Whether you’re a freelancer, work from home, have a satellite office or travel for your job, being a remote employee is both liberating and a challenge. Not working out of a traditional office definitely has its perks but it takes a lot of self-discipline and skill to do your job well. The tips that follow will help set you up for success as a remote employee and get work done at max efficiency.
It’s crucial to establish measurable and specific goals for yourself as a remote employee. You can guide your focus and progress by creating benchmarks you want to attain and then look back on to ensure you’re moving forward in your work. For those who are their own boss, this could include writing down the amount of work you want to do by a certain date. Perhaps you sew niche costumes and sell them via Etsy—strategically plan out your calendar to target ideal dates where the need for your costumes will spike (like Halloween), and make it your goal to put together a certain amount by that deadline. On top of your personal work ambitions, set expectations and standards with your supervisors as well, if you have them. This way they’ll know when to check in with you and assess the effectiveness of your efforts thus far.
Manage Your Schedule
When you work remotely, you ultimately have your own schedule at leisure. Because a lot of your work is judged based on output and not the time you put into it, you get great freedom to run your work and personal life as you please. But this can be a double-edged sword if you don’t exercise strong time management skills. Try to designate regular work hours for yourself and make these hours known to others you work with. This will give you a sense of regularity and balance for your personal time so you’re not constantly at someone’s beck and call 24/7. At the same time, you also want to remain flexible and accessible to establish reliability and trust with colleagues and clients. If you travel and work in various different time zones, try using Every Time Zone. It’s an application that’ll help you keep track of exactly what time zone every person on the team is working out of, which allows for proper scheduling of communications and virtual meetings with others you may be working with in a different time zone.
Get Actual Facetime
Although conference calls are becoming more popular with the rise of advanced technology, nothing can really compare to the effectiveness of face-to-face meetings. Make it a point to visit your office’s headquarters as much as possible. Or if that’s not a practical option, at least try getting lunch with supervisors or coworkers any chance you get. This can help build a more personalized rapport and give off the impression that you are invested in your job. You can also continue to have virtual face-to-face meetings thanks to video technology we have available. Google Hangouts lets you communicate with coworkers through video conferencing as well chat live through messaging.
Create a Remote Office Space
Just because you’re working remotely and not in a traditional office setting doesn’t mean you can’t set up your own space to support the cause. Invest in a solid laptop so you can take it with your wherever you decide to work, be it coffee shop or on the plane. If you work from home, create a dedicated space for a home office. Set up a monitor, keyboard, desk and comfortable office chair—this works to make home feel like a real office and helps you get in the career-driven mindset as soon as you enter the space. Another key component of remotely working successfully is having reliable communication services that let you work virtually anywhere. There’s a multitude of cell phone plans from carriers like T-Mobile that provide unlimited data and strong network connection, as well as free international calling and Wi-Fi services.
There should be a strategy in all that you do—especially when it comes to working remotely. Setting up a solid foundation for remote work success will help you create focus, build positive professional relationships and work efficiently. With these tricks of the remote employee trade, you can enjoy the benefits and liberty that come with working out of the corporate office while still getting the job done, and done well.