You hate the commute, you get distracted by co-workers, and you think the solution is working from home.
After all, you’ll have more control over your space and you’ve heard people are more productive. This should make it pretty easy to get your boss’s okay to work from home, right?
Not necessarily. Some bosses aren’t comfortable with the idea because they know that remote work can be beneficial, but that it can also quickly go off the rails. They need to trust that you’re organized and driven enough to make it work.
Get Your Boss To Let You Work From Home
Before you need to worry about getting stuff done while working remotely, you need to first get permission. There are four proven techniques you can use to get your boss’s approval on your remote work request:
1. Get The Right Job
First, not every job can be done remotely. Some places have high security demands that can’t be met remotely or require specialized equipment that’s just not economical to provide to remote employees.
If you don’t face these kinds of requirements one of the best ways to make sure you have a job that is remote-friendly is to find one that can be measured by results and not hours – results are easier for managers to track when they are dealing with remote workers.
2. Prove You Have Communication Skills
Being a remote worker means you have to go to extra lengths to stay in touch with your teammates and managers. A lot of communication will happen and lines can get easily crossed. If you can prove you are an effective communicator, you’ll have an easier time getting the okay.
3. Convince Your Boss To Give You A Trial Run
Not too many people will be willing to let you jump from spending 100 percent of your time in the office to spending it all remotely – there are going to be a few baby steps in between. The best way to prove you can handle remote work is to get permission to do it on special occasions – like sickness or bad weather – and really kick butt when you get the chance.
Don’t just wait for those special circumstances to prove that you can work from home, though. If you’re like most people, you probably already do work at home – maybe early in the morning when you’re answering some emails or in the evening when you’re finishing off that pitch. Take these opportunities to do great work and subtly let people know you did it at home.
4. Sell Your Boss On The Idea
When you ask your boss for permission to become a remote worker, it’s no different than any other pitch or presentation you’ve ever delivered. Know how it’s going to benefit your boss and the company and make those benefits stand out more than how much you’ll like it. You should also think about what reasons your boss could say no or what concerns they’ll likely raise – have answers ready for those, too.
If you nail your pitch, you’ll be working remotely.
Be Mentally Prepared
So, you’re pitch went well and now it’s time to work from home. You wanted this and worked hard to get it because you thought you would be happier, more productive, and it would put you more in control.
That’s not always the case and working from home can be tough on your head for the following four reasons:
1. There Are More Interruptions At Home
Working from home gets you away from your co-workers, but places you squarely around your family and in the middle of what can be a pretty chaotic environment; an environment with new people and new demands.
2. There’s Tremendous Pressure To Perform
Remote workers often feel even greater pressure working from home than do their in-office peers. They feel more pressure because they are afraid their colleagues are judging them as “lazy” or “do nothing” because they work from home.
3. The Temptations Are Numerous And Indulgence Is Easier
Playing hooky in the office is much harder than doing so as a remote worker. If you’re having a bad day it can be really easy to skip out on work, sit on your step, and have a beer. You need to know that hard days as a remote worker can be harder than those as an office worker because pushing forward at home is much harder.
4. There’s A Greater Need To Be Organized
When you work at an office, you have others buzzing around you and you might even have deadlines posted in public places. This doesn’t happen in a remote office. You need to have yourself together and organized because people don’t do it as much for you when you’re a remote worker.
Sometimes being a remote worker isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and you need to be ready for that. If you’re not, you can have your spirits crushed. If you’re having a bad day, reach out to your teammates and chat, but, most importantly, remember that it’s just one day and tomorrow will be better.
Working at home alone will only bum you out if you let it.
Setting Up Your Workspace
As a remote worker, being mentally prepared is only part of the battle.
A lot of people think that kitchen and coffee tables can double as workspaces, but they are way off the mark. In fact, they’re are almost guaranteed to fail. Instead of sitting in your kitchen or living room, here are some things you can do to set up a workspace and be physically prepared for remote work.
First, and I can’t stress how important this is, you need a dedicated workspace. It needs to be quiet and removed from the chaos of kids’ toys and meal-making. If there’s an extra bedroom, use that. If you don’t have an extra room, search around for a quiet corner of a room that isn’t used throughout the day and take it over.
Once you have your spot picked out, you need to start to fill it in and treat it like your office: get a dedicated chair and desk, and make sure you have the best internet connection you can get your hands on.
Though it can be tempting to lock yourself in your home office, that’s a bad idea. You’ve taken this step to have more control and see your loved ones a bit more. Don’t back away from that. Instead, learn to set boundaries with other people in your home, while still taking the opportunity to enjoy their company – it will refresh your mind and keep you more productive.
How To Keep In Touch
One of the most surprising things is that studies show remote workers are more productive than those in the office. Know why? It’s because those people in the office assume you’re working less than they are and they dial back their productivity.
Do the team a favor and make sure you’re keeping them up-to-date with your progress:
Don’t become invisible. Carry on small talk on chat apps and stay in regular contact.
Let people know when you’re stepping away. Blast out a “Taking lunch,” or “Taking a break,” message in your team’s chatroom.
Hold progress chats. These updates give you a chance to talk about what you’re working on today and what you worked on yesterday. They also help you share what goals you completed and it proves you’re getting stuff done.
Working from home is great if you’re prepared for it. If you’re not prepared, it can really be a blow and a setback for your career. These tips will help you work from home while still getting stuff done.
What tips do you have to help remote workers stay as productive as possible? Leave a comment and let us know.
We all want to get stuff done, whether it’s the work we have to do so we can get on with what we want to do, or indeed, the projects we feel are our purpose in life. 50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More EasilyFeatured photo credit: derschlosivia Flickr