Working remotely; whether you work from home or are a digital nomad, there are some things we all share. Firstly, it’s that most people don’t have much of an idea of how it really works. They either have these grand images of someone who can sleep in all day and get in time to play with their kids, exercise and essentially do whatever they want. Or those who sit on a beach all day lounging in a hammock maybe with a laptop.
But for those of us that do it, you know that’s not the case. For those of you considering working remotely, here are some of the realities you’ll soon face.
You’ll have a lot more flexibility
Whether you’re a contract worker, freelancer, entrepreneur, or what have you – you’ll often have the chance to choose when you work. Maybe not all the time but you certainly won’t have the typical 9-5 restrictions. Due to this, your life changes from most peoples. You can work from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection and work at your own pace. You won’t get the same TGIF feelings as most and your work/life balance will actually become much more difficult. Because you won’t have as much work and life separation you need to create that for yourself.
Of course, when building your business you may need to work crazy hours every day a week to build up your client list or get your website booming. More often than not, if you’re not working on a remote team for a company, you become all roles and you are responsible for yourself and your success. You are in charge of every aspect of your career. You’re the one doing your marketing, your content creation, your bookkeeping, your customer service, absolutely everything. Of course, not all remote jobs have these things, but you get the point.
Finding a routine when working remotely
When you’re home or settled somewhere, it can be difficult to feel motivated or work efficiently. There are endless distractions. That book you wanted to read, a movie to watch, ALL the food to eat. Even less fun distractions like cleaning can get the way. For the digital nomads your travel lifestyle may get in the way of work and vice versa. Oh, should I go explore this new city – or go sit in my hotel or a Starbucks and get some things done? Of course, the work pays for the travel lifestyle – but there’s just so much to see!
Developing some sort of routine when working remotely is important. Try to find a separate work area. Either in your home, a coffee shop, or a co-working space. Something to spatially give you a work/life separation. If you’re in your home a lot, do try to get out from time to time. Even just to work somewhere else for a little bit. This will force you to put on real clothes and have human interactions. It’s strange how many days can pass without talking to a real person. Working remotely doesn’t give you a workplace social life, so you need to create one for yourself.
Working remotely vs. Traditional Work
Beyond what’s already mentioned, when you’re working remotely you need to keep in mind that you now have complete dependence on technology. Sure, you can work from anywhere, but that constant search for wifi can be frustrating, and make sure you back ALL your work up. Despite this, there’s plenty of time you can do more than if you were to work in a more traditional setting. You can work at the hours you feel most productive in. Also, that head cold you have? Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to go commute to work and deal with people. You can sit at home looking terrible and still get something done if you need to. Speaking of that commute – not having that is fantastic and a big plus for me. Why make the work day longer than it needs to be? Plus, you save money on not having to drive places. However, remote work is often less stable than traditional work, and you may not always get a steady paycheck.
If working remotely is something you’re considering, but you’re not ready to make the full leap out on your own, look for companies where remote work is an option. You’ll likely be joining a remote team where you collaborate through apps like Skype, Slack, Zoom, Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox and various other technologies.
My Verdict on Working Remotely?
Love it. I feel so much more effective in my work. I also give myself a sense of responsibility, autonomy, and purpose, that you simply won’t get from many companies. The self-accountability can be a little daunting at times, and of course so is the lack of stability. I really do believe that with working remotely you get out what you put into it, and it can open the doors to so many more opportunities.