All of the benefits of working remotely--being closer to your family, travel, freedom--don't come easily. You have to earn them.
But once you do, you'll realize that remote work can be where you are your very best and most productive. Some of the world's most successful companies are embracing it; many were remote from day one.
The office has always felt like the cornerstone of work in the business world. That's all changed, and remote working has flipped this model on its head.
You'll probably work harder than you ever have before. But you won't get extra credit points for staying late at the office. If anything, you'll get a little dose of judgment passed because you "get to work from home.”
Suck it up and know that it's par for the course with remote work. Close your home office door and buckle down.
Because when you work remotely, nothing is given to you; you have to actively build the work life that you always dreamed of. And you can be the most productive you’ve ever been. Here's why.
Working Remotely Is More Social
It sounds counterintuitive, but working without a brick-and-mortar office and co-workers you see in person every day can actually be a lot more social.
When you go into an office every day, life feels more rhythmic and naturally less spontaneous. At the end of the day, the temptation is to just shut off and relax. But when you're working remotely, it's more important to prioritize time and relationships throughout the day. This leads to more meaningful social interactions and more flexibility in your schedule.
Remote work actually does make many of us more socially engaged throughout the day. After the workday, we're hungry to get out in the world and socialize, not just hunker in and space out in front of the television.
There is a loneliness to the workday, sure. But there are ways around it. Sqwiggle is a Web-based tool that's a great way to stay connected with your team members when you're working remotely, by offering an always-on video workroom that runs on very low bandwidth. It makes remote work feel as if you're sitting at a table, face-to-face, with your co-workers.
Remote Workers Make Healthier Decisions
How many vending machines does your home office have? What about co-workers bringing in donuts?
At a traditional office, the temptations of sugary snacks are everywhere. Not to mention the colleagues making trips to fast food joints for lunch.
What you eat affects your productivity in ways you might not have realized. Sugary and processed foods--like those found around an office building--spike your energy, then send it crashing down. The kind of grocery store fare you're more likely to have at home does the opposite, giving you complex carbs that keep energy stable all day. Just stay away from the candy bars.
An amazing way to stay accountable is by working with a remote fitness coach at Fitocracy. Check in with your coach on a daily basis about what you’ve been eating, and this expert will help you tweak your diet and exercise so you can be healthy and reach your fitness goals.
Remote Workers Stay on Task by Tracking Productivity
Measuring productivity is important. It's intrinsic in all people to want to know that what we're doing today is actually paying off.
The only way we can achieve this kind of insight and transparency on our progress is to avidly measure our daily tasks. Once we place a direct value on our productivity, we can make adjustments based on the result. And we can use this data to set good goals.
Setting goals is the linchpin of any good productivity strategy. The most powerful and prominent people in history are all widely regarded as great goal setters. There's a great reason behind it: Goals work.
According to the most thorough study on goal setting to date, by psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, very specific and challenging goals such as "Create three logo variations by the end of the day" push people to work harder than nonspecific goals like "Work on logo variations."
An easy way to track and measure your goals is by using iDoneThis. At the beginning of the day, set your goals. At the end of the day, the app will remind you what your goals were and ask you which ones you accomplished.
Create a Scientifically Optimized Home Office
Let's talk about the obvious remote-work benefit. The one all your friends and family members will be jealous of: the opportunity to make a home office exactly as you want it.
There's a science to a great home office. Done right, it can make you light years more productive than your nonremote counterparts.
One study by Sheffield Hallam University found that an organized workspace with plenty of light and free of distraction contributes greatly to your ability to focus on the task at hand.
And an amazingly quantitative study performed by Cornell University directly correlates room temperature to the amount of errors in a given task. The findings show that the most errors were made at 21 degrees Celsius, or 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
But try tweaking the thermostat at your office job and see how that goes over. At home, use a Nest Thermostat to adjust the temperature of the room from your phone, so your work flow doesn’t get disrupted.
Customization like this is the reason remote working is great. It's certainly challenging. You'll have a lot of freedom and decisions that other workers don't face. But if done right, it can be the most productive workplace you've ever experienced.
This essay was adapted from the ebook The Comprehensive Guide to Remote Working.