When people think about remote work, they picture neverending positives, working from home in their pajamas, and avoiding annoying coworkers and bosses. But work is still work, and it’s important to remember that it comes with just as many hardships and frustrations as a non-remote position. Many people still have to work with deadlines, networking, and loneliness that comes with not being around others as much, and these can still take a toll on your health both mental and physical.
According to research by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, the U.S. remote workforce has seen a 115 percent increase in flexibility at the workplace since 2005. In the last fourteen years, more than 100 percent of people have experienced being able to work remotely instead of being stuck at the office in a stuffy cubicle.
There are several benefits to working in a remote setting, but it’s important to prepare yourself properly if this is the path you choose to take for your professional life. There’s a lot more to it than working from your couch and not having to interact with people face-to-face.
Let’s look at a few different ways you can prepare yourself for working remotely by getting in the right mindset.
Focus on the positives
If you’re a bit worried about working from home, you have every right to be. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows like most people think; it’s still a job, it can still stress you out, and it still requires hard work and dedication. You still have to work with people you may not want to and you’ll have to face conflict or difficult decision-making at some point.
The key is to stay focused on the positives. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, you have an advantage that so many others wish they had for themselves. It offers you flexibility and to work from the comfort of your home, a coffee shop, abroad, what have you. It’s important to focus on the good things that come out of remote work because it comes with many benefits that working non-remotely does not.
A few common positive things to take into account are:
- Saving money and time (gas, lunches, car maintenance and repairs, etc.)
- Less environmental damage
- Increased productivity
- A personalized, creative workspace of your choosing
- Freedom to work from any setting
- A better work-life balance
- Overall better mental and physical health
Realize it can get lonely
Something a lot of people don’t take into consideration when switching from a nine-to-five to a remote job is that it can get extremely lonely at times, especially if you’re usually home alone while everyone else is out. Day after day, you’re left to your own devices and are your own source of encouragement for getting your work done, which can lead to anxiety and depression. After a while, it can start to feel like you’re the only person you have.
It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for this shift in social interaction. You’ll no longer have tons of coworkers to engage with, share small talk with, or ask questions to face-to-face. Sure, you may have coworkers for your upcoming remote job, but it won’t be in person socialization. Studies show that physical interaction with others is extremely important for your mental health. If you aren’t getting this element from your work, then you need to make time for it outside of work.
Dedicate part of your free time to putting yourself out there, meeting new people, or reconnecting with those you already know. It isn’t healthy to stay cooped up to yourself all the time. Without human interaction, you’ll start to feel disconnected from society and maybe even a little crazy. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family, play YouTube videos in the background or music that makes you feel good, and do kind things for yourself.
Know how to use popular remote technology
If you land a remote job but don’t know much about the different applications and technology required to get the work done, you’ll find yourself lagging behind trying to catch up. It’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the different tools many companies and businesses use as part of their strategy to succeed.
Even the interviewing process requires technology and video applications to professionally and successfully conduct them and pick the right candidate.
A few popular tools to get familiar with include:
- Trello: Project management tool
- Asana: Project management tool
- Slack: Chat system
- Zoom: Video platform
- Skype: Video platform
- Google Drive
- LastPass: Password sharing app
These may vary depending on your needs and there are many variations out there to choose from, but these are the most popular and used by many companies around the world. It’s good to have basic knowledge of how they work just in case you need to use them in the future so you’re prepared.
Over to you
In the midst of your search for the perfect remote job, it’s essential to keep your head on straight and remember that there are both positives and negatives that come with it. It’s important to focus on the positives, of course, but to stay realistic about the fact that working from home comes with its own hardships. Familiarize yourself with popular tools and applications used by remote workers and companies that will help you get a step ahead. Finally, realize that this journey can get lonely sometimes and prepare yourself for that feeling. How will you get in the right mindset for your remote job search?