So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and start working remotely. The appeal is obvious: working from the comfort of your own home, wearing your pajamas all day, being close or more available to your family, and having the (possible) freedom to set your own schedule.
Whatever reasons have led you to this point, know that you are in good company. According to the most recent census data, 5.2% of US employees (or approximately 8 million people) worked from home in 2017. That figure is up from 3.3% in 2000. Eight million remote workers are nothing to scoff about. In fact, that’s a significant number and one that will only continue to increase.
But making the transition from working in a typical environment to your home can be tricky for some people. It doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re working for a managed PC support company, an insurance firm, or for a business like BairesDev that does QA outsourcing, working from home might be a perfect fit for you.
If you opt to go that route, how can seamlessly transition? Let’s see if we can help you with that.
Take It Slow At First
Don’t just dive into the deep end. Although it might be tempting to just pull the plug on that cubicle or office and start working from home, your best move would be to take it slow at first. Work from home one or two days a week for a while. You want to give yourself time to ease into this.
Believe it or not, the transition from working in an organized, controlled environment to a lesser organized, sometimes chaotic environment can be a challenge. You won’t be guided by the same rules you have within the framework of your company, so you’re going to have to give yourself time to figure it all out. Take it one slow step at a time.
You’re going to need to put rules and boundaries in place, not just for you but for those who live in your house. You’ll need to block out sections of the day that are dedicated only to work. Once you’ve decided on those times, you need to make sure that you and those you live with respect your time.
One thing you must remember is that you’re coming from an environment where everyone has the same goal—be productive and get all work done by the end of the day. When working remotely, you might be around kids who don’t work, spouses that may have a different work schedule, roommates that are just hanging out. You could also be faced with other interruptions: laundry, deliveries, meals, emergencies. You have to set boundaries that keep you from those distractions.
For example: while you’re working, you are not to be expected to multitask with laundry or other duties. That doesn’t mean you must be absolutely rigid with that schedule. You can always give yourself flex hours, where you can work on tasks that are of lesser importance. That way, when an interruption occurs, you won’t feel guilty about giving in.
Have Face To Face Meetings
This might seem counterproductive, but once you reach the point where you’re working remotely 100% of the time, you’re going to need to schedule face to face meetings with fellow employees. With jobs that keep you out of the office all the time, you can start to feel disconnected from your fellow employees. You’ll start thinking that you’re no longer part of the team.
When you work with a company that offers services like outsourced QA testing, you really need to work tightly with your fellow staff members. That can be a challenge when you never see the team. To that end, schedule regular face to face meetings. You can supplement this with online meetings through tools like Zoom.
No matter how you do it, make the effort for some face to face time.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
There will be times when you feel isolated from the rest of the company. Don’t let this happen. To avoid that, use every line of communication offered to you. However, to make that work to your advantage, you must know the best practices for remote communication.
Does your team prefer to use Slack for the daily back and forth? Are there certain team members that like email correspondence? Does your company require a specific application for team communication/collaboration? Do you need to use a VPN?
These are all questions you must have answered to make that transition as seamless as possible.
Be Prepared to Stumble
You’re going to stumble from time to time. Very few can go from working forty to sixty hours a week at a business location to working those hours at home and not make mistakes. You’ll forget meetings, you’ll miss deadlines, you’ll find yourself frustrated and wondering if you’ve made the right choice.
Know that’s going to happen from the beginning. When those stumbles do occur, you’ll be prepared for them. The reward for giving yourself the necessary time to make the adjustments is quite fulfilling. Working remotely from home can be incredibly rewarding and peaceful. Put in the necessary effort and what might seem like a monumental task will be smooth sailing from start to finish.