Remote work is a growing trend, especially among IT companies. This trend has been part of our working culture since the beginning of Keitaro, a few years ago. And while it has a lot of benefits, you need to know how to utilize them well if you don’t want to be stuck at your home desk the whole day. Let’s go over the main things you need to consider in order to maintain a good work-life balance and get the best out of working remotely.
What exactly is Remote Work?
Any work that a person is doing from outside of an office is considered remote work. Whether you work part-time or full-time, you can complete your tasks from home, coffee shop or from any other place with a suitable working atmosphere. All you need is a laptop, charger and good internet connection.
In Keitaro, we are not exclusively working remote, we have the option to choose between working in one of our offices, or anywhere else. Some days I go to the office, but more often I work from home, since it gives me the chance to sleep a bit more in the morning and avoid a 30 minute bus ride to the office.
I am Marina, deputy product owner at Keitaro, and here are the most important things I learned from working (mostly) remotely in the past 2 years.
Remote Work Benefits
There are many benefits of remote work and I am going to cover some of the main ones, from my personal experience.
Moving from an office job to working remotely can be difficult in the beginning. But once I managed to create my own steady routine and learned to avoid being distracted by the TV, I found myself getting more done and being more focused on my tasks.
Working remotely gives you control over your workday and you are free to structure it to your best fit.
Saving time and money
For me, one of the main benefits of working remotely is the possibility to save time and money for transportation to and from the office. Being able to skip the 30-40 minutes bus ride during the morning rush hour, gives me time to sleep a bit longer and be refreshed for the day’s challenges. Even if I decide to work from a cafe that day, I would probably choose the closest one to my house and still get that extra sleep.
But it’s not just about sleeping in the morning. Going to the office would mean that you need to go the same route of transportation, to get home. And I think that most people would agree that after the end of an exhausting work day, there is nothing better than being able to lay down and rest right away, without spending half an hour or more to get back home.
Working remotely does not always mean that you will be working from home. But most of the time, that’s the case, which means that you can use your lunch break to eat a healthy home-cooked meal instead of going out to buy fast-food. If you are well organized, you can prepare your meals in advance and even have enough time to relax a bit before getting back to your daily tasks.
Healthy eating is not the only thing that you can enjoy. The time you save on transportation can be well used for a short daily exercise session.
This is one of my favourite pros of working remotely. I get to wear comfortable clothes, change my environment whenever I need more creativity, and listen to loud music that keeps me energized. And if I start losing focus around 2-3pm, I can take a break, go for a run and come back to my tasks later in the day.
Working remotely comes with its challenges. So, here are a few tips that can help you be more productive and manage your workday properly.
- Make a daily routine and stick to it – Create a routine that would look like a work day. This can vary from starting the workday at the same time each day, or having structured break times. It’s up to you.
- Determine the end of your workday – Sometimes working remotely, especially from home, can make you stretch your work throughout the whole day, without you even noticing it. It’s important to decide when your workday ends and your personal time begins.
- Create a dedicated workspace – Try to have one place where you would normally work, whether it be a distraction-free cafe near your home, or the desk in your room.
- Communicate and Engage with your colleagues – Don’t forget to keep the communication with your colleagues going. Whether you’re using Slack or any other online tool, it is crucial that you don’t isolate yourself.
- Minimize Distractions – Declutter the space around you, turn off social media notifications, and keep the TV turned off. Whenever you see something around you that needs attending to, just write it down as a note to look at, after your work day is over. If you work from home and don’t live alone, make it clear to everyone when your workday has begun and ended, so they won’t barge in and chat you up in the middle of a task.
- Take regular breaks – Sometimes when there is no one to suggest a coffee break, you might forget to move from your desk for a few hours. Try to have at least a few short breaks during the day.
If you are thinking of switching from an office job to working remotely, you need to have in mind that it will be a drastic change. You will need to improve your time management skills, learn to focus and get very self-organised. Remote work is not for everyone, if the above does not sound appealing don’t worry, only about 19% of the population enjoy remote working. But if you are one of those 19%, I hope that the tips listed above will help you enjoy your new work life.
Write back to me in the comments to tell me your experiences with remote working, the good the bad and the ugly!