If the boss called me now, she may have mistakenly thought I was at the Killarney racetrack chilling with a cold refreshment as the blaring sound of super cars would be on full blast in the background. If my colleagues saw me now, they may have questioned my choice of pjs (which unashamedly may be Christmas-themed, but who knows, there’s no visual proof now is there). I may also be loudly munching like a “hungry lion” on a big Lays party pack.
So, let’s clear this picture a bit. I’m actually half watching an episode of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” which delves into the behind-the-scenes world of F1 racing, sitting in a onesie and eating a huge pack of chips (guilt-free because there are no judgemental eyes around). But all of this is being done while working. Remote work that is, all in the comfort of my own home.
It’s becoming more and more requested by candidates for a company to allow them to work from home. Many cite being fed-up with daily long commutes due to gridlocked traffic while others simply want the freedom to manage their own work day as the reason they’re opting to work remotely.
Some would attest to it being the “sweetest deal” but others argue it’s too isolated.
So here are a few (some unconventional) pros and cons:
- You don’t have to be up before the roosters to avoid being stuck in traffic.
- You CAN voice your frustrations out loud, (blurting out a profanity or two, sorry mom).
- You are free to listen to YOUR type of music out loud and not confined to the same office radio jingles.
- You can leisurely continue to work after hours without worrying about the rush home or catch up on something you never got to, leaving you up-to-date.
- Your attire for the day can literally be your scruffiest piece of clothing and no one will be the wiser.
- Your internet might not be as speedy as the office connection.
- Your nosy neighbour or family or friends who are at home, might feel they can drop in at any moment to have a cuppa to chat about the woes of load shedding.
One of the biggest challenges I personally face with the remote office, is to put your work hat on and keep it balanced despite being able to type away looking like you just rolled out of bed.
Here are a few tips to stay focused and in workhorse mode:
- Routine – Maintain your office hours you had before or if you are allowed to set your own, try to keep the same time periods. We are creatures of habit, if we know when it’s work time, it’s easier to mentally prep for it.
- Social Media – Just because you aren’t in a conventional office setting it doesn’t mean you can “Check In” on Facebook or post on Insta all day long. Unless it’s job-related, limit your social media activity.
- Create an office space – Especially if there are kids or other humans at home, it’s better to dedicate the same room or area to setup your laptop or any other office essentials where you won’t really be disturbed. This would also include a spot where you can get the best internet connection as well.
- Keep energized and alert – Let’s face it, you will be tempted to take a little snooze because your bed is nearby. Unless you trust yourself or there’s a health reason for you sitting on your bed and working, best to avoid it. That includes the “oh so snuggly” couch. Rather have a comfortable chair and consider your back as well because you will still be putting in the hours. It also helps to keep yourself hydrated or have your workstation where there’s access to windows for proper ventilation.
- Call a colleague – Or Skype or WhatsApp or email or video call. Working in isolation means you don’t get that dose of office gossip or mentorship or just an adult convo with your colleagues. Try to stay in touch and in the loop to keep yourself feeling you’re part of the team.