Many companies around the world are expanding their remote workforce, whether it be in pursuit of lower overheads, higher productivity, a bigger market to hire from, or better work-life balance for employees.
At first mention, remote work may sound like all glory, with little downside. Although it has an incredible host of benefits, it’s not without its pitfalls—especially if you’re not prepared for it. In my opinion, it truly is a double-edged sword.
Previous generations working in more traditional careers found that their hours and workplaces were pretty clearly defined. Remote work blurs the lines between life and work, and most remote workers I know are almost always plugged in.
Where your team, co-workers, and manager were previously within physical arm's reach, for many remote teams, they are now only within digital reach. Additionally, they may be living in a different state, or even a different continent, often hours (or even days!) behind or ahead of you.
Blurring the lines between home and work, while removing the support system a physical office provides, can make the transition to remote life unexpectedly difficult, isolating, and demanding.
What follows is a series of tips I've developed after working remotely for Designlab for the past 18 months, during 12 of which I've been nomading around the world. I hope you find them helpful as you embark on your own journey with working remotely!
1. Shift to a results-driven, not time-driven, mindset 🚴♂️
First and foremost, as a remote employee you can usually let go of the idea of a 9-to-5 job. This doesn’t apply to all roles: for example, a support role might require you to be online during certain business hours, but by and large this applies to most remote positions in the fields of marketing, sales, business development, UX/UI design, etc.
With the global shift towards increased remote working, companies are recognizing the value of employees working to a schedule and pattern that individually suits them. The culturally-ingrained assumption that a working day must be 8 hours long is being fundamentally challenged by this model, and it can be tremendously empowering.
In a remote environment, work is much more about producing results than punching in and out. You likely have daily work to do and projects with deadlines, and as long as you get them done, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it was in the 9-5 timeframe.
Shifting to a results-driven mentality allows you to do your best work, while respecting both your personal and professional life. This is not an easy thing to do, as you’ll likely have to unmoor some seriously deep-rooted habits. But once you connect with a results-driven mindset, the world truly becomes your oyster.