I have been working remotely for the past 5 years. I love it. Love the freedom and make your schedule thingy.
You work more not less
I've heard from people things like: "Oh, you are so lucky, working from home, having all the free time you want". It was obvious they had no clue what means working remotely. They had this romantic idea of remote work. You can watch TV whenever you like, you can go outside for a picnic if you want and stuff like that.
This may be true if you work a day or two in a week from home. But if you go completely remote all these changes completely. I take some time to acclimate but then you start feeling the consequences of going fully remote. And it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Rather the opposite.
At first, I remembered I felt lost. I was not used to this kind of environment. It felt disoriented and a part of you that is used to procrastinate turns on. You start thinking of a workday as a whole day. And soon this idea of "I can do this later" starts creeping in. Well, I have the whole day ahead of me. I can do this a bit later.
As a direct result, you become more focused on your work since you don't have all the interruptions common in the workplace. And you can quickly get used to this hyper-performance. But this mode requires also a lot of peace and quiet.
And here we come to the ugly parts of all this. People rarely have the self-control to not waste other people's time. It is paralyzing when people start calling you, sending you chat messages, etc. The thing is, that when I achieve this hyper-performance mode I am completely embroiled in the problem I am solving and this kind of interruptions mess with your head. I need an hour at least to get back in the zone. Sometimes not achieving the same focus the whole day.
I know that life is not how you want it to be and takes its route but from what I've learned this kind of interruptions can be avoided in 90% of the case easily just by closing any chat programs and putting your phone in a drawer.
Suggestion to all the new remote workers
- Stop wasting other people's time. You don't bother people at their desks in the office either.
- Do not replace daily chats in the hallways with instant messaging software. It will only interrupt people. Nothing good will come of it.
- Set your working hours and try to not allow it to bleed outside these boundaries and maintain your routine.
- Be prepared that hours will be longer regardless of your good intentions and your well thought of routine.
- Try to be hyper-focused and do only one thing at the time. Multitasking is the enemy of progress.
- Avoid long meetings and if possible eliminate them. Rather take time to write them out and allow others to respond in their own time. Meetings are usually a large waste of time and most of the people attending them are there just because the manager said so.
- The software will not solve your problems. And throwing money at problems neither.
- If you are in a managerial position don't supervise any single minute of workers. They are probably giving you more hours anyways. Track progress weekly not daily. You hired them and give them the benefit of the doubt that they will deliver what you agreed upon.