Do you want to work for yourself, on your own remotely, doing remote work? People who have not worked a lot remotely, think that it sounds like work nirvana. They think they’re going to get so much done and it’s going to be so nice to have flexibility. You do have that, but at the same time, there are downfalls that people not working remotely for very long may not know yet. That’s the topic I want to talk about in this CarTalks.
I’ve been working remotely for almost 7-8 years, so I have quite a bit of experience in that. One of the biggest advantages of remote work is for the employer. I tend to get more things done because you don’t have that water-cooler talk, you don’t have the constant “Oh, while you’re here” sort of thing or your constant cube drive-by. That’s one of the great things for an employer and for an employee about remote work. You get a lot done, but at the same time, it depends on the type of person you are.
A person who loves what they do, even works during the nights and after hours, they feel a sense of fulfillment in their work and want to be a good team player, those are good people for remote work. But, if you’re in a position to where you don’t like your work, remote work is probably not for you because you’re not going to have the direction and motivation to actually do anything. You’ll find yourself watching TV in the middle of the day or working on something else when you shouldn’t, that sort of thing. You have to be into your job and enjoy it to get the most out of remote work.
The biggest problem with remote work is that stigma of “if you’re working from home, it means that you’re really not working, you’re slacking off”. I think that’s one thing that’s stopped a lot of companies from embracing remote work. They still have that same mentality and it’s not true. Sometimes it’s true but like I said, it all comes down to the particular person doing the work. If they love what they do, they’re going to naturally do the work and get what they need to be done regardless of if they’re in a home office or in a work environment.
Let’s shift toward some of the problems and the good things that you find by doing remote work. To give you a description of a bad thing that happens whenever you work at home, yesterday and today actually, we are getting a new floor put in our kitchen and the floor is tile. If you could imagine a jackhammer sounding like it’s going to go through your floor to get this tile up when your office is in the basement, that gives you a good indication of the sound level in my office yesterday.
Not only that, but if you have the commotion of a family there is constant talking, crying, falling down, and footsteps all across the floor when you’re trying to focus on something. It happens, that’s one of the bad things about remote work. Now, when I say remote work, you don’t have to necessarily work in a home office like I do. You could go to a Starbucks, library, or you can go anywhere really, your options are endless. As long as you have a connection to the internet and a good laptop, you can pretty much work anywhere you want. That’s one of the good things about the flexibility but you have all that sound stuff.
Another problem that some people run through when it comes to remote work is they can’t separate remote work from personal life. I hate that concept of work-life balance. To me it’s all just one thing, it all blends together. I technically work 7 days a week because life and work are just the same to me. I don’t really consider myself a workaholic because I’m just a lifeaholic. It’s part of my life, I enjoy what I do.
I know you have your personal stuff and your work stuff. I still need some kind of distinction between the two because you have to get into that mode, that mentality, just like with anything. It’s the same thing that happens when you work remotely. You have to shift yourself into the work mentality versus the leisure mentality. Whenever I’m working on something, it feels a lot different than when I’m just sitting and watching Netflix for example.
When I’m watching Netflix, I feel like I have to go through a transition of “I’m watching Netflix, I don’t really feel like working right now”. Sometimes it’s easier than others but you have to have this mental shift in your head to where you shift from work mode to leisure mode. You need that sort of delineation between the two.
One good way to do this is to set up cues and routines. I’ve had a routine for a long time to where I will get up in the morning have my breakfast, take my daughter to school if it’s not during the summer, and then go immediately downstairs and go to work. It’s the routine, and then I work for however long I’m going to do. Normally because I have a full-time job, it’s 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, then I do a little bit of stuff for my side hustle, and then do nothing for the rest of the evening. It’s a routine, it’s a habit.
Especially if you work for yourself, you have to get into this routine of “I’m going to do this here, this here, this here” and it naturally goes together. If you think when working remotely you’ll just get stuff done at a random time and have leisure at a random time, if you find yourself doing that, you will do lots more leisure activity than work because you’ll find excuses not to. If you could, establish routines and cues. My work cue, for example, is when I get back from home from dropping off my daughter, I immediately going downstairs. I don’t even have to think about it anymore, I just go to work.
Another thing of being able to separate your work from your leisure it to have a separate physical location. I can’t tell you the difference when you have an office that you use only for work purposes, not for anything else, and you physically close the door. You don’t know the kind of mental shift that has if you’ve been going into an office for a long time. You need that kind of cue when you go into work mode when you work from home because if we don’t like I said, you’ll fall back into typical home life.
Working remote for such a long time, I have developed a lot of different cues, tips, and trick. If you want to know anything else about remote work life, if you’re thinking about doing it, or you’re doing it now and you want any kind of tips, just let me know, hit me up in the comments or follow me on Twitter if you’re not already @adbertram and reply to this topic. I’d really like to talk, hit me up, let me know, give me some feedback. Thanks!