December 19, 2016 BestCompaniesAZ

How to Rock Remote Work

By Lee Vikre | @LeeVikre

Since 2005, telecommuting has increased 103% nationally. Gallup reports that 37% of U.S. workers now telecommute. Up to 90% of Americans say they would like to work from home at least part time, according to FlexJobs. Telecommuting can increase work satisfaction, engagement – and even productivity.

Is remote work for you? Increasing numbers of Arizonans say “yes!” and top Arizona employers are opening up opportunities, especially in the finance, healthcare, and technology fields.

If you’re considering working from home, here are seven tips to help you rock it remotely.

Put your pants on. It’s tempting to stay in pajamas all day, but you’ll start feeling unkempt and your self-image as a professional may suffer. At least put on some jeans or yoga pants and a clean shirt before you embark on your ten-second commute across the hall.

Get started early (sort of). That nasty beeping early morning alarm? No longer necessary. You don’t have a forty-minute commute, so you can sleep in a little. Woo hoo! For best results, though, be at your computer by 9. You’ll develop a reputation for reliability and availability.

Carve out a dedicated work space. If you don’t have a dedicated place to work, the laundry and household chores will stalk you all around the house, screaming for your attention. Sitting (or standing) at a desk or table where you do nothing but work will help you focus. A coffee shop, library or other public space could also work if there’s no place in your house.

Know when you are the best version of you. Early morning “you” and late night “you” are very different people, with wildly different capabilities. Which version of “you” is the best one for the job? Set up your schedule so you do your most challenging work when you’re at your best.

You have to be flexible too. Maybe you’re not a morning person, but the rest of your team is on the east coast and you sometimes have meetings at 8 am EST. Uggh. If you are working globally, the Skype schedule gets even crazier. Be aware that time zone differences sometimes go hand-in-hand with remote work and flexibility.

Schedule a work routine. When you’re working from home, any number of urgencies and emergencies will compete for your time. In the big picture, some of them will be more important than your work – like your kids. In the day to day reality, you may wonder how anyone ever has time to work. Most of us turn to remote work to support work-life balance, but it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to use your top-notch organizational skills. When emergencies, random tasks and interruptions occur, ask yourself, what would you do if you were at the office? You may have to educate your family and friends not to interrupt your work unless fire or a broken bone is involved. Dog poop doesn’t count. You most likely need child care to accomplish this.

Don’t romanticize remote work. It’s not a day at the beach. Well, maybe it is – but working from the beach is hard. Sand in your phone. Unreliable internet connections. You can’t see your screen, unless you throw a towel over your head. You don’t realize how much noise the surf makes till you attempt a phone call. If you go inside, you defeat the purpose. It’s like a kid going to Disneyland to sit in the hotel and do homework. Expect any remote work to have its ups and downs, and don’t expect it to solve all your work problems.

So how do you get started? When you’re searching job postings, look for “remote work”, “flexible work” or “work from home”. Start by searching the best employers in Arizona on our BESTJOBS page.

Have you ever worked remotely? What was your experience? Would you like to work remotely? Does your company offer remote work options? Would love to hear from you! Tweet us at @jobleadsBCAZ with #remotework.

About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.