Remote work is totally different from working in an office. Most think it would be an easy way to earn money while being at home. After all, you are in your home, how hard can it be? Only to find out that it’s more complicated than traditional work.
Most quit because they are not prepared to handle such obstacles. And it all starts with how you think. You should change your mindset to fit your new setup to work effectively.
Here are remote working mindsets you need to keep in check.
As a remote worker, you don’t have anyone physically checking if you’re working. Yes, you may use a screen-tracker, but you don’t want your client actively monitoring that tool by the minute. You want them to trust you enough to work independently with your tasks.
If you’re just starting a new client relationship, you need to build trust with them. And the only way you can do that is by giving out quality results.
Always think about their point of view. Your bosses hired you for the product you can produce. Gone are the days when you just wait for your scheduled end of work without actually doing anything well.
If you’re a writer, a flawless write up. If you’re a social media manager, a well-engaged community. If you’re a web administrator, a well-maintained website.
By having this in your mind, you can avoid unnecessary tension doubts, and, ultimately, work well with your clients in the long run.
Another mentality to change is accountability for your time. No one wants to micromanage people to productivity, especially businesses running remotely. For your boss, it’s too tiring and wastes a lot of time. For you, it’s limiting your creative freedom and flexibility.
You need to be accountable for how you use your time. You can’t use the employee mindset of waiting for tasks to be handed to you and letting your boss schedule for you when to do it.
You should be mindful of your hours. Plan your day. Set your own to-do list. Know when the hours you are most productive and schedule more labourious tasks on those hours. Control your time for the benefit of your client during working hours.
In traditional work, when you ask questions, you might be seen as someone incompetent and annoying. You need to change that thinking with remote work.
You have limited communication cues when you work online. You don’t see your boss’ non-verbal cues. Sometimes, you don’t understand their accent. There are times; you just don’t know what they mean.
“Let’s go out in the arvo and have a barbie! It’s hot, though, so wear thongs.”
If you don’t ask questions, you might find these sentences offensive. But in Australian slang, it just means “Let’s go out in the afternoon and have a barbecue! It’s hot, though, so wear flip flops.” (More about this communication challenges in succeeding modules.)
Don’t be afraid to ask. Asking doesn’t mean your stupid. It just means you want to be clear with the instructions. You might even be commended because of your effort to understand and communicate.
Unlike traditional work, the barriers of position and red tape are almost gone in remote working. Remote organizations, especially the western ones, want to communicate as smoothly as possible. So if you have something to say, speak up!
If you have ideas you want to suggest, speak up. If you feel something bad about a specific situation, speak up. Bottom line, you need to communicate more than ever because they can’t guess what’s in your mind if you don’t.
You will not be penalized for it. You might even be perceived as a valuable part of the team because you are thinking for the betterment of the company and your relationship with your teammates.
Another thing you need to forget is mixing your work life and your private life. Most aspiring remote workers think they can do both at the same exact minute.
For example, you are working your shift while your baby is on your lap — typing with your right hand while feeding your baby with your left.
Or you’re working your shift while having lunch with your friends — catching up with them while you work on your laptop.
Yes, you have the time flexibility. But don’t try to mix things up at the same exact hour that you need to work. How can you produce excellent work in that situation? How can you work while talking to your friends? You are setting yourself up for failure.
If you are doing something for your private life, don’t take out your laptop and work. The beauty of remote work is you can separate your work life to achieve work-life balance. You need to schedule both on separate hours properly to achieve it.
Who’s to say that work can’t be fun? You need to let go of that mindset that work is something dreadful, and you’re forced to do. This is not traditional work amidst that 3-hour (or more) EDSA traffic.
Depending on your client and workmates, you can have moments of friendly banter with them. You can bond with them over breaks in chat.
But even if what you’re currently working remotely for is not your “dream fun job,” wouldn’t you be happy with the extra time you got from it? You can now have fun with your family after working hours. You can schedule your passion projects more flexibly. You now have control with your life!
Be excited because this remote working lifestyle might be the most valuable and fun thing you’ll ever do in your life!