Working Remotely

About 6 months ago I posted about remote work. There are more and more jobs available where you can work from home some, or all the time. But, before you apply for those, I encourage you to take a hard look in the mirror.

Remote work is not for everyone. A few months ago, I facilitated two workshops on how to manage remote workers. One of the things that I learned from developing those workshops was that being a successful remote worker is a two-way street. Yes, there are things the organization and your manager need to do to help you be successful. But there are also some things you need to do as well.

Working remotely requires discipline. You must be able to avoid the distractions that live in your home, like dirty dishes, laundry, the television, food in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, your children, and the list goes on and on. An advantage of going to the office is you typically leave your house and go someplace else – ON TIME – and you leave those distractions at home. When you work remotely, you really just need to roll out of bed and walk 10-50 steps to where you work, and you bring all of those distractions with you. To be successful, you need to be able to clearly separate “at work” from “at home,” even when “at work” may still be in the corner of your bedroom.

Secondly, you need a place to work, not just sitting on the couch or lying on your bed with your laptop on your lap. That can work for an hour or so, but you can’t do that 40-hours a week. The kitchen table is better, if you are home alone, but distracting otherwise, and you have to put everything away every night. Really, you need a desk or table, a good quality chair, good lighting, and as much quiet as possible. Stable high-speed internet access is a must. While you may not need a “home office” if you can make that happen it really helps.

Finally, at least for today, you need the full support of the people you live with. Again, “at work” need to mean “at work.” You will be challenged to work from home if you are also caring for your kids, spouse, parents, etc. The research shows that it can take over an hour to fully recover your productivity after a distraction. If you hear “Mom, …” every 30 minutes, you’ll struggle to get your work done.

A significant part of the post-pandemic workplace is remote work, but before you raise your hand to work from home, make sure you’re really ready and able to be successful. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help

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