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While the current social norms have forced most companies to rely on remote workers, the situation may only be temporary. Once the restrictions are lifted, employees will probably return to their office jobs, leaving the comfort of their homes behind.
Still, if during this time you learned you would like to shift to working remotely full-time, make sure you have the right skills for it.
When you’re at home, there’s no boss or manager nearby to see you happily scrolling Facebook or Instagram instead of working on your already past deadline project. However, this is not exactly a good thing if you’re thinking about making this a permanent situation.
Working from home is only freeing when you can manage your tasks and stay on track regardless of the types of distractions.
Even more, you may be required to take on additional tasks such as troubleshooting technical issues (there’s no IT department representative to jump to your aid), making reports, researching, and more.
Now, if you know you’re easily distracted by Netflix or kids when you’re at home, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever become a remote worker. You just need some training and exercise to polish your self-management skills. In addition to this, you should take a PMP course, to understand how to be a better manager for yourself.
We all have those days (at home or at the office) when you move around all day but nothing gets done. For instance, you can feel beat down after a morning of reading and replying to emails, but no progress will be registered on your actual projects.
This can also happen at home, where it’s rather easy to lose track of time and forget about the actual tasks you must accomplish. As such, in order to stay productive, always set a series of goals for the day.
When you’re working in the office, with a team, it’s easy to ask for feedback and communicate new ideas. However, this can prove rather difficult when you try to do so via a video conferencing system, email, or chat. Things can get even more difficult when you have to do the thinking and the execution.
When at home, you have to learn how to come up with ideas and provide feedback on them. Set time aside to think and find a system that works for you. For instance, mind mapping is a great system as it allows users to organize their thoughts in a logical manner.
Whenever someone tells you that you need to manage your time better, they’re actually talking about attention. We all have the same number of hours in a day, yet some people manage to do a whole lot more than others.
Their secret? They are extremely careful about how they distribute their attention (or focus).
Our mind likes to wonder. In fact, scientists learned day-dreaming and mind-wondering are necessary for the brain, so don’t block this habit. Instead, you should find a way to include it in your daily activity without it taking a toll on your productivity.
In reality, we can’t maintain true focus for long, but we can train our brains and bodies to keep working on a task until the daily goal is reached.
Video conferences, chat groups, shared documents, collaborative tools, and more are on everyone’s lips right now. But we also have tons of new funny posts every day that prove people aren’t used to these technologies yet.
So, before you start a solo business or ask your company for a full-time remote work position, educate yourself on using modern communication tools. It’s a skill that will come in handy, regardless of your employment situation!
Remote workers have to solve their own technical issues. While most young adults know how to use a laptop or tablet and how to install a piece of software, there are more complicated issues to consider.
One such an issue is cybersecurity. The unprecedented number of people working from home at the beginning of 2020 has opened the door to a wide array of cyber attacks and data breaches. All these were possible because most home networks have basic level security (if any).
When working from a remote location, it is your responsibility to take care of technical issues and be aware of possible threats.
Whether you’re still employed but work remotely or you’ve chosen to work from home on your own, it’s important to be proactive. When you can take initiative and come up with interesting ideas, you show your co-workers or customers that you are self-reliant and reliable.
True, we should all have a strong sense of responsibility, but it becomes paramount when you represent yourself. When you’re in the office, things can be passed from one team member to another, but at home, you’re the one responsible for mistakes or delays.
Sadly, motivation doesn’t work on sheer willpower. And, when you’re home all day, it’s quite easy to find yourself bored and unchallenged. So, to avoid losing your motivation and, by default, your productivity, you must find ways to keep things interesting.
When you’re home all day, it’s quite easy to find yourself bored and unchallenged.
For instance, you can try several days in the week when you go work from a nearby coffee shop (to diversify the work environment). Another option is to intertwine your work with breaks during the day (for sport, day-dreaming, or working on personal projects).
When work and home are in the same location, it’s difficult to see the line in-between. As such, remote workers are more likely to work more hours and, due to modern devices, have a hard time breaking off work.
This can lead to burnout, lack of motivation, lapses in creativity, and even low productivity.
To avoid this, establish your working hours and your “you” hours — very much like it happens in a 9-to-5 job.
The difference? Now you’re the one calling the shots and setting the limits. Also, make it very clear to everyone in the team that, after a specific hour you won’t be replying to their messages or emails.
When you establish boundaries you show people you care about your work and your mental and physical health.
Make it very clear to everyone in the team that, after a specific hour you won’t be replying to their messages or emails.
Most of us need a sounding board to bounce ideas and it also doesn’t hurt to have a senior for guidance. But none of these happen when you’re alone, with just your laptop. Luckily, this also means you have access to a wide network of information, resources, and specialists on the Internet.
As such, learn to act whenever you feel you need to and take responsibility if something goes awry. Being independent means you’ll make mistakes and there won’t be anyone around to share the blame with you. But that’s OK, because this skill helps you grow and learn at quite an accelerated pace.
Specialists expect that in a few years, working from home will become the norm. People will be able to keep their job and have a personal life, but only if they learn how to be independent, proactive, and keep their devices safe online.
Erika Rykun is a copywriter and content manager. She is an avid reader and runner. You can get in touch with her on Twitter.