With more and more companies embracing flexible working models, and lots of us now setting up businesses on our own, remote working is becoming far more widely embraced than ever before.
The internet and digital revolution mean that more of us our now working from our own homes instead of from the office. And whilst this might sound like the dream scenario – adjusting to a new routine away from a formal office can take some doing – and mastering your own day when there’s only you to discipline yourself does take a bit of work.
We think the benefits of remote working hugely outweigh any drawbacks but read on for our thoughts on why it’s a positive way to work, and how to make sure you’re mastering it productively.
There are lots of benefits to working remotely. You don’t have a commute (no travel costs!) and if you’re setting your own routine then you have total flexibility away from the rigidity of a strict 9-5.
You might be working for yourself, or for someone else; but either way, if you’re the type of person who is happy to work in a remote capacity then it can be one of the best ways to achieve a better sense of work/life balance.
Working remotely opens up opportunities in terms of not being limited by your location and it’s also a great way to work if you’re a start-up or small business who doesn’t want the cost of overheads. From hugely reduced stress levels, to feeling more comfortable in your environment and noticing increased productivity, if you’re happy in your work environment then you’re going to be happier in your job and better at it.
Plus, with the internet there isn’t really much you can’t do from home now – you can take calls, field emails and carry out important tasks all with the help of the internet, so the possibilities are endless!
Your Work Space
There are of course some key tools you will need in order to successfully work remotely.
One of the key things for this is your work space. It goes without saying that you’ll need a designated place to work where your brain can officially switch into ‘work’ mode and out of ‘home’ mode.
In an ideal world, you’d have your own office, but if that isn’t possible, then a set space in your home which is quiet and organised which you can make your own in whatever way you can will be best.
Try and ensure you have somewhere to file paperwork, collate all ‘work’ related items and keep anything related to your job or your business all in once place. It’s important to keep your ‘work’ time and activities within this area, and not spread throughout each room in your house, as you need to ensure there’s a cut off between your home life and your work life.
You also get the added bonus of making your workspace into a total creation of your own without formal office limits, so if you want lots of plans, nice rugs or a vibrant work desk then that’s absolutely your decision – how liberating!
Boundaries and Distractions
It all sounds pretty freeing, but it does take some micro management to keep a solid line between your work life and your home life.
There is a lot to be said for ‘leaving work’ at the end of the day, and if you’re working from your own home, it’s important to strike a balance. It’s certainly harder to shut the door on things when you’re remaining in the same building.
It will take some self-control to make sure you clock off when you should, and certainly if you have your computer nearby, the temptation to go and check emails or tackle outstanding tasks will be easy to give in to sometimes – but this is where you need to be extra disciplined and ensure you’re allocating your time as you would if you worked in an office, and ‘leave’.
It’s super important to know what your distractions are too – especially when you’re in your own home and there are plenty of potential things to get side-tracked by. If the dirty dishes are going to bug you, then make sure they’re done the night before, or if it’s the laundry and mess around the house, then again, make sure it’s done before you sit down to work or it will annoy you all day!
Setting a routine is actually more important than ever when you’re working remotely or working for yourself, as without a proper structure, you can end up procrastinating, wasting time or feeling overwhelmed.
We’d recommend setting out planned hours for your work day – perhaps the night before depending on what you have going on – and utilising apps or lists that can help you with your organisation!
The joy of remote working is that you can set your own routine, but it can be easy to go the other way and get caught up in tasks without stopping. We suggest always getting up for some fresh air at regular intervals and taking a short break for lunch to clear your mind. Often you can be so engrossed in a task that you’ll forget to take time out, but you’ll thank yourself for it when you head back to your desk refreshed.
Ultimately, remote working isn’t for everybody and it won’t necessarily suit every company, but for a lot of us, it’s a fantastic way to work if you’re prepared to be disciplined, structured manage your time appropriately.