How to Prepare for Working Remotely
You’ve decided you no longer wish to sit in a cubicle to do your job. You’re not alone. Nearly 3.7 million employees work remotely.
While this is exciting, going remote work can also be a stressful position to be in.
In many ways, it is a fundamental shift in how you work. No longer can your boss leer over your shoulder. While that’s awesome, you also now have to contend with your dog constantly nuzzling the laptop out of your lap.
Here is the full planning guide for newly-minted remote employees.
Find Your Space
You no longer have an office, and you can literally work anywhere. And much like anything else, there are two sides to the coin. One one side is the freedom that comes with being a remote employee. On the other side your family and friends misconstruing that freedom to mean you don’t have to work.
That’s obviously not true. You need to work! And you’ll likely work just as much as you did while in an office.
To alleviate any familial or friend issues concerning dedicated time for work, you should find a place where you can work without interruption. Here are a few ideas.
- At your favorite coffee shop. Assuming you don’t have meetings, a coffee shop can be a great place to get away and work. You can also use Workfrom to figure out which coffee shops actively welcome remote workers.
- Rent a coworking space. Nearly every city has a coworking space. To find one in your area, ShareDesk is a wonderful place to start your search.
- Take over a room. Have a guest room that mostly goes unused? Time to put that good space to use. And, fun fact of the day, you can claim the use of that space on your taxes.
If you can’t find a place away from to work from due to budget or space constraints, designate an area of your home as a workstation. I find it helps to put a nameplate on your workstation as well. Tell friends and family when you are that desk, they should treat you like they did when you worked in an office.
Prepare Yourself for Social Isolation
Working from home is great. But you will not get as much face-to-face interaction with other human beings. And no matter how many video chats you have, nothing replaces physical interaction.
Prepare yourself for this by meeting other people who work remotely. Attend conferences. Go to meetup groups. And find the time to get coffee with fellow remote workers in your area.
It is also important to joining some virtual communities that are unrelated to your job. Slack groups are a great place to start.
You should also determine if you’re mental health is in a state to handle working alone for long periods of time. If you are at risk for depression, have social anxiety issues, or just feel glum about the idea of being alone the majority of that day, it is possible working remotely is not the best course of action for you. And that is totally fine.
Do what works best for you.
Buy a Really Awesome Keyboard
You are going to be doing a shit ton of typing. No matter what, your hands are going to be flying to catch up with team communications. If you have a steady workstation, invest in a keyboard that you will love.
Personally, I am a fan of the Das Keyboard. Yes, spending $100+ on a keyboard may seem excessive. But a great keyboard is going to be the most used tool you have as a remote worker. Investing in this tool should not be hard to justify over the long haul.
Buy an Awesome Computer
This may seem obvious, but I meet quite a few remote workers who are still running Windows XP. Now, unless your remote employer requires you to use their devices, there should be really no excuse to not go out of your way to get a computer you love.
Your productivity is directly impacted by how fast and efficient your computer is for your needs. Basic tasks, such as communicating with your team through Slack, should never be hindered by the lack of computer power. If such apps are causing your current computer to struggle, take this as a good excuse to upgrade.
Get Another Monitor or Two
I can’t stress this enough: get a second monitor. It will make your life so much easier and will help you get tasks done much more efficiently. If possible, tack on a third monitor. Seriously, when you are a remote worker, there is no such thing as too many monitors.
Find a Calendar App You Love
Having the right calendar app for your needs can make your life a whole lot easier.
Make sure to get a calendar app that is desktop and mobile friendly. Personally, I just use Apple’s Calendar. It’s not fancy, but since I own all Apple devices, it is very convenient.
If you don’t use Apple products, Outlook is also available on a number of devices and Google Calendar is a favorite of many remote workers.
Get the Best Internet Package
The Internet is your lifeline to work. Do not skimp on this purchase. Call up your ISP, and get the fastest internet package you can. If you need help justifying this purchase, just remember how much it costs in gas and stress to commute to work.
Buy a $100+ Router
To get the most out of the best Internet package you just bought from your ISP, get the best router. There is no use in having the best Internet if your connections are dropping, your WiFi range is poor, or your not getting the fastest speeds possible.
For my purposes, I use the Apple Airport Extreme. There are other routers though that offer many features in the same price range. It really comes down to how much control you want to have over your WiFi network.
Of course, there are many other aspects of remote working you should consider. These are just the basics I’ve come across during my seven-year tenure as a remote worker.