panera are always favorites, but next time you are at your favorite diner, ask if they have wi-fi and if they do, test it out.
Also, know the connection capabilities of the places you might need to go to before you need them. It was a beautiful sunny evening when a tree came down on my neighbor’s lawn knocking down several power lines. The next day crews had to shut off the power to some of the houses, and I was on deadline. I knew exactly where to go that had a fast enough speed that I could get the work done that I needed to do. Except for the 10 minutes it took to talk with the power crew and the 15 minutes it took me to get to the location, no productively was lost.
4. Work. Work hard.
These last two might seem like a contraction, but just humor me. Work your butt-off.
For example, if you are sitting on the couch at 7 p.m. and scrolling through Twitter and see breaking news, sit down at your work computer and write it. If you see an email come through on your phone at 9 p.m., respond to it.
Of course this depends on your industry, but in publishing, it’s a 24/7 cycle. Waiting until the morning is sometimes not an option. Being able to have ability to pull out your computer and write up something quickly is what can make a difference.
There are times this is just not feasible, but when you have the opportunity, take advantage of it and do it. I’m not saying everyone should work 24/7, but when you can go the extra mile, do it when possible.
5. Set priorities, hours and limits.
I know what I just wrote above, but that said, you can burn out quickly. Talking with other people who work remotely, it can be easy to burn out.
Michelle Maskaly is a content creator and business consultant who specializes in helping businesses of all sizes capitalize on their marketing and content potential. She has worked with large media organizations such as Fox News and Bloomberg, magazines and brands, as well as chambers of commerce and small businesses. Work with Michelle by contacting her now.