Picture it. Its another gray day in the office, the heating’s cranked up and you’re falling asleep at your desk. The boss is doing the rounds and you’re desperately trying to focus on a never-ending Excel file. You got up at 6am and you know there’s no way you’ll be able to leave before 7pm—and OMG its only Monday.
Office life can be a drag. You might spend hours commuting—stuck in traffic or sardined on the train. You probably have to toe the line and dress in office attire. You almost certainly have to waste precious time in pointless meetings when an email would have done a much better job of conveying the latest update in the search for Cheryl’s lost sandwich. Offices can be noisy, uncomfortable, and boring—the antithesis of a creative and inspirational hub for fresh ideas.
But what if there was another way? What if you could set your own rules, your own times, manage your own workload without the boss peering over your shoulder. Work from exotic locations, your local café, or just from the comfort of home. You might even have time to manage the mundane tasks of everyday life—go to the dentist without using your precious holiday, throw in a load of laundry when the sun is shining on a winter’s day.
Well, whatever your industry, whatever your line of work, whether you want to set up as a freelancer or you can convince your boss to let you work from home, there’s a way to ditch the world of office politics and embrace the life of a digital nomad. However, if you want to rock at working remotely, it’ll take a little more than sitting around in your underwear and logging on for the day!
Top Tips for Working Remotely
- Get the Tools You Need — A reliable laptop and solid internet connection are crucial when working remotely from home or on the road. After all, you don’t get to blame the long-suffering IT guys if your tech goes down and you can’t meet a deadline! These are just the basics, however, and your freelancer toolbox is bound to require other hardware, software, and tools to do your job effectively. Make a list of the things you need and don’t be “penny wise” when it comes to tech.
- Find a Zen Space — One of the benefits of working remotely is the chance to find a space that works for you. Those soul-sucking cubicles and noisy open offices can be claustrophobic and stressful. However, if you’re not careful, you might find yourself in the same situation at home. Take some time to build a Zen-like workspace that encourages creativity—a comfortable desk and chair is only the beginning. Also, get out of the house now and again and work from a café or coworking space for a different perspective—after all, a change is as good as a holiday.
- Put Yourself Out There — When it comes to finding work, it pays to be noticed. A well-curated website to showcase previous work is the equivalent of your resume when applying for a job. You’re also going to want to spread the word on social media and join any groups where potential jobs and leads might be shared. Working remotely doesn’t mean being remote, but you’ll need to be ready to put yourself out there in new ways.
- Communicate Effectively — You’re great at your job but you suck at communication—well, if you want to rock at working remotely, you’ll have to make a few changes. Thankfully, there are tools around to help you out, allowing you to concentrate on your work without wasting time on email management. It’s true that your communications usually won’t fall into your billable hours, but by mastering the delicate art of email you can minimize wasted time and get ideas across in lightening quick time.
- Get Networking — For freelancers, working remotely often means working alone—but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Co-working spaces are the perfect antidote to isolation, giving you the chance to join a community of fellow digital nomads and remote workers. Discussing big ideas, solving little problems, and participating in community events will do wonders for your motivation, help grow your knowledge, and expand the possibilities for new work. Even if it’s just one day a week.
- Stay on Track — Organizing your workload can be a little intimidating when working remotely. You need to balance your emails, deadlines, accounting, and your social life (since you probably never log out of WhatsApp). Consolidating your emails and calendars is the first place to start, and then listing out your tasks on a weekly basis (and crossing them off when complete) should help you keep an overview of what’s happening in the next few days.
- Say No to Too Much Work! — There’s always the temptation to take on more than you can handle when you’re not tied to the office. After all, there’s no one to listen to your complaints about your workload and late hours at home are so much more comfortable than in the office. What is important, however, is the freedom to say no. Taking on too much means all of your work will suffer, not just that last minute task.
- Don’t Forget to Enjoy Yourself — Our last tip, and easily the most important, is to remember why you escaped office life in the first place. If you want to travel while working remotely then do it! If you’re happy working from the comfort of home, then enjoy the chance to grab coffee with friends at 3 pm or lay in bed until 10 am every now and again. The point is, to take the time to find your best self and discover your own personal work/life balance. You’ll be more productive, less stressed, and infinitely happier when you do. Finally, remember the free in freelance and make your job work for you—once you’ve mastered our other top tips for remote working, you’ll be able to do what you want, when you want.