If there is one thing we learned about working during the past couple of years, it’s that most of us are able to do our jobs as efficiently, or in some cases more efficiently, from a remote setting. Is the office a thing of the past? Not yet, but many companies are quickly realizing that a remote work environment can cut costs, keep employees happy, and even attract international talent. Many people also realized that working in a comfortable and productive work environment can lead to a more enjoyable career. If you are a remote worker or would like to go remote, here are 4 useful tips for a successful remote career!
Having the Right Equipment
No matter where you work from, you will still need the right tools and equipment to ensure you can do your work effectively. We must remember that when working remotely, you still need to perform well at your job. You will need to earn the trust of your employer, or if you are a freelancer, you will need to work hard to continue to get more job opportunities in the future.
Nearly every remote job is based on the internet in some capacity, so for your sake and sanity, you will want to invest in a strong internet connection. When working remotely, you will definitely find yourself in a lot of virtual meetings. The last thing you want when on a video call with an important client, is to cut in and out or drop off the call altogether!
Having a lagging or weak internet connection can also cut your productivity. Whether it is creating content or doing research, nothing will slow down your momentum like an internet connection that keeps dropping. If you have a larger house, you can also consider a WiFi booster to ensure you have strong internet in every corner of your home.
Having a Good Laptop that Fits Your Needs
Depending on the type of work you are doing remotely, you will definitely want to invest in a good laptop for working from home. If you know you will be doing a lot of client calls, make sure you have a good web camera to present yourself in the best quality video. If your work requires a lot of different programs or applications, you’ll want to get a laptop with a high amount of RAM. Or maybe you need to do illustrations or design and a laptop with a 4k screen will suit you best.
Once you have the right laptop, it’s also helpful to get accessories that can help you do your job better. If you know you will be in a lot of video calls, invest in a good pair of headphones with a microphone so you can hear and be heard clearly. A wireless mouse and keyboard can also help make your setup more flexible, and adding another monitor can really boost your efficiency. Finally, don’t look past investing in a great work desk and chair, because if you know you’ll be putting in long hours, these will be helpful for your back and neck health.
The one drawback of working remotely is that we miss out on that face-to-face communication. That’s why it is so important when you do get to chat with your clients or co-workers on a video call, that you over communicate with them. Providing feedback on work immediately is crucial to working remotely. This communication allows your entire team to be on the same page, even if you are all located in different parts of the world.
Be ready to be inclusive and provide clear instructions or expectations to all of your co-workers or clients. With the new remote work environment, there’s a good chance you’ll be working with people in another part of the country, or sometimes, the world. To ensure they feel included and a part of the team, remember to check in with them regularly and clearly communicate with them so they don’t feel isolated.
Try to Get ‘Facetime’ Virtually
If you ask everyone who works remotely what they miss the most at the office, it’s chatting with their co-workers about non-work related topics. Hanging around the water cooler has been a staple in offices for decades now, so it’s important to continue to keep the team together even in a remote environment.
A great idea to combat this is to schedule regular meetings with your entire team to meet and chat about non-work related things. Not only does this give everyone a nice break during the middle of the day, but it also keeps everyone in touch with each other. If you have an entirely remote team, find a time every week that works to have a virtual water cooler chat or a virtual coffee break.
Having a Dedicated Area for Work
If you want to work effectively from a remote location, you will need to dedicate a space that you can work in. This area should have no distractions, be dedicated to only working, and also look professional when you are on a video call. Nobody wants to see you working from your own bed, so make sure you choose a spot that is appropriate for others to see as well!
Dedicating a clean and clutter-free environment for your work space is important for you to get into the mood to work. It should have plenty of space for your external monitors, mechanical keyboards, and external docking station. If you are in the same room as a television or a gaming console, chances are you’ll find yourself distracted at some point during the day. Another crucial part of choosing the right workspace is to make sure it is a comfortable one. Make sure your laptop is positioned at eye level, and that you have a good quality chair to sit in to prevent any stiffness from working all day.
Maintaining Your Personal Life
Perhaps the most important part about working remotely is separating your work life at home from your personal life. Remote workers tend to work longer hours and not step away for proper breaks. It’s actually the opposite effect of what you would assume for people not working in the office.
Make sure to schedule yourself proper and regular breaks during the day and even step outside for some fresh air. This can help prevent things like eye strain from looking at your computer screen all day long. Going for a walk at lunch is an excellent way to get in some exercise and steps, while also giving your brain a break and taking care of your mental health.
If you feel overwhelmed by the constant stress, hiring a life coach can go a long way in making your day easier to deal with. A life coach can help you sort through your priorities and design the life that suits your needs the best. Of course, a coach isn’t the same as a therapist, but they can help you feel less overwhelmed in general and help you tackle stress better.
Remote work is a generally new concept for most of us, so it’s understandable if you are unsure of what you need to get started. Before you get up and running with your remote job, you’ll need to equip yourself with the proper technology. When you have the right technology in your hands, set up a space dedicated to your work that is distraction free. Finally, when it is time to sit down and remotely work, make sure you take care of yourself by scheduling, and taking, regular breaks.
Jay Wu is the founder of Money Knock, an online hub for remote workers and finance nerds. Jay has over a decade of experience in finance and is well versed in making remote work sustainable and productive.