During the pandemic, many employers switched from an in-person to a remote workforce as much as any given position would allow. If you are one of those people, you’ve likely already established a fairly routine schedule of working, Zoom meetings, office space and trying to separate work from home life (though arguably this has not been easy for anyone).
As some employers decide to bring a portion of their workers back to the office, or continue with a hybrid model, you may be considering whether this is right for you or if working from home offers benefits you may not have considered before like no commute, no dry-cleaning bills, the ability to flex your hours a bit and being able to work from anywhere.
Assuming you can decide based on your current projects to be fully remote, there are a few considerations to keep in mind and questions you’ll want to answer honestly (if even only to yourself) to ensure your professional success.
If you’ve struggled to keep distractions at bay (not including remote learning if you are a parent), working from home — at least in its current form — may not be the best option. Of course, there are distractions in the office with chatty co-workers, office parties and getting pulled into unexpected meetings — but if you find difficulty concentrating for more than a few minutes at a time without putting in a load of laundry, turning on the TV, or generally getting off-task, you need to decide if you will ultimately be successful.
Perform a time audit using an app like RescueTime that shows exactly where and when you are being productive and where you can improve.
The good news about working from home is you’ve inevitably learned to master new skills like bookkeeping, project management, communications, tech support and task-master. However, those skills may not exactly translate to your core day-to-day. Professional development is critical to keeping core skills sharp and learning new skills, especially in fields like technology. You’ll want to know if your employer has a proven method for delivering learning management and education, professional development, and upskilling/reskilling training remotely, so you have the same advantages as those in the office.
It can be hard to know when the day begins and ends when you work remotely, which can have a negative effect on your mental health and personal relationships. While this may be good for a company’s overall productivity, it can often feel like you’re always “on.”
Get a desk or a clear office space set up in your home and use it. It can be tempting to work from the couch or your bed, but it’s harder to have standard office hours or put your work away at the end of the day. When your work day is done, leave your laptop in that space and shut the door for the day. The work will be there tomorrow.
Being open with your employer on exactly what you need to be successful is critical, as is continued open, direct communication.
Working remotely has a ton of advantages that enable you to live a more flexible, healthy, less stressful life. Setting yourself up for success just takes a bit of trial and error, research, and commitment to stick to a few basic rules. Once those are established, the rest is up to you!