These days, it isn’t always necessary to commute to work every day. More and more people are working from home, or from any location where they can have access to the Internet. Working remotely offers a lot of benefits and freedoms, and there are many jobs that can easily be done from home. Plenty of companies are now offering work-from-home positions, and there are also thousands of freelance jobs available for those who want to work remotely and be their own boss. But, working remotely also has its drawbacks, because it can be too easy to slack off and not get things done. Here are some tips that will help you to be a productive and successful remote worker.
1. Get Dressed
A lot of people think that being able to work in their jammies is a dream come true. But, successful remote workers get dressed before the begin working. When you sit around in pajamas with blankets and pillows, it is all too easy to end up getting lazy and not getting anything done because you are too comfy. Plus, if you have to meet with your team or clients, you will be all dressed and ready to go, even if you are only given a moment’s notice. It will also help to boost your self-esteem when you look good, even if you are the only person to see it.
2. Set a Schedule
One of the great things about being a remote worker is that you can set a schedule that works for you. If you are morning person, you can start your day early. If you are more of a night owl, you can begin working at midnight. Just remember, once you set a schedule, you need to stick with it in order to get your work done. Create a schedule that will allow you to get the most done with as few interruptions as possible. Don’t forget to include appointments, meetings, and allow some time for unexpected interruptions. That way, you won’t become frazzled when the unexpected happens. It is a good idea to use an employee timesheet template to help keep track of your schedule, projects, hours or work, earnings, etc.
3. Group Your Meetings
If you are required to have meetings with your team, clients, etc., make sure that you try to schedule everything to take place back-to-back, within the same time block. That way, you don’t have to stop and start what you are doing to go from one meeting to another. You can get them done all at once, and get back to work without having to worry about further interruptions. If you have other appointments, you can schedule them in the same manner so you can get things done faster and be more productive.
4. Create a Dedicated Workspace
When you set up a space that is specifically for your work and nothing else, it is a lot easier to get your work done because you don’t have a lot of distractions. Find a room in your home that is not used for other purposes, and turn that into your office. Of course, you always have the freedom to switch it up once in a while, and create a new and different workspace to keep you from becoming bored and ending up being easily distracted, and then you won’t be nearly as productive.
5. Become Proficient with Email
As a remote worker, you are going to be using your email more than ever, so it is time to become an expert at it. First of all, be very precise in your wording, as it is easy to take things the wrong way in email communications. Keep all emails documented, and make sure that you take the time to read and answer all of your business emails. Use your email to share everything with your team, from face-to-face conversations to online conversations, and more. Take advantage of this important tool, and set up distribution lists to make sure that the emails you send always get to the right parties.
6. Use the Right Tools
Your workspace should include all of the tools you will need to get your work done. As a remote worker, there are specific tools you are going to need, including a headset, a laptop or other mobile device, video conferencing (Skype is a good example), meeting tools (LiveMeeting is a popular option for many remote workers), a microphone (external and noise-cancelling, not the laptop internal microphone, which is low quality), etc. Not only do you need to use the right tools, you also need to make sure that you know how to use them properly, in order to get the most out of them.
7. Switch Up Your Workplace
Because you work remotely, you are not tied down to any one specific location. You might be surprised at how much more productive you can be if you move to a different location once in a while. Instead of sitting inside, move to your yard, or to a local coffee shop. It is going to help to re-energize you, and you won’t be bored by looking at the same surroundings all the time. Working remotely is about freedom, after all, and as long as you have an Internet connection, you have the freedom to work from just about anywhere in the world.
When you are a remote worker, it can be really easy to start becoming more and more of a loner. You need to make sure that in addition to scheduling your work time, that you also schedule time to get out and be social with others. You don’t want to become that person who never leaves their home and becomes the neighborhood “hermit”. If you are introverted, it is even easier to slip into hermit mode, so you need to make sure that you are at least getting out to chill with a best friend, family member, co-worker, etc. Take opportunities to get out into the world and away from your home once in a while. It’s good for your mind and body.
Jane Hurst is a content manager from San Francisco. She is a business writer and writing coach. Find Jane on Twitter.