With so many companies going remote during our current situation, we not only need to understand why go remote, but how to go remote. Here are the answers to so many questions, from why going remote is a great solution for so many issues to how to set up a remote workspace and keep work and home separated to easing back into the workplace.
Why Go Remote?
With the global situation of the Coronavirus, it’s easy to understand why so many companies have gone remote. But why did so many do this before the pandemic hit? Working remotely has tons of benefits, and whether you have been working remotely for a while or you are suddenly making space for a home office, we are here to help you get settled, improve your space, and understand all the intricacies of why we go remote.
Let’s think back before the pandemic hit and take a look at why so many people work remotely. Here are a few of the benefits of remote work from The Muse and why it has become such a popular of way work.
- Your office location can be flexible
- Your hours can be flexible
- You save time and money
- Meetings can be more effective and more enjoyable
- You can skip the office drama
- You can be more effective
Though there are even more benefits, we’ll focus on these great reasons to support the choice of why go remote.
The Flexibility of Your Office Location
It’s a bit amazing how far technology has come in just a decade or two. It used to be you just couldn’t work from home. The technology couldn’t support it. But now when all you need is your laptop, your phone, some earbuds, and a wi-fi connection, you can work from almost anywhere. For now, most of us are stuck at home, but that even provides some flexibility. Do you have a great back deck where you can set up on nice days or even a small area outside to enjoy the weather? You can also shift your space around during the day if you thrive on versatility.
Some of us love routine and a set workspace works great. Maybe it’s the dining room table or an extra bedroom that you convert to a home office. Wherever it may be, you have the flexibility to make it what works for you. Whether you like to be shut off into a quiet space, or you love to see the outside world, set up in a space where you can be productive and happy. But keep distractions and interruptions to a minimum
Once things open up again, you can take your work to a park, a coffee shop, or wherever you find productivity. Working remotely provides great flexibility in your location. In fact, once offices open again, there may be regular remote work incorporated into the new way of work.
Flexibility of Hours
When you work remotely, your hours can be a little more flexible. Depending on how your company is structured, you may have completely flexible hours or you may need to be more on a schedule. Either way, it is probably more flexible than in office work. Often this is a key factor in the question of why go remote. Employees enjoy this flexibility.
Maybe you have some downtime in between calls. This is a great time to get extra work done, or maybe even check on something at home like your fourth grader’s math lesson. Perhaps you’re a morning person and love to work at 5:00 AM. Get your day started then, and by mid-afternoon, you can be finished. Or maybe the opposite, you don’t mind working into the night. You can put it in time when you are most productive as long as you are getting work done, and it’s okay with your company. Just make sure to maintain accountability and be reachable when people need you.
It’s important to stay within your companies structure, though. If their hours are not flexible, don’t try to make yours that way. Also, if you are taking off time during the day, make sure to stay positive when you are working non-traditional hours. Flexible hours don’t mean fewer hours.
Working Remotely Saves Time and Money
Another answer to the question of why go remote is the amount of time and money you can save. Sure, you will save gas money because you won’t be commuting. But that also saves on wear and tear on your car. You won’t need as many oil changes or other maintenance, and you won’t have to take as much time taking your car in.
That time you’d be commuting is perfect to get some work done, or maybe unload the dishwasher and have the kitchen ready for later. You could toss in a load of wash instead of sitting in traffic. Speaking of the kitchen, you can also save money by eating at home instead of having lunch out.
Clothes are another savings when you can work remotely. Many of us are in sweatpants right now, and maybe we dress up with a nicer shirt for calls. You probably still need some professional items in your wardrobe, but not as many. And the dry cleaning bill is substantially lower when working remotely.
With all that time you save, Creative Live even shares that you can make money. Perhaps you’ve always loved to crochet or have dreamt of creating a podcast. What about starting to turn that hobby into a side hustle and make a little money. Just don’t let that cut into your real job or you could see some negative repercussions.
Meetings Keep You Connected and Can Be More Productive
Remember how you would go to a meeting room and you would stand around with your co-workers before the meeting started? And maybe afterward you would chit chat and talk about where you would go to lunch. An hour meeting could easily turn into two hours. When working remotely, you can meet more efficiently yet still stay connected through all the meeting apps. Many of these have great ways to offer input without interrupting someone with written comments or shared docs.
Whether you’ve been working remotely for some time or the Coronavirus has brought you to this situation, there are some general guidelines for meetings that companies are supporting:
- Make sure to mute yourself when others are talking. You can switch your microphone on and off as you need to.
- Even if you don’t like the spotlight, turn your camera on. It helps keep you all connected and will inspire you to maintain some professionalism in your appearance.
- Be engaged when on a call. Maintain your focus and be present, even if you’re not the main speaker.
Also, some companies like to incorporate ice breakers or something fun into video calls. Maybe they’ll ask employees to create a fun background, or they’ll open with a “best thing all week” comment to go around and share. It’s all about making everyone comfortable and relaxed during a meeting while maintaining professionalism.
Some companies are creating casual Virtual Coffee Breaks so colleagues can interact socially and maintain some sort of dialogue with one another. Not only is this good for those who thrive on social interaction, but it can spark ideas and creative solutions when colleagues talk together in a nonstructured environment. Some companies have set times for coffee talk, others have open coffee break rooms where colleagues can pop in just like they would in an office.
Going Remote Can Help You Stay Away From Office Drama and Stay More Focused
We’ve all had that colleague who comes to gossip too often. Or maybe the one that is always finding fault with someone or making up drama. When you work remotely, you don’t have to engage with these people in that capacity. It’s much easier to tune out the negative when you are working out of the office.
Maybe in your office you’d worry that you’d offend someone by shutting your door or closing yourself off to get work done. When you are remote, it’s much easier to do. You can stay uber focused without the office interruptions. Sure, you may have a barking dog or cat coming to nap with you, but overall, you can dictate how you deal with distractions much better.
Some people like to work with music or background noise; it helps in their productivity. When you work remotely, this is much easier to do than in the office. You can figure out how to set up your environment and you have the control. You just have to have the discipline.
How to Set Up a Remote Workspace to Keep Your Personal and Professional Life Separate
It’s important to have a set workspace, even if you change it around. Maybe you love working in your open kitchen with your family bustling around you. Other people may need a room with a closed door that is their “office.” Whatever works best for you is what you should do. It’s important, however, to make your area pleasant to be in, uncluttered, and a space you enjoy.
Many people have a special work coffee mug and water bottle they fill in the morning. A nice playlist can help you get work focused as well. Some other tips to keep your life in order while working remotely are as follows:
- Take your dog out before settling into work. Make sure your pet’s needs are met. so they won’t be bothering you just as your getting your workday started.
- Have a regular lunchtime. Whether you eat alone or with someone else in your home, set aside time for lunch and to step away from work.
- At the end of the day, close it up. It’s easy to keep working when you work remotely, but you need a clear end to your day. Maybe that is physically shutting your laptop or signing out of your work apps. It could be taking your work mug and water bottle to the kitchen. Whatever your closing ritual is, make sure you have something to end your work day.
- Let your family know when you are working and to respect your professional world.
The Bottom Line of Why Go Remote
The past few months have changed a lot of people’s lives. More people than ever are working remotely, and with all the benefits, including cost and timesaving advantages, it may stay this way. People are also finding that splitting between in-office and remote is advantageous as well, as it affords the best of both worlds.
Working remotely can provide flexibility in time and location as well as encouraging us to be productive and stay social. With all the technology that allows us to be remote, we can still have virtual coffee breaks and happy hours while maintaining efficient meetings and work productivity. People will see where the future of office goes, and we may be seeing a combination of flexible hours with more full or part-time remote work as things settle back down.