Remote working is something many of us long for, especially when standing on a platform at 7am in the pouring rain waiting for a delayed train. Not only does remote working cut out the horrendous hours of commuting it also offers workers the opportunity to be flexible, work from home, have more time with family, make more money and work in a way that suits you and your lifestyle.
Although working remotely can be the envy of all those nine-to-five employees out there who suit up every day, brave the commute to work and spend eight hours in an uninspiring office cube, remote working is not always as blissful as it seems. Working alone, in different locations and on different networks each week can present a whole new set of challenges.
Many remote workers struggle to overcome the constant distractions that arise in an informal work space, including interruptions from family members, cats walking over the keyboard or the constant temptations of the television and fridge. All of these things can impact your working day. Another big obstacle to overcome is how to communicate effectively without face-to-face contact, there is a lot of truth in the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ proverb. Although we benefit from the speedy technology of email, phones and web chats, nothing can beat the personal nature of a traditional one-on-one conversation.
This can manifest itself in many ways – perhaps most painfully as a lack of IT support. When something goes wrong with technology you can only rely on yourself to remedy the problem. As infuriating as those office helpdesks can be you realise how invaluable they were when you are stuck at home with a frozen computer screen and a list of tasks as long as your arm.
Contrary to popular belief, remote working can see you working more hours than you would in a normal office environment and a work –life balance can become difficult to maintain. So as you can see, the life of a remote worker isn’t all lazy mornings, long lunches and no stress!
The resources available to remote workers are better and more reliable than ever nowadays, with email, wi-fi, smartphones, video chat and a whole host of web-based management tools. As long as you can get your head around some of these, and pick up some basic tech support skills (which you will – one way or another!) you are sure to get you through a working day no matter what environment you find yourself in.
Another key factor to becoming a successful remote worker is the ability to be self disciplined, so that you can productively work from your sofa, an airport lounge or a Starbucks café without getting distracted.
Despite the problems and complications which can come with remote working, there is no getting over the unbeatable flexibility that you will experience and the productivity you will achieve – you just have to learn a few new tricks first!