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Working Remotely: the Perks and the Quirks

Working Remotely When I tell people that I am able to work from home (or anywhere that has a decent Wifi connection), they always mention how lucky I am, you know, being able to roll out of bed and work from my couch in my sweats with my dog snuggled up next to me. But what most everyone forgets is that I am no longer able to partake in fun office jokes, or able to go to lunch with coworkers, and most of all I lack a definite separation between work and the rest of my life. I’ll fill you in on the luxuries of working remotely, and some of the complications that come with not being in an office setting.

PROS

  1. Not having to get ready in the morning. As a matter of fact, even if you HAVE to get out of your PJs, you’re able to do so at anytime. There have been multiple days in a row where I haven’t had to put makeup on, do my hair, or figure out an outfit. The lure of not having to do any of that is particularly freeing, especially if it’s snowy or rainy. Being able to stay in comfy sweats sure beats avoiding puddles while walking to the office or feeling blistering cold air hitting your face.
  2. Commute time is cut out. Remember how much it sucks being stuck in morning or evening rush hour? Working from home eliminates the need to be out at peak times where people are driving to and from work. This means if I choose to work at a coffee shop for the day, I can plan to work from home for an hour or two, then when everyone is at their desks, make my venture to my chosen destination.
  3. Save money on gas and lunch. Being in an office environment means either packing a lunch or joining coworkers going out to lunch. Being able to walk into the kitchen at any hour of the day and heat up dinner from the night before or cook a quick little meal, is so handy and saves a surprising amount of money.
  4. You’re off leash. Ever have one of those clients that make you want to rip your hair out? Are you paying attention; this is important!  When dealing with one of those stressful situations or any situation that throws off your work balance, it’s important to release that tension. Having a rough morning? Throw on your favorite Spice Girls song, lip sync, and dance your heart out- let yourself unwind. The best part, no one will see you.  Also, another great way to boost productivity could be going on a walk or doing in home gym videos, then re-address the task you’re working on.
IMG_3512CONS
  1. Distractions at home. Self discipline is a huge key when it comes to working remotely. Sure, in the office there is always that one coworker who is overly chatting, therefore distracting you from the tasks at hand. But now things such as movies, friends, and even pets can distract you throughout the day.
    • When dealing with at home distractions, I have found that listing out the set tasks for the day and making sure they get done, motivates me to stay focused. Sometimes, I watch movies to have a little background noise, but it’s always a movie I have already seen so that it requires very little of my attention. I work at home with my dog, and most days she sleeps, but she also is a puppy and wants to play. I ended up enrolling her in doggy daycare twice a week, so that she is able to get her energy out, and I am able to focus on work. Essentially, it might take some time to figure out what works best for you, but it’s much easier once you take the time to address what distractions you have and how to overcome them.
  2.  Isolation. The first few days of not having people bother you is actually pretty relaxing. But over time it does lonely. You begin to realize the in office communication you once got from your coworkers, is now entirely virtual.
    • This is where taking a day or two out of the week to visit a quiet coffee shop, or partnering company, or even collaborating with a family member to work at their house or yours comes in handy.
  3. Communication.  Working remotely, all of your communication with your team members is virtual. No one knows you’re working, unless you tell them. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed you end up having to wait for a response instead of going up to your coworkers desk and addressing it first hand. Note* This will only be an issue if you let it get the best of you.
    • Virtual Communication while working remotelyThe best advice I can give is to have open lines of communication during the collaborating hours you and your colleagues work. In my opinion, communicating over the top is always the best way to ensure your team gets a clear message on what you are doing. Telling them when you start working for the day, when you are going to lunch, and when you are calling it a day, makes it easier for them to know when you are available to collaborate. Using google chat, video messaging, or other communication sources to help address issues, or hold weekly meetings also helps make sure everyone is on the same page.

What I have learned
When done correctly, working remotely can actually make people extremely productive. With the flexible hours, minimal commutes, and the luxury of staying home, I personally find myself working more hours than if I were to go to an office everyday. Being in my own house working on a project, it seems sometimes the relativity of time gets lost, and where I would be working 9-5 at an office, it’s 630-7 and I think it’s only 3 or 4. It’s easy when waking up and going to work is walking down stairs and making my way to my couch (pants optional) I just tend to be more driven to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Marti

2 thoughts on “Working Remotely: the Perks and the Quirks”

  1. Nice Marti,

    for me the hardest has been the isolation issue, which sometimes makes me feel like a one man sweat shop, rat in a box, etc. and as great as virtual communication is, it can never replace real human interaction

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