I’ve been working remotely for about two years now and admittedly it was a rough start. It takes some time and patience to get into the rhythm of a new environment, similar to starting a new job. Here are some realizations I didn’t think about before I started working remotely.
- You’re expected to always be online/available– Since you’re not physically in the office where coworkers can see that you’ve stepped out for a lunch break or a quick walk, your associates may naturally assume you’re always around. You may be on a lunch break and feel expected to respond to chat messages. Just remember that taking those small breaks from work can actually help re-energize you and it’s okay not to respond to emails or chats right away.
- It can get quiet: If you’re used to an office setting, you’re probably used to talking to colleagues on a daily basis. Chatting with colleagues is either work-related or not work-related. When you work remotely, most of the work-related conversations move to Slack (or a chatting app) while most of thenon work-relatedconversations go extinct. So it can get pretty quiet on your end. This was a significant adjustment to get used to. After a while though, you come to realize at least two things: there is so much more free time now that it isn’t being filled with unrelatable conversations and that podcasts are awesome! The last one is a great way to fill in silence if you’re an ultimate multitasker (which I am).
- There is trust to be earned: The company you are working for (this doesn’t apply if you are your own business) is trusting that you’ll maintain all of the responsibilities you were hired to do. They are trusting that you will have secure wifi and resources to get the job done. It’s important to earn their trust from the beginning because it’s not an opportunity that many companies offer yet.
- You have extra free time: This little extra free time comes from not being stuck in traffic to and from work and in some cases, also looking for parking. Before I began working remotely my commute time one-way was anywhere between 20-45 minutes long- double that and think of all the things you can do with an extra hour!
- Dressing the part: A common myth about working remotely is that you can just wake up and start working from your bed, while this is technically true- it’s not something I’ve ever been successful with. To be in a professional state of mind, I can’t be in PJ’s working from my bed, and I think other nomads might agree. Athletic leggings however, are another story.
- It’s tough to meet new friends: A lot of the friendships are developed at work. It gets tough to meet new people when you’re working on your own throughout most of the day. You’ll find that if you live with a significant other or roommates, as soon as they come home, you’ll chat their ear off because of all the pent up energy you have from flying solo the whole day. It helps to visit local coworking spaces once in a while to meet like-minded people.
- You have a lot more energy: When you’re at the office all day, talking to colleagues, sitting through meetings, and essentially putting on a professional act, it can be really draining- especially if you’re heavier on the introvert scale. After you’ve adjusted to working remotely, you’ll find that you have so much more energy after work. This has been really helpful to find time for the gym, a night class, or even starting a side hustle.
- You’ll get your work done a lot faster: With fewer distractions and white noise from the typical office setting, you’ll find yourself a lot more focused. Granted, in the beginning, your biggest obstacle might be getting used to the quieter setting, but after that hurdle, you’ll find yourself zipping through your tasks.
- You’ll realize that the typical 9-5 schedule is so outdated: Why is it always 40 hours a week, 9-5, Monday through Friday? When you work remotely, you work at your own pace, which is typically a lot faster. Related to truth #8, there are fewer distractions. So when you go back to an office setting, speaking from experience, you’ll notice there’s a lot of time being filled in by unnecessary commentary, meetings, group huddles, etc… Essentially, when you work remotely, you realize you can get your work done in half the time it takes in a typical office setting.
- You can work from….anywhere!
The most exciting truth about being a digital nomad and probably a main reason why folks make the change is that you can work from anywhere in the world (that has wifi, if that’s what you need). Although it can be an adjustment in the beginning, there are so many upsides to working remotely.