Remote Working: The Basics

Remote Working: The Basics

So you've started your dream of working only to find it quickly becoming a lot harder than it should be!

Remote working is becoming more common, as workers seek more flexibility in lifestyle and location, and companies become more open-minded about their workers or look for cheaper ones abroad.

This post covers the basics in the first of a series on Remote Working

Remote Working is Hard

I´ve worked remotely for over 7 years in total, as a an employee, freelancer, as a contractor and on my own projects, so I can say from experience that it is not easy.

You have distractions to avoid, people far away to communicate with, high expectations to meet and no-one to talk to!

We'll look at ways to make sure working from home doesn't descend into nightmare...

Find Somewhere to Work

First things first, you'll want some somewhere you can call your own space for your work. I tried working from my bedroom for one morning before giving it up as a bad idea!

Somewhere quiet is good, a place with no through traffic is better.

If there are no suitable places at home it may be worth considering a co-working space or similar arrangement.

We'll go into your home work environment in more detail in a future post.

Minimise Distractions

Home is full of distractions, from video games and TV to the garden and loved ones. This is without external distractions such as sunny weather, work in the garden, a trip into town. All these (and more) need to be dealt with. Not to mention the plethora of time-wasting available on the internet.

Often once your attention has been grabbed by one thing, it will lead to another and result in an unproductive day or a later than anticipated evening!

Avoiding these distractions and staying focused takes practice and planning, but we'll look at habits and techniques to minimise or ignore them.

Contact with Clients and Co-Workers

Whether you are working alone as a freelancer or as part of an internationally distributed team, you'll need to communicate with people.

This becomes harder when you're not in the same office or at a face-to-face meeting, but communication via phone, video, email or instant messaging all have their parts to play.

We'll look at the various communication channels and when to use them and what tools are out there to help you remain connected in your day-to-day activities.

Insanity through Loneliness

Even if you're not someone who normally likes a lot of social interaction, if you spend all day without human contact for a week, you will find yourself welcoming any human contact!

To avoid trying to trap the delivery-man into a half hour conversation try to plan trips out of the house, such as a coffee break at a cafe, some outdoor exercise, a lunch with friends or a short walk.

Get into a habit, a routine. Have a plan of what needs to be done that day.

And More

We haven't yet mentioned dealing with work expectations, separation of private and work life, how to reset your day, avoiding a 12 hour work day and planning your day, but we'll look at these in more detail in the future!




Duncan Thomson

A Remote Software and Database Contractor specialised in Umbraco, Duncan works from wherever he finds himself. He is the co-organiser of the Python Exeter and Data Science Exeter meetup groups and speaks about Remote Working, Umbraco, Python and .NET Outside of work he is keen on travel, random generation, foreign languages and good food.

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