In the past, working remotely from home was a dream job scenario for every office employee. Today, home internet connectivity is cheaper and faster, and remote work opportunities have grown considerably over the last decade.
Now is the best time to work remotely and live life according to your terms. However, remote work isn’t all smooth sailing, as it comes with its challenges.
I want to quickly cover why you should work from home, how to transition to working remotely, and some career opportunities that would provide you this freedom. Once we’ve covered these points, I’ll share my 17 tips for working from home.
Why Work from Home
The first step you take from transitioning over from a regular full-time job to working remotely is difficult. We, as a society, have become accustomed to the norm of working a full 9 to 5 job at a designated workplace. For the lucky few, you might have a 4-day workweek. People leave their families behind as they move away into the city for better opportunities.
Start Working from Home
Once you are ready to work remotely, you have to choose a preferred method of earning an income online. You can find work that is suitable to your skillset on online freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. You can apply for a job, complete the allocated tasks, then submit your work for payment.
If you already have a full time and you wish to transition over to a full-time freelancer, then you should start by getting clients. When you initially begin as a freelancer, it can take a few weeks or months to build up your experience and online repertoire. If you want to jump right into being a full-time online freelancer, then it’s best to save up some cash. The money can be used to support you during the first few months of your new venture.
Many companies today do support remote work, and more companies are getting into it as well. If you wish to keep your current job but work remotely, you can convince your manager to allow this. You can begin working at home on Fridays. Then, as you build up trust, convince your way into working most of the week at home. This gradual transition, based on trust, will help your manager realise you are capable of working remotely.
Benefits of Working from Home
Working remotely can benefit employers just as much as it helps the employees. Many companies that implement remote work have noticed increases in productivity and cost savings. Employees that work from home are more inclined to meet their deadlines due to maintaining the trust they have with their employer. Not making deadlines means that the employee is not cut out for remote work, so it’s back to the office.
Companies that allow their employees to work remotely won’t require as much office space. Just a boardroom and a small space for a general workstation are needed. Employees can come in once a week for a meeting, and those who wish to carry out some basic tasks can use the office space. A model like this can allow businesses to rent smaller office spaces, which is a cost-saving.
Best Jobs for Working Remotely
There’s a vast list of successful entrepreneurs that work remotely. People today are earning a decent living just from posting videos on youtube, while others are running multiple successful online businesses from their homes. Becoming a fulltime blogger or a social media influencer will take time. However, there are plenty of careers available when working remotely.
Some of the best jobs for working remotely include:
- Freelance writer
- Filmmaker, promotional video maker
- Graphic designer
- Web designer
- Email marketer
- SEO specialist
- App developer
Not so long ago, playing video games as a living seemed far fetched. However, that dream is a reality today, and it is hard not to recommend as people are earning large sums of cash from streaming their gameplay. Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million after taking the grand prize at a Fortnite tournament.
17 Tips For Working From Home
Up to this point, we covered some of the pros and cons of working from home. We also looked at how to transition from an office job to a work from home job. These are the essential building blocks for starting your career working from home.
Now comes the important bit. Here are 17 tips to help you be more productive when working from home.
Get into a Routine
Working from home doesn’t mean extending Netflix sessions during the day. You will still have to develop a routine and stick to it. Working from home does offer flexibility regarding your time, but you still have a job to do and only 24 hours in a day to accomplish your goals.
If you plan on waking up later in the day or going to the gym at lunchtime, you will still have to make up for lost time later in the day especially if you have deadlines to meet. If you want to get Friday afternoons off, you have to be strict with your working hours during the week.
Find Your Optimal Working Hours
Everyone is different, which is why we are most efficient at different hours in the day. Some of us are most productive in the early hours of the morning, while others work best at night. Keep trying out different time slots in the day to find out when you work at your best.
Document Your Work Process
Take note of all the different steps you take when completing a project. If you are an SEO consultant developing a content marketing strategy, then you can develop a checklist to streamline this process.
Even the best of writers are prone to mistakes and can skip a few steps, especially when they are trying to meet deadlines. A checklist will help to keep your systems in check. Your efficiency shows and clients do take notice.
Confidence is vital when finding work. If you are someone who has worked in the same office for a few years, then consistently finding new work will take some getting used to. Finding new work might not have been a priority at your old job. However, if you choose to be a freelancer, you must remain confident when applying for work.
If you do decide to switch careers for something that allows you to work from home, then you may end up doing work that you never did before. If you never considered yourself a writer, but you managed to land a writing gig, make sure you take the time to do a good job. Proving the quality of your work will help build up your confidence and skill, which will help you get more jobs.
There’s going to be plenty of alone time when you work remotely. Sometimes, a bit too much alone time! Once you get settled into your routine, you can quickly become demotivated, or bored, or even lonely. It helps if you take on work that you enjoy.
People in your close circles might not always approve of the work you do and will offer advice on adjusting your career path. Negative input can discourage you and make you think twice. Stay focused by continually communicating with other people that you may know who work remotely as well.
Research is Everything
Your ability to research almost any topic is crucial when working remotely, especially if you choose to venture on your own as a freelancer or blogger. Most freelancer jobs require you to do plenty of research, as employers don’t have time to research, which is why they have hired you.
Research can also boost your skills and improve your pay. The more you research a particular subject (even if it was a task you were assigned), your knowledge on that subject will increase.
The early stages of transitioning to a remote work lifestyle can be difficult. It can take months, or even a year to settle into your new lifestyle. By researching other people’s work from home success stories, you could find something to keep you motivated. You can even stumble across some valuable software or tools that can assist you in being more efficient with your work.
Look into Automating Certain Tasks
There are plenty of daily tasks that are repetitive and take up time. Automating these tasks can save you time, which means that you can do more work and earn more money. If done correctly, automation can also reduce mistakes as there will be no room for human error.
Daily tasks that can be automated include:
- Scheduling meetings with Calendly
- Social media management with Meet Edgar, Buffer, and CoSchedule
- Advanced automation through linking services and apps with IFTTT
- Managing Facebook Messenger with Many Chat
If you are an entrepreneur with an online business, then you can take advantage of some growth hacking tools such as Mailshake and Vyper. Mailshake automates important email marketing tasks while Vyper helps you to grow your audience and community through viral marketing campaigns. Automating your marketing workflow can save you precious hours.
Maintain a Work/Life Routine
Working from home is exciting. However, you can get caught up in working for longer hours than expected because there is no separation between your work-life and homelife.
Try to maintain a healthy balance between work and life. You can go all out during the workweek and then take the weekend off. There is nothing wrong with not having working hours, but the danger is that you can work evenings and weekends. This can turn into a habit, and before you know it, you will be working every day of your life.
Take Regular Breaks
If you are a freelance writer or web designer, hours can fly past you when you hit your flow. It’s a great feeling when you are in the zone for hours, and there are no interruptions. However, your body and mind need to have a break from intense work sessions.
The Pomodoro technique is a method of time management that breaks down work into 25 minute intervals with short breaks in between. Also known as the tomato timer, you can easily do the Pomodoro technique with a mobile app or online software that tracks and guides your work sessions and breaks.
Work Out Regularly
Yes, you will get plenty done in a day without breaks and without leaving your laptop. Hard work can translate to more money and success. The danger is you eventually burn out! Productivity and success are best accomplished with a healthy mind and body. Sitting all day in front of a computer isn’t healthy and over time, not productive, as our minds can experience fatigue if there are no healthy breaks in between work times.
The best kind of break that you can have is a workout. Going to the gym or for a run will force you to take time away from your work environment. This much-needed break will allow your body and mind to ‘reset’ so when you get back to work, you will have fresh ideas and a burst of energy. Consistently working out will help you to maintain high energy levels and improve your mood.
If you aren’t into sweaty workouts and runs, then getting up and walking around the house or stretching is a good start.
Embrace Remote Work
Working from home isn’t lazing around in bed all day, nor is it working ten plus hours a day. It doesn’t have to be either of the two extremes. You can still take advantage of the perks of working remotely.
Some of the perks that come with working from home include:
- Work sessions at a coffee shop (or anywhere you please)
- Start work and end work when you want to
- Choose when to go on holiday
- Go on a working holiday
- Spend time with your kids straight after school
Working out of your home can also be nice. A change of scenery will stop you from feeling confined to your usual workspace. Instead, you can feel energised by the positive energy that surrounds a coffee shop, cafe, or even next to a pool.
Communication is crucial to any work scenario. When working remotely, you won’t have the pleasure to talk face to face with co-workers and clients. You must invest your time in getting to know popular messaging apps, team collaboration, and communication tools such as Glip and Trello.
Glip is a messaging platform that simulates an office workspace. It’s ideal for communicating with teams, and the app allows you to create channels for different departments or projects.
Trello simulates the boardroom and allows users to create boards with To-Do lists. A project planning tool is ideal for small teams who wish to keep track of the work they are busy with effectively. All users can view each other’s boards and To-Do lists, giving each member a good understanding of the tasks each person is working on.
Master Working from Home
An important tip when working from home is separating your workstation with your living spaces. It’s essential to be able to shut down your computer after a hard day’s work, close the door and leave your work behind.
Blending your living spaces with your workspace means that you could end up working in your living room or living in your workspace! To avoid this confusion and to remain focused, its best to have a dedicated area in your home just for work.
The Best Laptops for Working Remotely
Once you are ready to work from home, your most valuable tool will be your computer. When it comes to purchasing a computer for work, a lot of people make the mistake of going cheap.
Spend a little more cash upfront and invest in a decent business laptop with at least an Intel i5 processor and 8GB of ram. These specs will be sufficient to run most apps and spreadsheets efficiently. If you do design work that’s graphic intensive, then consider getting a laptop with an upgraded graphics card.
Macbooks are fantastic because of their portability and ruggedness. However, they are expensive. It would be a shame to lose one on your travels. If all you are is a writer, then a Macbook might be overkill. A mid-spec Windows Laptop can still do the trick and for half the price.
Additional Tools for Working Remotely
If you plan to work from a cafe from time to time, consider buying some noise-canceling headphones. Noise-canceling headphones are ideal for crowded locations. They cut out the sound of people talking and cars driving by, which can cause unnecessary distractions.
More useful gear for working remotely:
- Portable Wifi Hotspot
- iPad or E-Reader
- USB LED lamp
Work While You Travel
There are times when you work from home when you decide that going to a cafe is not enough. The freedom to work remotely means you can be based anywhere in the world (even if it is just for a week).
You will find plenty of examples of people who have taken advantage of the remote work lifestyle to travel the world. If you are going to work from home, take advantage of this opportunity. You don’t have to go to another country. Spending a week with family in a different city might be enough of a change of scene to leave you feeling positive about your job.
Work to Live, Not Live for Work
You mustn’t let working from home take over your life. Working from home is a lifestyle choice, and it is not your life. The idea of working from home is to depart the office and to enter a more flexible work lifestyle that provides you with more time to spend with friends and family.
That being said, you can still choose to work for 10 hours a day within the four walls of your bedroom. Alternatively, you might work flexible hours. Whatever your decision, stick to doing sufficient work to allow you to live a good life while enjoying the perks of working from home.
Wrapping Things Up
Working from home should be a choice that results from you wanting to find the right work-life balance. That doesn’t mean that working from home is not without its problems.
These 17 tips for working from home should help you overcome some of the issues you face as you adjust from an office environment. Of course, not all of the tips for working from home shared in this post will apply to you. Pick and choose the ones which are most relevant to your needs.
Bio: Jack Paxton founded a Facebook ad agency ($150+ million spend in 7yrs). Then co-founded VYPER, a marketing tool that allows users to run viral contests and reward programs.
Originally published 20 Mar, 2020