In remote work, you can choose to work from anywhere. It could be your home office, a coffee shop, or even a coworking space.
When moving to a fully remote job, it can feel jarring to miss the social interactions within a colocated environment. To overcome this, make sure you’re intentional about connecting with team members.
Regardless of whether they work from home, at their coworking space or on the other side of the world in a different country, many remote employees find flexibility to be a major perk. This allows them to make work fit around their lifestyles, whether it’s taking care of young children or caring for elderly parents, while also saving time and money on commuting.
Moreover, working remotely can give people the opportunity to be more productive and creative by providing fewer distractions, greater independence, and the flexibility to work when they feel most inspired. Studies show that remote workers produce higher-quality results with up to 40% fewer mistakes. This is great for both the company and employee, as they spend less time correcting errors and more time focusing on their skills, delivering valuable contributions to the business.
When you’re interviewing for a remote job, ask how your employer supports flexible work. Some companies provide stipends to help you kit out your home office, while others have flexible schedules that can be arranged around childcare or travel plans. Others offer annual trips or meetups where team members come together in person.
Some people who work remotely feel a sense of belonging by finding a community of peers on remote-centric forums. Others have found their best work-life balance by establishing healthy, productive routines that include a set of daily habits, such as waking up at the same time each day and maintaining regular working hours. Others have found success by using technology to create a more collaborative workspace. For example, some of our Muse users have used cloud-based software to collaborate with their teams in an engaging, visual way by sharing GIFs, HD videos, screen recordings, and annotated screenshots.
Autonomy is a term that gets used in a lot of different contexts, but in the workplace it typically refers to employees being allowed freedom within the confines of company goals. The concept is important because it helps to build a culture of trust, which in turn can lead to healthy productivity levels and a sense of employee self-reliance.
However, there is a fine line between autonomy and freedom. A lack of supervision can lead to an inability to focus or even to procrastinate, and if there isn’t enough communication between remote workers, the team can fall behind on projects. In addition, new remote workers may not know how to best work without their coworkers around them, which could lead to inefficiencies and missed deadlines.
To avoid these problems, it’s a good idea for companies to provide new remote workers with training on how to properly use company-wide systems and tools and how to communicate with their teammates in a productive way. It’s also helpful to encourage employees to try out different workspaces and break up their day in a variety of ways. This can help them stay motivated and focused and will remind them why they decided to go the remote route in the first place.
In the end, the choice to do remote work can depend on a number of factors: less commuting, a more flexible schedule, and a higher degree of autonomy all contribute to overall job satisfaction. But it’s not for everyone, and if you find that working remotely stunts your productivity, then you may want to reconsider your work options. You might also benefit from learning more about how to manage remote teams, or explore these free resources on remote work.
3. Flexibility in your schedule
Workplace flexibility is a benefit for employees that allows them to choose where they want to work and when. Remote workers often save time and money on commuting, as they don’t have to travel through traffic or pay for public transport.
This flexible scheduling can also make it easier for parents and caregivers to balance work with family responsibilities. One study found that women with children are 32% less likely to leave their jobs if they have the option of working from home.
However, remote work can create blurry boundaries between work and home life. Overtime and a lack of a clear schedule can lead to an overreliance on digital tools, which makes it hard to break away from your phone or laptop when you get home. In fact, 22% of remote workers struggle to unplug from work and report a lack of work-life balance.
Luckily, you can take steps to prevent these issues from arising. For example, if you’re working from home, try using a Pomodoro time management technique, which focuses on work breaks. The idea is to work in 25-minute intervals followed by a short break. It’s also a good idea to keep your workspace clean and avoid eating at your desk, which can distract you from work.
For managers, implementing project management software can help you keep track of the progress made by remote team members. Popular tools like Trello and Asana allow for asynchronous collaboration and make it easy to see the status of each task. Having an open dialogue with your staff and regular check-ins can be helpful for maintaining productivity. For instance, if you have forecasted that it will take two days for an employee to complete a task and they come back with it submitted on the third day, that’s an indicator they may be wasting time.
4. Flexibility in your environment
Working remotely is a great option for many people. It offers a lot of flexibility for workers and provides benefits like saved office space, lower supply costs and improved morale. For employers, it provides higher employee retention rates and increased productivity. However, remote work doesn’t come without challenges. Some employees may struggle to stay focused or find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
To thrive in a remote work environment, it is essential to create a workspace that is optimized for focus. This means eliminating distractions such as noise, visual or physical clutter, and ensuring that the space is comfortable and ergonomic. In addition, it is important to set clear and realistic expectations for remote workers and to monitor performance on a regular basis. Additionally, it is important to use a communication system that supports both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, especially when working with teams that span time zones.
In addition, it is helpful for new remote workers to give themselves permission to try out different strategies that may not be possible in a colocated space. For example, some remote workers may prefer to search documents rather than tapping colleagues on the shoulder when they have a question. Additionally, some remote workers may prefer to use video conferencing or instant messaging services for meetings and collaborative projects.
It is also a good idea to start a document listing things that are not possible in a colocated workplace. This will help employees understand the constraints of working remotely and make compromises to accommodate the needs of their job, family, and lifestyle. For example, a list might include dropping children off at school, participating in volunteer activities outside of work hours, visiting friends and family outside of peak holiday seasons, learning a language abroad, traveling for leisure or business, and even purchasing a wardrobe that is more functional when working from home.
5. Flexibility in your lifestyle
For some people, the greatest benefit of remote work is that it allows them to create a lifestyle that fits their own needs and aspirations. For example, if you’re a night owl, working remotely can allow you to schedule work in the evening and free up your day for leisure or errands. If you’re a parent, you can schedule childcare or school activities around your work hours. Similarly, if you’re an avid learner or want to pursue further education in your field, working remotely can give you the flexibility to do so without sacrificing other important aspects of your life.
In addition, working remotely can also offer the chance to explore unique work environments that aren’t possible in a colocated office setting. For instance, many employees choose to invest in state-of-the-art technology or furnishings that make them more productive when they work from home. If a company allows it, workers may also be allowed to take their laptops outside the home for the occasional coffee shop or co-working session to break up their workdays and provide some variation in their environment.
However, it’s important for remote workers to recognize that these types of distractions can be a trap. Unless you’re able to set aside a space for your work that’s separate from your home, you could end up spending more time on your job than is actually necessary. You should also set firm boundaries around when you will respond to work-related emails or other forms of communication and establish the proper modes of communication for the project at hand. Ideally, your supervisor will also specify what your productivity expectations should be so that you don’t feel confused or misunderstood as a remote worker.