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5 tips for successfully working remotely

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Remote working is changing the way both people and businesses work. So, with the number of remote workers significantly on the rise, we take a look at what this phenomenon is, the pros and cons and share our tips on how to make it a success.

What is remote working?

In simple terms, remote working is where you carry out work from a location other than your employer’s workplace. This could include a huge range of places, from a home office and co-working space to a hotel or even a café.

This more flexible way of working is becoming increasingly popular and we could continue to see a staggering change in the years ahead. Virgin Media Business predict 60% of employees will regularly work from home by 2022 and according to research from Office Angels, a third of employees think commuting will be a thing of the past by 2036.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working?
Like anything, there are a number of pros and cons. Some people may instantly see the benefits that this new way of working brings, but others may need a little bit of persuasion to move away from a more traditional office approach…

Advantages:

  1. Flexibility – Some people can struggle with a 9 to 5 routine, such as parents needing to pick kids up from school. Remote working therefore provides you with more flexibility and puts you in charge of your own schedule.
  2. Cost savings – When you add it all up, travelling into work every day can be costly. Remote working means you can work from home, so you no longer need to pay for expensive train tickets. You can also make lunch and drinks at home, so no need to pop out to buy a sandwich every day. This means more money in your pocked at the end of each month.
  3. Productivity – Managers may worry that employees can become less productive working from home, but the opposite could actually be true. Stanford University reveals that remote workers can be 13% more productive. Not only can you work in the time you would have been commuting, but you can be more focused and have fewer distractions than in a traditional office.
  4. Morale – Working outside of the office and having more flexibility can often make remote workers happier, which in turn can make you more motivated.

Disadvantages:

  1. Lack of routine – Although some people may thrive in an environment where they control their own schedule, others may struggle to manage with the lack of a solid structure.
  2. Collaboration and communication – When you work from home, you can no longer walk to someone’s desk to ask a quick question or have an impromptu brain-storming session. However, there are a number of ways around this.
  3. Culture – Working in an office can have its downsides, but working on your own also comes with its challenges. You may lose the daily chit-chat around the water cooler, or after work drinks on a Friday, however just because you work remotely, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever meet face-to-face, or build a positive team culture in other ways.
  4. Productivity – You may have noticed that productivity was also in the advantages section, but it can also be a disadvantage. You need to be extremely organised and disciplined to concentrate all day on your own. If not, then your productivity can quickly decrease. After all, you may not think anyone will notice if you sit around in your PJ’s all day whilst watching TV.

How can you make remote working a success?

Regardless of these cons, it is possible to make remote working work for you. Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

  1. Create a productive workspace – If you plan on working remotely on a regular basis, make sure you create a dedicated, quiet spot for you to work, without distractions. Ensure you have all the equipment and stationary you need at hand (such as a printer, pen and paper), so you can get stuck into your work without having to stop and start.
  2. Stay organised – Ensure that any meetings with colleagues and managers are added into your calendar. Also make sure you plan the tasks you need to carry out each day, so you have a list to work through methodically. You could try using tools such as Freedcamp to easily track your time and help stay on schedule.
  3. Keep communicating – Just because you are not physically in the office, it doesn’t mean all communication should stop. There are so many ways to communicate with people remotely, from simply picking up the phone, to email, Skype, GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts.
  4. Collaborate – Even when you’re working remotely, you can still work as a team and collaborate on projects. There are lots of different tools available to help you discuss ideas, track progress, share documents and much more. Start by taking a look at DropBox, Zoho Projects, Trello, Slack and Huddle.
  5. Get out of the house – This may seem slightly counterintuitive, but ensure you do occasionally get out of the house, even if it’s just for a quick walk for some fresh air or to grab a coffee. It will help to refresh your focus and keep you motivated for the rest of the day. Don’t forget that you can still meet up with colleagues too for face-to-face meetings if you feel it will help, as well as those rewarding Friday afternoon drinks!

We hope you have found this advice helpful. As you can see, remote working does provide huge benefits, but it may not be right for everyone. However, a key element that helps make remote working possible is technology and this is only going to develop and improve more over time.

Do you work remotely on a regular basis? Let us know your top tips for making it a success. Leave us a comment in the box below…

About Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. Twitter: https://twitter.com/Liz_Harmon Google+: https://plus.google.com/+opencolleges Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OpenColleges/?fref=ts Website: www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers

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