The last six years working from home has been a life-changing transition, more so, because where I live, changes every 30 to 90 days.
For 24 years, my life consisted of commuting to an office every weekday. The initial goal was to have more time to travel the world while working remotely. Six years later, it is important to me that work and, lifestyle, are treated equally.
Here is what I learnt while working from home.
NO COMMUTE RESULTED IN MORE FREE TIME
Not having to commute to the office, meant there is more time to exercise and have a leisurely breakfast. There is time to wake up, and being able to gather my thoughts and prepare for work, drastically improved my mental health. Sunday evenings and Monday mornings used to be the worst.
The main benefit of my employers being companies in the United States, was my working day started in the afternoon, when living in Europe, or evening when in Asia. During the day, my time was free to spend on my passions like exploring, and experiencing the local culture.
WORK AND LIFESTYLE TREATED EQUALLY
A quote you will often find in my content: Working 9-to-5 in an office is archaic. Remote working is here to stay. It is time to stop counting down to Friday and create a future where work and lifestyle are treated equal.
Burn out, especially when working from home is a real issue. Companies can take advantage of your always connected situation.
HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK
Working 8 hours continuously in a day is not productive, in my opinion. Yet companies big and small expect you to work in this way. Finding fully-distributed companies who understand the benefits of spreading your working hours through the day is not easy.
DEDICATED WORKSPACE IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY
Having a dedicated workspace helps you focus. It tells people within your household, you, are there to work and not to be disturbed. When you are not at your desk, you are not looking at your computer and have the temptation to check email outside of working hours.
The best scenario is to have a laptop, or desktop computer stays in your workspace and have a tablet with non-work-related apps and software. There is then no temptation to check email or tools like Slack.
SET EXPECTATIONS IN INTERVIEWS
When being interviewed for remote jobs, set your expectations. If you do not want to work 8-hours continuously but instead, split up your working day, tell them. Be honest. Until we break down the barriers around work time, changes are not going to happen.
ENGAGE WITH HUMANS
If you are an introvert like myself, work in a coffee shop or co-working space once or twice a week. Engage with other people and spend time meeting friends and family. Working at home can be isolating, so you have to take extra care of your mental health and spend time with others.
While writing this, meeting others might not be possible due to the global pandemic. Instead, use tools like Zoom and Google Meet to have conversations with family and friends. Attend virtual events instead of in-person networking events. Join a community for any of your passions in life and make new friends.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Networking is essential to build a network of people around you who could help you land remote jobs in the future. When your working status changes, having people who are happy to recommend you to other companies will make life easier.
Keep in touch with colleagues and leave on good terms when you move on. Add colleagues on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks, or, ask for their email address. Occasionally, get in touch and ask them how they are doing. Continuing to build the relationship is beneficial.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLACE TO LIVE
As a Digital Nomad, choosing the right location and home is essential to ensure you can continue to work remotely. It is nice to think of living on an island, and working next to the pool or on the beach, but unfortunately, it is not the reality.
What you need is access to a reliable internet connection based on your needs. If you are downloading and uploading files, then having fast internet speeds will be required. Researching internet speeds and the best internet providers before you choose a destination is a wise decision.
For accommodation, you ideally need a comfortable workspace. Make sure you have air conditioning or heating because working in a hot or cold room is not fun, at all.
When it comes to booking accommodation, Airbnb is my preference. When contacting hosts, a list of questions is sent to them. The quality of the internet depends on if it is shared or a private connection.
HAVE INTERNET BACKUP
Even with all of the checks mentioned above, one lesson learnt over the six years, is having an internet backup device. This could be an unlocked mobile phone, or, a MiFi dongle with a local sim card. Should your WiFi go down in your home then you have a backup so work can continue.
Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of what to expect when working from home based on what I’ve learnt over the last six years.