Teleworking or working remotely is becoming a more common occurrence in the workplace, as newer and faster technology enables workers to handle tasks that not too long ago required being in the office. (For instance, today’s smartphones are more powerful than that desktop computer you had just a few years ago.) But being able to work from home or remotely can bring both a sense of peace and one of foreboding.
Thinking your boss or coworkers believe you’re slacking or not paying close attention to detail can bring about unneeded stress. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to minimize stress and enjoy the new found freedom of working remotely as an IT professional: organization, space, and maintaining contact. Let me explain.
The first and most important thing to keep in mind — for whatever you’re doing, really — is to be organized. Keeping track of your tasks and remaining focused requires maintaining an up-to-date calendar of all the tasks that need to be completed, worth deadlines and benchmarks appropriately noted. Google calendar is a great tool to utilize because it allows you to post tasks on the sidebar, allowing you to mark off each completed task as you look onto the rest of the work that needs to be completed for the week or day.
Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to get organized, you need to address your physical space. Allow yourself to work in an area that will be conducive to being able to focus. Try different areas of your house or your local coffee shop (remember to make frequent purchases!). Switch it up if you’re feeling yourself becoming distracted by small things; home is nice, but if you find yourself distracted with television or the kids it might be best to switch locations. Coffee shops are welcoming to teleworkers and can be calm and quiet enough so you can sink into your work but can quickly become busy and noisy. Be sure to assess your surroundings and account for any lost time that would result in distractions. As an IT professional working remotely lost time means lost work.
Finally, your Internet and phone connections will be your undoing if they are not reliable. Teleconferencing has allowed remote workers to connect from all over the world with Skype, Google hangout and Go To Meeting but if your Internet connection isn’t solid you’ll soon be in trouble. A break in connection can cause the meeting to stall, which means the time that should be spent on pressing topics is being used to dial back in — and that’s your lost productivity, time, and probably money. Chat and text are also widely used among remote IT professionals as workers are able to communicate in real time, but if your Internet or cell service is spotty, urgent questions can go unnoticed until after the deadline has passed.
In making sure that you’re staying organized, are in a working environment conducive for focusing on the task at hand, and have a strong cell and Internet signal, working remotely will feel less stressful and allow you to be more productive. Working remotely is still new to most organizations, but with the right tools and mindset, you can show them that it’s a breeze.