In the last few weeks and months, you’ve likely had a few conversations with your bosses about the concept of working remotely. It might sound self-explanatory, but there are a lot of caveats and things that come with working remotely that might not be immediately self-evident. If you’ve found yourself wondering exactly what remote working means for you and your work, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of things that working remotely could mean, not only for you but also for your business.
It means no office space
The first – and perhaps most obvious – point about working remotely is that it will completely remove you from your office space. There are some discussions floating around that suggest office spaces are obsolete in the modern world, but if you’ve spent a lot of your life working in one, that change is going to be quite jarring. Waking up each morning and not having a workspace to go to can affect lots of things – your sense of purpose, your workflow, and your perception of time can all change.
It could disrupt workflow
Working from home doesn’t always have to mean reduced productivity; for some, the idea of not having an office to go to is a significant boon in terms of the time they spend working. Still, if you’re used to working in an office, there’s no doubt that working remotely is going to disrupt your workflow one way or another. All the comforts and familiar things you’ve had around you while working will vanish, so you’ll need to build up a new sense of where exactly your workspace is.
It means finding space in the home to work
It’s a bad idea to simply set up on your sofa with your laptop. Designating clear relaxation space and clear working space is good for your mental health and will help you compartmentalise your life. As such, it’s a good idea to create a home office. You should allocate a room for the office if you can. If this isn’t possible, designate a certain room in the home as the office, and try to keep distractions to a minimum in that room while you’re in working hours.
It means more distractions
Inevitably, home life is going to be more chaotic and distracting than regular office life. It’s important to find a way to focus on what you’re doing and not to allow yourself to get distracted by every little thing that happens. This is, of course, not easy; you’re taking a space in which you’re used to having your guard down and being asked to work there, after all. Still, try to keep distractions to a minimum. Close the door, wear headphones, and don’t allow yourself to browse the internet idly. Disconnect yourself if you can.
It means time will feel strange
There are certain time-related milestones each day that you’ll hit as an office worker. At 7:30, you’re out of the door to catch your train. By 6 pm, you’re on the train home. These times will be completely immaterial when you’re remote working, so it’s important to try to keep yourself grounded. If it helps, try spending an hour listening to a podcast or some music each day before and after you work. This will keep your routine similar and will allow you to take much-needed breaks, too.
It means lots of internet meetings
You’ll need to get used to the idea of meeting your colleagues over Skype or Zoom if you’re going to work from home. Those meetings are inevitably going to feel very different from the ones you’d have on a face-to-face basis. The etiquette of talking online is totally different; there will be interruptions, connection drops, and quality changes aplenty, so make sure to try and adjust your meeting style to accommodate this. It’s also possible lots of your business will be conducted over Slack or a similar program instead of taking place as a meeting.
It means you’ll need good time management
One of the biggest challenges facing those who work remotely is time management. At an office, you’re often given tasks and then supervised while you complete them. When you’re working from home, this will no longer be the case. Even the most vigilant company can’t supervise you constantly if they don’t have a physical presence where you’re working. As such, you’ll need to be your own boss when it comes to time management. Draw up schedules and stick to them rigidly; don’t allow yourself to break them.
It means more freedom
Depending on the company you’re working for, working remotely can result in an immense sense of freedom. After all, if you’re at home, there’s nothing stopping you playing video games, watching TV shows, or playing some music while you’re taking your breaks. You should still stick to your schedule, of course, but when you do have breaks, you’ll have access to many more activities than you would in the office. Working from home can be intimidating in many ways, but it’s also extremely liberating.
It means you’ll need to adjust if you go back
If and when you do return to regular office life, you’re going to need to make a lot of adjustments to the way you’ve become accustomed to living. The sense of being your own boss and of dictating your own schedule will disappear, as will a lot of the liberty you’ve got when working from home. The two styles are very different, and it’s important to bear that in mind and respect that difference. If you need to, talk to your boss or colleagues about how they’re managing the difference and try to incorporate some of their advice into your new working life.