The things no one tells you about working remote
Tips on how to perform better when remote working
Before working remote, I first worked in office for Hibox at their headquarters in Barcelona, Spain. I was part of a team that have built a complete digital workspace for companies who want to have a remote staff.
And then, I went remote for a year so I could back to the U.S to finish school. This week has been my first week back in the Barcelona office.
“Remote Work” is a topic almost as trendy as avocado toast to post about right now, or to have featured on your profile. The concept satisfies the insatiable appetite for more information and experience that millennials – who are so used to instant gratification – crave. It’s also economically beneficial for many companies who want to cut down on overhead costs. It’s even becoming a top productivity method for individuals and teams.
But after a year of working remote and experiencing it all firsthand – like everything else on social media – there’s quite a bit no-one tells you about.
Here are a few things I can think of:
Your personal schedule will need to change in order to improve remote working processes
Don’t let the idyllic laptop-on-the-beach pictures fool you. Working remote actually means your personal schedule will not be nearly as wide-open and flexible as you think. It’ll probably require more planning and concentration than if you were in office. For me – with time zones all over the place – I needed to think about work 4-5 days in advance and plan all personal activities around it. This was especially important when I was somewhere like Australia and was working literally a day and a half ahead of some of my colleagues. I used timezone.io for a quick look at who was online when.
Working remote means you’ll lose work/life separation
Again, ignore the photos of cozy work setups at home. Yes, there are nice perks like this, but they don’t come without a challenging schedule that follows you home. Working in office, it’s easy to go home at the end of the day and leave the stress behind. But when you live and work in the same environment, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in work 24/7 and get stressed in turn. To prevent this, I learned to separate work and life by moving to a predetermined work spot, like a favorite cafe or restaurant. I really like the CafeWifi app for this: it shows you where other people who have been working remote have checked in and shows you their ratings on specific cafes!
So many options around
You will lose motivation and you’ll need to find it yourself
This is something that just comes naturally with working remote for me. Influences and deadlines that are external and constant are motivating. But when that pressure is gone, it’s easy to lose track. If you’re not honest with yourself about what distracts you, the amount of time you need to complete certain tasks, and how you’re spending your time – this just won’t work for you. I needed to schedule mandatory deadlines that I shared with others, so I could stay on track. I used time trackers like Toggl to see where my time was going.
You will need to learn to be a better communicator
Communication comes naturally when you’re in office. But with different time zones and non-personal methods of communication, it can be very easy to literally forget to speak. I needed to force myself to communicate a lot more than I initially thought was necessary. I even set tasks and reminders to communicate during the day. The more I communicated, the less confusion and more understanding there was around work. We use Hibox’s group chat, which I prefer to other platforms because it offers fast and intuitive communication. I can even video call my team in Hibox, too. It’s easy to read back and search in all conversation streams, which you can’t do as efficiently with email.
I absolutely love working remotely. I still do it for some side projects and I’m glad that I took a year to learn these few things. They’ve even helped me working in person as well!